Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 26


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. Businesses consider the effects of UK decision to leave the EU
British citizens voted Thursday to leave the EU - a decision with far-reaching implications for the UK and the global economy. The pound fell. Prime Minister David Cameron announced that he will resign. And some politicians in other EU countries - Denmark, France, Italy, and the Netherlands among them - continued calls for similar referendums. There is also renewed talk of Scotland seeking independence from the UK.

2. Goodbye accountants! Startup builds AI to automate all your accounting
Smacc, which uses AI to automate accounting, has secured a $3.5 million Series A round from Cherry Ventures, Rocket Internet, Dieter von Holtzbrinck Ventures, Grazia Equity and business angels. Smacc offers small and medium-sized enterprises a platform to digitize and automate accounting and financial processes. The founding trio came up with the idea after find accounting to be the most painful part of their own startup. Erxleben managed Rocket Internet's US ventures in New York and San Francisco, and is also the founder of Berliner Berg, a craft beer startup.

3. The Best Companies Invest Aggressively in These 3 Areas
When it comes to investments, here's a general truth: the larger a company gets, the smaller it thinks. The process is insidious, and companies must always be on the lookout for signs that it is setting in. If you want your business to grow sustainably at scale, you need to figure out how to make big investments that will best differentiate you in your core.

4. Brexit lesson: Focus on consequences, not cause in scenario planning
Companies large and small knew there would be one of two outcomes in the UK's EU referendum last week. They knew it would be close, and in the days leading up to the vote, many polls indicated that the UK would remain in the EU. But when the votes were counted, the decision had gone the other way: Leave. The vote underscored an important lesson in corporate strategy: While companies can't predict what the future holds, they can revisit and intensify their scenario planning around risk.

5. 5 Key Ingredients for Corporate Innovation
Every enterprise needs to innovate in order to survive. But as they grow larger, new ideas and agile processes tend to find less expression. In order to capitalize on innovation opportunities, enterprises need to leverage their available assets quickly and effectively. Doing so calls for senior management to take responsibility for being transformation-oriented and enabling the conditions that allow innovation leaders to thrive.

6. Making Cybersecurity a Business Function Poses Challenges
Thanks to the constant stream of mega-breaches, cybersecurity has moved from the server room to the boardroom. While it's become evident that cyber defense requires board-level input and attention, translating deeply technical cybersecurity and risk factors into business terms has been an ongoing struggle. It's an effort that has fallen squarely on the shoulders of chief information security officers (CISO), but its success is contingent on input and assistance from CFOs and other risk managers.

7. Preparing For IFRS 16 - Bringing Leases Into Your Balance Sheet
Leases have long been favoured as a form of off-balance sheet financing. But that's set to change from 1 January 2019 when IFRS 16 comes into effect. The implications for businesses are significant and now is the time to act. IFRS 16, the new lease standard, will impact virtually every business around the globe. Although IFRS 16 was a long time in the making, and was formally published in January 2016, the standard doesn't come into force until 1 January 2019. This gives lessee companies less than three years to become IFRS 16-ready, and the time to take action is now.

8. 8 Unexpected Signs You're Smarter Than Average
How can you spot a particularly smart person? Forget looking for a glasses-sporting, goodie-two-shoes with a neat desk and an elevated speaking style. What intelligence looks like in the real world and what it looks like in stereotypes are two totally different things. When recent research has gone looking for correlations between high IQ or exceptional creativity and everyday characteristics, it has found surprising links that run in the face of our preconceptions, including these.

9. Reclaiming the Idea of Shareholder Value
Corporate governance issues are constantly in the headlines. Activist investors challenge management strategies. Investors and others ask why companies binge on buybacks while skimping on value-creating investment opportunities. But discussions of corporate governance invariably miss the real problem: most public companies have extensive governance procedures but no governing objective. As a result, there is no sound basis for stakeholders, including shareholders, to assess the performance of the company and its executives.

10. The Future Of Work? This Article...
I'm at my standing desk, typing this note. But instead of looking at my 24 inch monitor as usual, I'm wearing an HTC Vive headset. And thanks to the new VR productivity app Space, I'm surrounded by six giant, 70-ish-inch screens. To my left, a small tower of YouTube videos. On my right, CNN's latest on Brexit, and the Trump campaign page loaded just for a laugh. And in the middle? I can look up to see my Gmail and down to see this very document sitting below.

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