Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 28, 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. Modern Finance Feat: Stay Stable, Be Dynamic
At the recent "CFO of the Future Summit" — an Accenture Strategy-sponsored gathering of 33 CFOs and future CFOs at Harvard University — the increasingly bifurcated aspects of the job came up again and again. CFOs are being asked to live simultaneously in the present and the future tending the traditional areas of profit while nurturing future areas of growth. "How do we optimize our current model and at the same time transform?" asked a major retailer's vice president of commercial and operations finance.

2. M&A deal activity likely to remain robust on corporate growth d...
M&A activity is expected to remain robust throughout the remainder of 2017, a new study has found. Geopolitical concerns are meanwhile taking a back seat to demand from investors, keen to continue growth trajectories in line with an uptick in the global economic outlook. While organic growth represents one way forward, the continuation of inorganic expansion, as well as strategic moves, is highlighted as a key driver for deals throughout 2017.

3. How To Make Your Leadership More Powerful With Loop Learning
As leaders, it's very difficult to create change in our organizations. One of the biggest problems is that over time, we forget what drives our change and what progress we're making. When we work with our teams, change sometimes feels to them as if it lacks structure and meaning. Triple loop learning (illustrated below) is a model you can apply to make change easier. It helps bring focus to teams and create transformational leadership in organizations.

4. How to Capture More Value With Price Segmentation
One of the most basic concepts to understand about pricing is that price generally reflects (or should reflect) value. But it's important to remember that value is not defined from the seller or supplier's perspective; it's defined by the customer or buyer. A good is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it. And their willingness to pay is based largely on how they perceive the value of the seller's product, service, or solution. A simplistic approach for a marketing and sales team is to understand what customers typically value in an offering and then set prices based on what the estimated willingness to pay is for that product.

5. Warning: Do Not Just Average Predictions!
At a 1906 livestock show in Plymouth, England, nearly 800 people participated in a contest to guess the weight of a slaughtered ox. The average of these estimates was 1,197 pounds. This is remarkable because the true weight of the ox turned out to be 1,198 pounds. The average was only one pound away from the truth! How could it be so accurate? Perhaps by chance? Today it is generally agreed that combining multiple predictions or estimates leads to more accurate forecasting than merely relying on a single prediction. Academic research, however, does not agree on the best way to do this.

6. How to Set More-Realistic Growth Targets
Many executives are fond of promising to deliver growth, but far fewer realize those ambitions. This is because many fundamentally mismanage the growth gap, which is the difference between their growth goals and what their base businesses can deliver. Filling the gap requires either innovative new offerings or acquisitions. That's where the trouble starts — it is easy to be fooled by rosy assumptions that, when analyzed in a disciplined way, turn out not to be practical.

7. Why MailChimp Doesn't Let New Hires Work For Their First Week On Th...
When new folks join a company, most are itching to get to work. They've probably been through a bunch of interviews and feel excited to dig into something new. It's the same with hiring managers: After a long hiring process, making an offer, and setting a start date, they're chomping at the bit to finally bring someone up to speed.

8. Strategy Making: How to Tap the Wisdom of the Crowd
Strategy making has traditionally been the purview of the top management team. Leaders in the inner circle of organisations pride themselves in being the architects of their plans. Open strategy is a more recent concept that consists of involving a wider community in the exercise. Benefits are well known. For instance, ideas can be drawn from a larger, diverse pool, and giving staff a voice can boost their commitment. Despite these advantages, open strategy remains an acquired taste for many top-down strategic planners.

9. The 9 Most Inspiring TED Talks of 2017
This year's TED conference produced dozens of exciting talks, touching on topics such as education, transportation, poverty, and artificial intelligence. Not everyone could afford the $10,000 ticket, however, so thankfully many of the talks have finally been made available for public viewing online. This year's most thought-provoking speakers include Tim Ferriss and Elon Musk.

10. 60 Countries' Digital Competitiveness, Indexed
It is barely 20 years since Sergey Brin and Larry Page registered the domain name google.com, and only 10 years since Steve Jobs walked onto a stage in San Francisco and introduced the iPhone. Yet in this short period, digital technologies have upended our world. We introduced the Digital Evolution Index in HBR in 2015 to trace the emergence of a "digital planet," how physical interactions — in communications, social and political exchange, commerce, media and entertainment — are being displaced by digitally mediated ones.....