Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 21, 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. What's Your Data Strategy?
More than ever, the ability to manage torrents of data is critical to a company's success. But even with the emergence of data-management functions and chief data officers (CDOs), most companies remain badly behind the curve. Cross-industry studies show that on average, less than half of an organization's structured data is actively used in making decisions—and less than 1% of its unstructured data is analyzed or used at all….

2. What CFOs Need to Know About Blockchain
Most people know blockchain as the backbone for bitcoin, but there are a number of ways that the technology is shaping the future of payments. Here are five articles to hel you get up to speed on blockchain.
- Blockchain: Should CFOs Believe the Hype?
- Why CFOs Should be Betting on Blockchain
- Big Banks Team Up on Digital Cash Project
- How Blockchain Will Disrupt Banking
- Why CFOs Need to Pay Attention to Blockchain Technology

3. Technology, jobs, and the future of work
The world of work is in a state of flux, which is causing considerable anxiety—and with good reason. There is growing polarization of labor-market opportunities between high- and low-skill jobs, unemployment and underemployment especially among young people, stagnating incomes for a large proportion of households, and income inequality. Migration and its effects on jobs has become a sensitive political issue in many advanced economies. And from Mumbai to Manchester, public debate rages about the future of work and whether there will be enough jobs to gainfully employ everyone.

4. The business logic in debiasing
A previous McKinsey article on the future of risk management in banking highlighted six structural trends that are expected to transform the risk function's role in the coming decade. Of these, the trends relating to regulation, costs, customer expectations, analytics, and digitization are familiar, to one degree or another, to most readers. One trend that is less familiar is debiasing, that is, using insights from the fields of psychology and behavioral economics to help organizations take bias as much as possible out of risk decisions.

5. Five strategies to hire and retain young professionals
Young professionals in developed markets may not be as upbeat as their peers in emerging markets about the economic future of their country, but the generation that in 2020 is projected to make up about one-third of the global workforce does have a lot in common, Deloitte's 2017 Millennial survey suggests. Young professionals worldwide believe businesses should strive to have a positive social impact. They embrace the opportunities technological advances offer. And they want to make their clients or customers happy.

6. Negotiation tips for expatriates
The professional and personal benefits of taking an overseas role are numerous, and international experience is increasingly sought after amongst senior finance leaders. However, given the complexity and costs involved in moving and living overseas, prospective expatriates should consider a broader range of topics when assessing their compensation than they would during a normal remuneration negotiation. Here are a few things to bear in mind...

7. The dumb accounting error at the heart of Trump's budget
Not only does the Trump administration's budget proposal rely on economic growth assumptions that are wildly more optimistic than those produced by any private sector forecaster, but it turns out that embedded within those assumptions is a completely ridiculous accounting error. Here's how it works….

8. On this day 22 years ago, Bill Gates wrote his legendary "Internet ...
In the spring of 1995, thanks to the rapid commercialization of the world wide web, the world was on the cusp of the internet era—a shift with profound implications for Microsoft, the company that dominated PC software. Its cofounder and CEO Bill Gates responded with a five-alarm internal memo, "The Internet Tidal Wave," that gave "the highest level of importance" to responding to this challenge in the most sweeping, ambitious manner possible..

9. Pressure on CFOs putting businesses at serious risk
Are pressures on finance leaders putting businesses at risk? The role of the finance leader has come a long way. From budget steward to financial guardian, then to a vital strategic leader, the financial director is now central to any organisation's planning and integral to its success. But inevitably, as the role has expanded, expectations of financial directors and their departments have risen. More than half of finance leaders believe it is "just a matter of time" before a serious mistake is made due to a lack of staff and resources, according to recent Dun & Bradstreet research. How can modern finance leaders avoid the pitfalls of being pulled in too many directions?

10. Alphabet Just Bet the Company On Artificial Intelligence
At the Google I/O developer conference this month, there was one super clear message: Alphabet is now in the artificial intelligence business. This has big implications for lots of people. There are 2 billion active Android devices, 800 million Google Drive users, and 500 million Google photos users who upload 1.2 billion photos every day. "We spoke last year about this important shift in computing, from a mobile-first to an AI-first world," said Google CEO Sundar Pichai in the opening keynote, setting the stage for how Google is adding AI to everything.

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