Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 2, 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. Setting Tech Priorities in 2017
The Internet of Things, robotics, artificial intelligence and cyber security are just some of the tech tools finance execs say will be essential in the coming year. Some even think that automation could replace them one day. Here are five articles from to help you get up to speed.

2. Keys to successful virtual teams
As more employees work remotely, companies face risks in communicating with and evaluating far-flung staff. More and more, interaction with direct reports, peers, or entire work teams is of the virtual variety. Perhaps each worker lives in a different city or country than the home office. Perhaps the business doesn't have a home office, and workers are linked only by a tech tool such as Skype and the occasional face-to-face meeting. Or perhaps an organisation is hiring contract workers from around the world who have few ties to the organisation beyond a solitary task.

3. 3 Ways Data Dashboards Can Mislead You
Executives love dashboards, and why wouldn't they? Single-screen "snapshots" of operational processes, marketing metrics, and key performance indicators (KPIs) can be visually elegant and intuitive. They show just-in-time views of what's working and what isn't — no need to wait for weekly or monthly reports from a centralized data center. A quick scan of a dashboard gives frontline managers transparency and, ideally, the opportunity to make rapid adjustments.

4. Using talent management to create value
Great talent can be a source of true competitive advantage—provided it's deployed against key sources of value. In this interview with McKinsey's Rik Kirkland, the founder of executive-advisory firm and former chief human-resources officer of Unilever, Sandy Ogg, talks about managing talent to build speed in organizations, understanding how jobs link to the value they create, and responding to shifting tides in HR. An edited version of his remarks follows.

5. Measuring employee trust
Trust is a key component of the relationships an organisation has with its stakeholders.It can determine how stakeholders interact with your organisation, since perceptions of an organisation's motivations and behaviour influence stakeholders' current and future decisions and actions towards it. With trust in place, customers remain loyal and recommend you to others. Suppliers and business partners will work with you on more favourable terms. Trust makes investors want to lend to you and regulators more likely to grant you a licence to operate.

6. Warning signs of a breakdown in internal trust
Internal trust is vital to the smooth functioning of an organisation. It is an important factor in employee engagement and retention and can underpin productivity, performance, and innovation. Any breakdowns in that trust can therefore be far-reaching and have a significant impact on customers and other external relationships.

7. Revenue Recognition: The Clock Is Ticking
The new accounting standard for revenue recognition will likely affect every aspect of a business that relates to revenue, from a company's financial results and compliance with debt covenants to executive compensation. Yet surveys show that many companies are dragging their feet and have yet to begin preparing for this impending change, which means some may be dangerously behind.

8. PowerPoint Isn't Dead Yet: Three Presentation Tips That Still Work ...
When you're in a meeting and somebody flips on a PowerPoint presentation, chances are you're instantaneously bored or annoyed. Most people probably wouldn't mind if they never had to watch another PowerPoint every again. But as a speaking coach for business executives, I know that PowerPoint presentations aren't going away anytime soon—like it or not. They're just too easy to make and too widely used to go extinct in the near future. So in the meantime, the best we can do is make them as compelling and relevant as possible.

9. Six barriers limiting boards' strategic oversight
A CEO's joke may have elicited chuckles, but it's no laughing matter that corporate executives and boards face pressure to produce consistent and immediate returns for hungry investors. Robyn Bew, director of strategic content development at the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), relayed an opening line from a board member at a business roundtable. "He said, 'I was a CEO for 52 quarters,' " Bew said. "It's funny, but it was not funny. That [pressure to meet quarterly earnings guidance] is how it can feel to management day to day."

10. The Simple Way to Give Difficult Feedback (Without Hurting Feelings)
Whether you're a leader or a peer, part of your responsibility is to give people feedback. Having been raised in a culture that often dances around the truth and tiptoes near insecurities, you may lack the skills required to balance brutal honesty with a sense of compassion. Think about the feedback you've been given. Chances are, in some of those situations, the feedback was hurtful. Other times, after the initial sting subsided, you learned a great deal about yourself.