Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 15, 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. Corporate transactions are career gold
A track record in managing corporate transactions - including mergers, acquisitions, spinouts, and initial public offerings (IPOs) - is an increasingly important requirement for senior financial officers. But few CFOs who have led major deals and liquidity events are available for new postings, which puts such experience at a premium.

2. IFRS 9: A silent revolution in banks' business models
Over the past few years, European banks have been preparing for the implementation of International Financial Reporting Standard 9, a new accounting principle for financial instruments that becomes effective in January 2018. IFRS 9 will change the way banks classify and measure financial liabilities, introduce a two-stage model for impairments, and reform hedge accounting.

3. How slow internet speeds affect finance departments
Many countries have come a long way since the dial-up days of the internet, when connections were spotty and accessing a page could take several minutes. But in many parts of the world, unreliable or slow connections are still a problem, even as our dependence on being online to do everything from processing payroll to creating forecasts has grown.

4. Four Pitfalls Keeping Big Companies from Getting Bigger
Large companies are continuing to recover from the last recession, an economic tsunami that remains relevant even though it happened almost a decade ago. At the same time, "recovery" doesn't necessarily equate to robust growth. The fact is, sustained growth has proven elusive for a majority of such companies in recent years (see chart below) — so much so that they've lately been looking into whether they can learn anything from smaller, younger, high-growth outfits.

5. How To Train Your Brain To Be More Innovative
When we think about an innovative person, our focus is often on their achievements: How they've changed their industry, how their big idea is disrupting the landscape that they're operating in, or the scale and impact of their innovative practices. What we don't normally consider is the thought process they went through. We hear a lot about why we need to innovate, but not how we can actually do it.

6. The Surprising Personality Trait That Massively Improves Decision-M...
In the personal context, making good decisions is the difference between having the life you want and forever wondering what could have been. In the political one, it's the difference between war and peace, prosperity and want. In the business world, it's what separates seven-figure paydays from bankruptcy filings. In short, making good choices is pretty close to the most important life skill you'll ever master. How do you get better at it?

7. Device-Free Time Is as Important as Work-Life Balance
The idea of "work-life balance" is an invention of the mid-19th century. The notion of cultivating awareness of one's work versus one's pleasure emerged when the word "leisure" caught on in Europe in the Industrial Era. Work became separate from "life" (at least for a certain class of men) and we've been struggling to juggle them ever since.

8. Expectations and paths don't always align for controllers
Most controllers are expected to shape and execute strategic initiatives, an evolution of the finance role that mirrors that of the CFO. Yet, few companies clearly define a path for controllers to take on greater responsibility, according to a report by Deloitte released Wednesday.

9. The data pipeline - analytics at the speed of business
Business leaders are growing weary of making further investments in business intelligence (BI) and big data analytics. Beyond the challenging technical components of data-driven projects, BI and analytics services have yet to live up to the hype. Early adopters and proponents were quick to frame solutions as miraculous reservoirs of insight and functionality. However, big data has not met many C-level executives' expectations.

10. Company culture failing to support ethical behaviour
Embedding an ethical culture remains a challenge for many organisations, and leaders are not doing enough to demonstrate that it is in employees' interests to do the right thing, research from EY suggests. Just 24% of UK respondents have frequently heard senior management talk about the importance of upholding ethical standards, according to the EY's Europe, Middle East, India, and Africa Fraud Survey 2017. Although more than half of those polled had information about potential misconduct, factors preventing them from reporting these concerns included fears for their career prospects as well as for their personal safety.