Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 18, 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. Are you prepared for a corporate crisis?
Imagine yourself as a top executive in a company hit by a major crisis within the last 72 hours. First, and most importantly, there may have been serious damage to the community in which you operate. Your customers may have suffered, people's livelihoods destroyed. The environment may be irretrievably damaged. Some of your employees and contractors may be injured, or worse. Your investors will be livid, and the board looking to assign blame. By the end of the first week, chances are your organization will be facing dozens of lawsuits, some set to become class actions over time.

2. How Do You Know Someone Has True Leadership Skills? Look for These ...
Sometimes the only way you'll truly know whether a leader's skills are genuine is to measure the manager that made your life miserable against the one that had you thinking often, "This is too good to be true." If you think your boss is some freak of nature and you're the luckiest person alive, I'll break it to you gently: He or she is most likely the kind of leader who demonstrates best-in-class behaviors identified in the research of those leading the most profitable companies on the planet. They are often referred to as servant leaders, conscious leaders, authentic leaders, or transformational leaders. Whatever you call them, one thing is for sure: their helm releases discretionary effort across an organization. That's good for business.

3. Looking at cyber-security from the top
Corporate board members can't afford to ignore the dangers of cyber-attacks, with an infected file capable of quickly stripping a company of valuable information. It's not a matter of just slowing down operations; data theft could jeopardise pending mergers and acquisitions or create a public relations nightmare. With money and reputation at stake, board members need to make cyber-security a company-wide priority if it isn't already, said Kim Chatani, CPA, CGMA, a California-based Khronicle Partners Inc. advisory partner with two decades of experience in audit consulting and information technology.

4. 4 career steps CFOs can take to be CEO-worthy
CFO skills can translate well to the CEO role - and plenty of CFOs aspire to be the boss one day. Yet, not every finance chief is automatically CEO-worthy; some skills must be practised, and others must be learned on the job. One key step is the realisation that you are in charge. "That was one of the first things that hit me: I am the one making that final decision," said Anoop Mehta, CPA, CGMA, who became president of his company after previously serving as CFO. "Previously, you may have input, but the ultimate decision was with somebody else. You always know that, but you don't feel it until you actually take over that role."

5. CFOs Embrace Next Wave of Data Analytic: 5 Articles
A big and as-yet-untapped opportunity to harness the power of this data may sit with the office of the CFO. Upcoming challenges included the selection and rollout of collaboration tools and processes, new technology, training, and staffing. Here are five articles to feed your data-driven initiatives.

6. Six things B2B leaders do to become more agile and drive growth
B2B companies have heard the digitization message loud and clear, but few have moved the needle on increased sales, updating the organization, or customer experience. That's making them vulnerable. While the impulse of many companies we've seen is to invest across a whole set of digital initiatives, our research into the digital practices of outperforming companies finds that less is often more. It turns out that B2B leaders drive five times more revenue growth and 8 percent more shareholder returns by doing the following six things better than their peers.

7. How to Tell Good Buybacks from Bad Ones
Almost six years ago, we introduced Buyback ROI on CFO.com in an article titled, What's Your Return on Buybacks. Buyback ROI is defined as a company's annualized rate of return based on the cash spent on buybacks, the money saved by "avoiding dividends" on the repurchased shares, and the change in the stock price since the buyback. Since that initial publication, Buyback ROI has been used by companies and investors to compare the return realized on buybacks to the returns earned on other uses of capital such as acquisitions and capital expenditures. It has become a useful tool in evaluating capital deployment effectiveness.

8. Linear Thinking in a Nonlinear World
Test yourself with this word problem: Imagine you're responsible for your company's car fleet. You manage two models, an SUV that gets 10 miles to the gallon and a sedan that gets 20. The fleet has equal numbers of each, and all the cars travel 10,000 miles a year. You have enough capital to replace one model with more-fuel-efficient vehicles to lower operational costs and help meet sustainability goals.

9. What you need to know before becoming an interim FD
Paul Smith, Head of the Odgers Interim Financial Services Practice, discusses what finance professionals need to consider before moving into interim financial director positions. The interim management industry provides an often hidden, but essential role supporting companies across the UK. Interim CFOs are proven executives that can be deployed on a short-term basis to support an organisation during a period of change, transition or crisis.

10. Saving the Planet from Ecological Disaster Is a $12 Trillion Opport...
How can we create $12 trillion a year in market opportunities by 2030? How about by meeting the UN's Sustainable Development Goals? The goals, a set of 17 stretch goals and 169 related targets championed by the United Nations, are ambitious. But a recent report concludes that meeting the goals in just four out of 60 sectors (food and agriculture, cities, energy and materials, and health and wellbeing) could indeed open up market opportunities worth up to $12 trillion a year in less than 15 years.