Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 29, 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. Richard Branson and Tim Cook Wake Up at This Ungodly Hour (and You ...
Last year, I highlighted a report published in The Wall Street Journal that suggests 4 a.m. may be the most productive time of the day. If that sounds rather crazy, it actually makes sense when you consider the reasons. Waking up at such an ungodly hour can be a win in your schedule because you have full control over how you start your day. There are way less distractions, since most of the world is still passed out under the sheets (including your kids).

2. How To Hire A Data Scientist
In a recent survey by digital transformation firm Atos, 90% of businesses who responded said they will be using data analytics in their key functions by 2020. However, while turning to a technology proven in its ability to benefit businesses is understandable, the ability of most organizations to carry out their plans is questionable at best. Indeed, Gartner predicts that this year as many as 60% of data projects will not make it to fruition. They will be left to languish in the piloting and experimentation phases before being discarded, wasting time, money, and potential earnings.

3. You Don't Need to Be a Silicon Valley Startup to Have a Network-Bas...
The success of platform companies like Airbnb, Amazon, and Netflix has led to envy bordering on despair for their competitors. When we asked one successful online retailer "How do you compete with Amazon?" the response was "You don't." Publicly, CEOs talk about digital transformation, but privately, they wonder if their efforts will be enough.

4. Four Reasons Why Internal Negotiations Are Harder Than External Ones
Jessica thought it would be easy to borrow two members of David's team for a four-month project she'd been asked to undertake on behalf of the board. As senior managers of similar rank and responsibility, she thought he'd understand her resource constraints and the enormity of the project at hand. She'd also seen a lot more of David in his office recently and put that down to him being less busy than usual.

5. The Five Steps All Leaders Must Take in the Age of Uncertainty
Business leaders increasingly find themselves in unfamiliar territory marked by high levels of uncertainty and instability, a slowing global economy, and shifting political realities. Global economic policy uncertainty has tripled since 2000 and continues to accelerate.1 Our own research shows that this systemic uncertainty feeds into corporate decision-making. Companies are more exposed than ever to economic and political feedback,2 and their performance swings are increasingly due to noncompetitive effects.3 This phenomenon affects players across entire industries and, in the extreme, can threaten their very survival.

6. 6 traits of leading finance functions
The objective for many finance teams is not to reduce headcount but rather to redeploy staff in more productive ways. The report's authors predict that in the long term, new technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) will see the finance function expand because more will be expected of it. A survey by SAP and Oxford Economics explored these themes with representatives of 1,500 companies around the world. Seventy-three per cent of respondents were CFOs.

7. Science Says This 15-Minute Exercise Could Make You Happier and Mor...
Taking as little as ten or fifteen minutes to write about what you value most and why could be the key to reducing stress and having a happier, healthier and more successful life overall. It sounds too easy to be true, but research published this week in the journal Plos One found that's essentially what happened in a study of 221 undergraduate college students at Ohio State University.

8. Advanced social technologies and the future of collaboration
After nearly a decade of research on the business uses of social technologies, executives say these tools are more integrated into their organizations' work than ever before—and that the most sophisticated of these tools, message-based platforms, are gaining traction. At the companies where messaging platforms have taken hold, respondents to the latest McKinsey Global Survey on social tools report that their fellow employees rely more often on social methods of communication than on traditional methods in their work.1

9. Why I'm Building My Business Using the 'Moneyball' Strategy
The film (and book by Michael Lewis) really made me think about my own hiring strategies, and more specifically, how I was organizing different departments and recruiting for certain roles. Let's explore how I applied these same principles to my business, and walk through five rules essential to success when employing the 'Moneyball strategy.'

10. Your Financial Statement 'Lie' Detector
The new book, The Rule of 72, by forensic accounting expert, John Del Vecchio, offers a good refresher on the basic principles of successful investing in the first half, but the second half contains insights which even the pros are not likely to have seen before. That's because almost all financial analysis analyzes 'the financials' which is to say the financial statements. The problem with that approach is that the financial statements are often misleading, so when you run the standard financial ratios of assets and liabilities, short term and long term, you may well be depending on accurately calculated relationships between inaccurately presented numbers....