Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 10, 2017

Do you want to keep up to date with the latest developments in finance, but you are short of time? Don’t worry. CFO South Africa weekly collects 10 of the most important articles from international media for your convenience.

1. Metric of the Month: Financial Shared Services Centers
The idea behind doing financial management work inside shared services centers (SSCs) is to implement well-designed processes and sustain the efficiencies they deliver with economies of scale. Yet some SSCs are much more successful than others. And —surprise! — the winners are not always those funded by huge enterprises or those that have been in operation for years. In this Metric of the Month, we'll look at some of the characteristics of top performing SSCs in the hope that others can point themselves in the right direction.

2. KPN dials up a new digital strategy
It's not easy being agile when you're a telecommunications provider. Your value proposition is based on the efficient management of large, complicated, interconnected systems. Your customers expect 100 percent uptime, which can make it risky to experiment with new technologies and innovations. KPN, a service provider based in the Netherlands, several years ago began deploying digital technologies and processes and is now finding some early success with agile methodologies.

3. Three Ways You're Still Onboarding New Hires All Wrong
Your new hire's first day usually involves a lot of paperwork, setting up passwords and logins, meeting new people whose names they'll inevitably forget, and similar odds and ends. They're all necessary but may not create the most exciting first impression-and as the saying goes, you never have a second chance to make a good one.

4. Best practices to improve cybersecurity
Cybersecurity remains a significant concern despite the progress companies worldwide have made in the past two to three years building up corporate shields against breaches, EY research suggests. A majority (87%) of more than 1,700 C-suite, information security, and IT executives EY polled worldwide said they lacked confidence in their company's level of cybersecurity. They are most worried about poor user behaviour around mobile devices such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets (73%), unauthorised access (54%), and the inability to identify suspicious traffic over networks that connect an increasing number of devices (49%).

5. 5 ways to take back time as a CFO
Executives starting a new C-level role often find themselves working 80-hour work weeks and jumping from meeting to meeting before going home and spending hours on emails. Deloitte's global research director for the firm's CFO Program, Ajit Kambil, discusses the five things new C-suite executives can do to take back their time and avoid burnout.

6. What Makes Change Harder — or Easier
Before you adopt any popular new management approach, it pays to analyze the implicit values embedded in it. Then ask yourself: How well will those values fit our existing organizational culture?

7. Should Financial Planning and Analysis Functions Be Outsourced?
A number of years ago Deloitte UK released a white paper titled "Financial Planning & Analysis - The Next Frontier of Business Process Outsourcing?" The authors state that transactional functions have already been outsourced by large organizations to certain service vendors and that the same organizations are currently contemplating transitioning certain FP&A functions to these and other specialized vendors.

8. How to Cut Costs More Strategically
How many cost-cutting initiatives have our companies gone through in the last dozen years? More important, do we look back on those initiatives as transformative in helping us build success and leading us to growth? For executives at most large organizations, the answer to the first question is probably "too many," and the answer to the second is "no." Call it cost management fatigue. When doing research for our book, we found that the main reasons most companies suffer from this syndrome are that they make across-the-board cuts that are unconnected to their strategy, and fail to make the cuts sustainable. Most organizations wait to act until they have a problem, at which point they don't have the time to make the right trade-offs for the long term.

9. How To Achieve Business' Holy Grail: Long-Term Profitable Growth
The Trump administration is preparing to submit its first budget this week, which is sure to call attention to plans for energizing the sluggish U.S. economy. Despite buoyant stock prices and a strengthening labor market, GDP growth sagged to 1.6% in 2016, its lowest non-recession level in 70 years. The U.S. has now gone more than a decade since last achieving the 3% growth rate that President Trump has promised his policies will deliver.

10. The Blockchain Will Do to Banks and Law Firms What the Internet Did...
Even years into the deployment of the internet, many believed that it was still a fad. Of course, the internet has since become a major influence on our lives, from how we buy goods and services, to the ways we socialize with friends, to the Arab Spring, to the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Yet, in the 1990s, the mainstream press scoffed when Nicholas Negroponte predicted that most of us would soon be reading our news online rather than from a newspaper.