Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 23, 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 does automation mean for G&A and the back office?
The performance of general and administrative (G&A) functions varies dramatically among companies, and the differential is poised to widen. As new forms of automation—fueled by advances in areas such as robotics and artificial intelligence—transform the world of work, G&A functions will be transformed, too.

2. Lease accounting standard leaves companies with questions
As companies get ready for the new lease accounting standard, they're coming across a variety of complications and questions before the standard takes effect in the next few years. Deloitte recently issued a publication with answers to some of the frequently asked questions its clients have encountered. "From an implementation perspective, companies are now digging into the meat of the preparation activities," said Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory managing director Sean Torr. "There's a sense over the next 12 months there's going to be a time period of heavy lifting around the standard."

3. 3 Things Are Holding Back Your Analytics, and Technology Isn't One ...
During the past decade, business analytics platforms have evolved from supporting IT and finance functions to enabling business users across the enterprise. But many firms find themselves struggling to take advantage of its promise. We've found three main obstacles to realizing analytics' full value, and all of them are related to people, not technology: the organization's structure, culture, and approach to problem solving.

4. (From Finance To Business) What you need to know before moving from...
What are the key role changes CFOs can expect from a move to CEO? CFOs will already be responsible, as the business partner to a CEO, for co-authoring the strategy of a group, for driving financial and operational performance and results, and for leading a significant proportion of both internal and external communication. Some will also have had direct responsibility for additional functional management outside of finance, typically being HR, IT, and Administration. They are unlikely, however, to have had direct management of the more operational areas of a business such as Marketing, Sales, Operations, or Logistics……………...

5. Data Science Vs. Data - Why Does It Matter?
Jargon can be downright intimidating and seemingly impenetrable to the uninformed. While complicated vernacular is an unfortunate side effect of the similarly complicated world of machines, those involved in computers, data and whole host of other tech-intensive sectors don't do themselves any favors with sometimes redundant sounding terminology. Take the fields of data science and data analytics. Any sports fan will be familiar with the term analytics. They made a whole movie about baseball analytics and nearly won an Oscar for their trouble…...

6. If Your Company Isn't Good at Analytics, It's Not Ready for AI
Management teams often assume they can leapfrog best practices for basic data analytics by going directly to adopting artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies. But companies that rush into sophisticated artificial intelligence before reaching a critical mass of automated processes and structured analytics can end up paralyzed. They can become saddled with expensive start-up partnerships, impenetrable black-box systems, cumbersome cloud computational clusters, and open-source toolkits without programmers to write code for them.

7. 7 Questions Interesting People Always Ask in Conversations
Replace those typical (and boring, I may add) questions like 'What do you do for a living?' with these refreshing questions that lead to great conversations.

8. Changing Workplaces Call For A New Type of Leader
Developing effective and empowered leaders is one of the most important things an organization can do to ensure the successful accomplishment of its goals, whatever they may be. That's because leadership influences nearly all aspects of a business, such as the selection, engagement, and retention of talent, customer loyalty, and overall brand perception and influence. Yet despite its importance, many companies seem to struggle with leadership development.

9. How a culture of reciprocity can tear down silos
People are reluctant to ask for help. Whether for fear of bothering colleagues or of appearing vulnerable themselves, people rarely make requests known. But research shows that we tend to underestimate the number of people out there who are willing to give time, ideas, and advice. The reluctance to ask is a contributor to the creation of silos in organisations.

10. How accounting can empower better project management
Accountants are a natural ally for anyone hoping to get things done within an organisation. They know the transaction flows of the organisation and the risks and controls around its processes, and that knowledge can provide a valuable road map for those tasked with product design, process improvement, and more. To maximise their utility, accountants need to speak one of the most important languages of modern business. They need to understand project management, the methodology by which many business leaders enact business improvements and technology innovation.