Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 27

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. Fintech Cannot Be Ignored Any Longer
The digital transformation has completely changed the business landscape in record time. We seldom stop to take stock of the situation, but the events of the past few years make it much easier to follow these Hard Trends to predict the future. The facts speak for themselves. What we now take for granted would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. Think about it: The world's largest cab company, Uber, does not own any cars. Airbnb offers more rooms worldwide than the biggest hotel chains and yet owns no property. Meanwhile, the most valuable retailer in the world carries no stock. You could argue that Facebook is the largest media company, too, though it does not create any content. Do you see a pattern here?

2. Why Storytellers Are Attractive In Life And Business
In the last ten years neuroscientists have learned more about storytelling than we've known since our ancestors drew story pictures on cave walls. We know what stories work, how they work and we can prove it. As the House of Cards actor Kevin Spacey once told an audience of marketing leaders, "We know how this [marketing] works; story is everything."

3. How to gather risk intelligence
Risk management requires constant collection and assessment of internal and external information. Here's how risk intelligence is collected and managed at Siemens Wind Power in Denmark. Siemens Wind Power is one of the world's leading suppliers of wind power solutions, with annual revenues in excess of EURO5.5 billion ($6.9 billion) as of September 30th 2014. The company must maintain a dynamic risk-management programme that will capture, assess, respond to, and monitor risks and opportunities in a consistent and sustainable manner.

4. Developing a plan for better planning
Planning is a simple concept to understand and yet can be difficult to perform. Part of the reason is its multifaceted nature that, within a business context, can come in a range of types (eg, strategic, operational, financial), functions (eg, sales, logistics, production) and techniques (eg, top-down, bottom-up, driver-based). Plans include different combinations of these areas, depending on the purpose being served. As a consequence, it is easy to lose sight of what each is designed to do, and organisations can end up with a mishmash of plans that have little or no connection to what they are trying to achieve.

5. Evaluating Cash Flow Strategies in the Wake of Global Uncertainties
Heightened by uncertainty in the wake of Brexit and the upcoming U.S. presidential election, forward-thinking finance executives are re-examining their cash management strategies. Improving the accuracy, consistency, and quality of cash data as well developing more accurate cash forecasts are top priorities. Here are five articles that look at some trends in cash flow and working capital management.

6. The Most Crucial KPI: Pricing Power
The rise of the digital enterprise has come with a rash of new issues that must be addressed. Organizations are struggling to utilize the increasing quantity of data available, make sense out of it, and create value for their customers in order to establish long-term profit growth. As such, CFOs take on the brunt of this challenge as the "gatekeepers of profit."

7. 7 Powerful Morning Routines of Mentally Tough People
Life as a busy entrepreneur is a bumpy rollercoaster ride, to say the very least. So how do successful people get through those crazy days? It all starts with waking up mentally tough. Skills can only take you so far without the grit, determination and mental willpower to tackle anything life throws at you. Thankfully, there are some pretty simple techniques that everyone from Navy SEALS to US Olympians use to stay mentally strong. Start adopting these powerful habits in the morning to become just as mentally resilient.

8. 8 best practices for aligning strategy, planning, and risk
Success in business is influenced by many factors: effective strategy and execution; deep understanding of the business environment, including its risks; the ability to innovate and adapt; and the ability to align strategy throughout the organisation. Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. developed a framework to address such factors. The "Pinwheel" (see Figure 1) illustrates how the CEO and other executives work through the company's ongoing strategy and financial planning and analysis (FP&A) process at the enterprise level while subsidiary and business unit leaders work through their own process. It is essential that the two groups exchange information — the ultimate goal being that all parts of the organisation are aligned.

9. Quick tips for preparing for the worst
What's the worst that could happen? Sometimes the question comes up when inconsequential decisions are being made, but such a query can be more than just an off-hand remark for those who analyse new business initiatives. Purposefully pessimistic sessions called "premortems" are helpful in uncovering and then developing strategies around unknown risks. Here's a guide on how to conduct a pre-mortem.

10. Slow Deciders Make Better Strategists
There are many ways to split people into two groups. Young and old. Rich and poor. Us and them. The 98% who can do arithmetic and the 3% who cannot. Those who split people into two groups and those who don't. Then there's the people who make good competitive-strategy decisions, and those who don't.