Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 13, 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. According to Hundreds of Entrepreneurs, This Is the Most Important ...
Transparency. Passion. Communication. You know that they're all important traits of effective leaders. But are they the most important qualities? Not according to a recent study conducted by The Alternative Board, which surveyed hundreds of entrepreneurs across the world to find out about their outlook for this year as well as more about their leadership styles. The results might surprise you.

2. CFOs try to focus on strategy, but IT systems get in the way
A growing number of CFOs expect IT spending to grow in the coming year, but some feel dragged down by clunky legacy systems."CFOs are prevented from focusing resources on growth and digital transformation initiatives by the need to invest in costly legacy IT systems' maintenance," said Sri Sastry, Grant Thornton's national managing principal for advisory services. "Most CFOs believe that managing IT costs will be the greatest barrier to future growth as a result."

3. Three Undeniable Truths I've Learned On My Leadership Journey
Much has been written about what it takes to become a successful leader. There is no shortage of books, courses, and columns like this that purport to share the secrets of success. If the concept of leadership has been so closely analyzed, scrutinized, and proselytized, why then are good leaders so incredibly rare?

4. How financial statement audits deliver key business insights
Financial statement audits are not just a compliance exercise, but also an opportunity to gain knowledge that can generate positive business results, according to a new survey. In many cases, though, companies are not taking full advantage of the insights that audits provide, a survey of 300 executives and 100 audit committee members by Deloitte's US audit practice revealed.

5. Cost of Tesco accounting scandal goes beyond fines
Tesco's accounting scandal has cost far more than the £214m in fines and compensation payments announced on Tuesday. The affair burst into public view in 2014 with the revelation that Britain's biggest grocer had overstated its profits. But it began years earlier, when executives — under pressure to meet demanding financial targets — began losing sight of the customers from whom that money was ultimately earned.

6. The finer points of linking resource allocation to value creation
The way companies allocate resources and make investment decisions is critical to their ability to create shareholder value. Our past work has focused on the pervasive problems of biases and inertia in resource allocation—and found that when these challenges are overcome, companies can see a lot of value as a result.1 But far less investigation has addressed the more practical side of investment decision making: the very tactical practices companies use to reach their decisions, such as the steps they take to provide decision makers with information they need and how they sequence their strategic-planning activities.

7. How FDs can avoid financial risk
Most financial directors will be aware of the fair-value treatment of derivatives required by modern accounting standards, particularly with the introduction of FRS 102 (mandatory for periods commencing on or after 1 January 2016). This 'fair-value' treatment has been well understood by the banks for many years, by developing and implementing sophisticated models for valuation and risk modelling of derivative instruments, in order to assist their knowledge of the financial risks inherent in their 'book' of these products.

8. How can CFOs respond to the 'fourth industrial revolution?'
We are entering the fourth industrial revolution, also known as 'Industry 4.0'. In a 4.0 world, smart technologies will redefine industry and business models. Consumers will have significantly more purchasing power over what and how they buy. Automation will continue to displace manual work, whilst also creating new jobs and sectors. The ability to join up and analyse vast amounts of data will generate extraordinary insights into ourselves, our organisations and our societies.

9. 9 Ways Your Business Can Plan For Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) is seemingly everywhere today. Whether it's using a virtual assistant like Siri or Alexa, improving sales insights through analytics, or hiring the best talent with AI-based recruiting software, many businesses have already started incorporating this technology into their everyday processes.

10. CFO of the future: Looking beyond the numbers
As the CFO role has expanded, so, too, has the value of a top-notch finance chief. Today's CFOs have more oversight and responsibility - and a role in setting an organisation's strategy. To keep up with the rapid evolution, CFOs must ensure that they're developing emotional intelligence (EI).