Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 26, 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. Subscription Economy Growth Slows but Remains Robust
The breakneck growth pace of the "subscription economy" moderated somewhat for the six months ended March 31, pulling back to 16.1% growth. For the prior six-month period, which ended last September, the rate was 21.6%. The data is courtesy of Zuora, a provider of billing and financial tools for companies with subscription-based business models, which this month issued the second iteration of its subscription economy index (SEI). The index tracks the sales performance of approximately 400 Zuora customers.

2. High-performing teams: A timeless leadership topic
The value of a high-performing team has long been recognized. It's why savvy investors in start-ups often value the quality of the team and the interaction of the founding members more than the idea itself. It's why 90 percent of investors think the quality of the management team is the single most important nonfinancial factor when evaluating an IPO. And it's why there is a 1.9 times increased likelihood of having above-median financial performance when the top team is working together toward a common vision...

3. The 3 Most Common Compliance Errors Every Company Makes
Every company that works on a global scale, whether a large or small organization, spends an enormous amount of time on compliance efforts, that do little to improve the bottom line, but can cost millions if ignored. While every global company has some kind of compliance strategy in place, very few think about how to integrate these strategies to support operational efficiency and profitability….

4. Humans, Robots Must Combine in Digital Ecosystem
It is the dawn of a new era for the finance function. This might sound like hyperbole, but it is a reality for a CFO in the midst of digging into masses of data to provide boards with analysis of more complex information while sticking to the existing reporting schedule. Technologies like data analytics, robotic process automation (RPA), and artificial intelligence (AI) are dramatically shifting how the finance function works. And it requires an equally significant shift on the part of finance professionals in the way they do things. This raises the inevitable question: which of these two actually delivers value in a digital world — humans or machines?

5. To Make Better Choices, Look at All Your Options Together
We make thousands of decisions every day. Some are fairly simple — we decide when to wake up, what to have for breakfast, what to wear to work, which email to reply to — while others are more complex, requiring us to weigh different options. For example, when buying a laptop, we want to compare different models to find the best one for our budget; when choosing a retirement plan, we compare options to find one with the highest returns for our risk appetite; and when hiring, we compare multiple applicants to identify the best candidate.

6. Collaboration Is 'Magic Ingredient' for CFOs
Among six traits that leading finance chiefs have in common, the ability to be a collaborative company-wide stands out. What drives company financial performance? It's a soup with a plethora of ingredients, of course. But key traits possessed by CFOs certainly correlate with revenue growth, according to a new report from SAP and Oxford Economics. SAP, which surveyed 1,500 CFOs from around the world, divided the respondents into two categories: "finance leaders" and "others." The leaders, which comprised only 11.5% of participants, were defined as having self-reported that they possess all six of the following traits…..

7. Finding a strategic cybersecurity model
Cybersecurity has become one of the biggest priorities for businesses and governments, as practically all of life migrates its way to data centers and the cloud. In this episode of the McKinsey Podcast, recorded at the Yale Cyber Leadership Forum in March, Sam Palmisano, chairman of the Center for Global Enterprise and the retired chairman and CEO of IBM, and Nathaniel Gleicher, head of cybersecurity strategy at data-and-cloud-security company Illumio, speak with McKinsey about how governments and companies can vastly improve their cyberprotections.

8. Case Study: When You Have to Choose Between Core and New Customers
It was the Monday morning after the Phoenix race. Erica Jackson, chief marketing officer of the Mendoza Marathon Corporation, had risen early to watch people line up to register for next year's event and expected an enthusiastic crowd. But when she walked into the field, she saw only dour looks and slumped shoulders. Alan Kurtz, MMC's chief operating officer, was standing off to the side, and she moved to join him, but a racer intercepted her. "Do you work for Mendoza?" he asked, sounding annoyed.

9. How CFOs Can Take on Bigger Roles
There's a revolution brewing in finance departments. Activist investors are pressuring companies on costs just as digital disruption and mounting complexity take their toll. These forces are causing companies to rely even more heavily on their finance teams. And with artificial intelligence and other advances enabling them to make speedier, better-informed decisions, the stage is set for CFOs to step up their games as proactive internal challengers and identifiers of new opportunities. But this isn't happening often enough.

10. Ten Of The Most Interesting Reactions To The First iPhone Back In 2007
The first iPhone wasn't really unprecedented, but rather an elegant mix of lots of existing technologies. It was the way those things were mixed together inside an compact, elegant design that made the iPhone the culture-changing product it turned out to be. Some of the first tech and media reactions to the iPhone are funny. Some are prescient. And some are just dumb.