Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 3, 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. How Will Leadership Change in the Cognitive Era?
Technological innovation is continuing to accelerate on a hockey stick growth curve. Companies like IBM, Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon are bringing cognitive computing capability to the masses. And it's only a matter of time until nearly every aspect of our work and personal lives are impacted. These advances are still relatively new. Time will tell when and how they change things, but it will happen, and it will happen quickly. With massive change at our doorstep, now is the time to begin a collective discussion to help leaders navigate this new age.

2. How Artificial Intelligence Is Redefining The Future Of Work
In a world where the term "big data" is being thrown around like the next coming, many business leaders still struggle to understand how more information is going to help them make better decisions that drive their businesses forward. The key is accessing data in the right way, at the right time, and in the right format to generate beneficial insights. This process is no small feat and has historically meant a team of highly specialized data analysts spending hours upon hours sifting through terabytes (or more!) of information to make it digestible and useful. But that's all about to change in a big way.

3. Here Are 3 Leadership Skills That Managers Will Need In 2017
It's cliché to say that "this is year is different." But I think most of us would agree that, yeah, this year is actually kind of different. And it's not just all the political and societal changes we face; businesses are going to see changes, especially when it comes to their employees. And to successfully navigate all the disruptions, managers are going to need a few new leadership skills.

4. Sale-Leasebacks: Cash Out but Keep Control
Companies that purchase or ground-lease and develop property for their own use may want to consider monetizing those real estate assets through sale-leaseback. Sale-leasebacks offer a way to recover the capital spent on property purchase and improvements while continuing to occupy and control the property under a long-term lease. They are used as a vehicle to recapitalize, improve balance sheets, and feed expansion efforts.

5. The 3 Company Crises Boards Should Watch For
When an organization fails because of executive malfeasance, it generates a lot of attention. But such situations are actually relatively rare. It's much more common, though less talked about, for organizations to fail because of ungoverned incompetence. That is, someone does the wrong thing while trying to do the right thing, and organizational systems fail to catch it and contain it. This becomes more likely as the organization takes on strategic risk — through innovation, mergers and acquisitions, or because its environment is becoming more volatile.

6. How to incentivise executives to take a long-term view
Executive pay structures that rely on bonuses can encourage decisions that prioritise short-term gain over the sustainable performance and ethical conduct of the business. This, in part, is why executive pay has become a topic of increasing concern to regulators and shareholders alike. But there are steps boards can take to encourage leaders to focus on the long term, according to Wim Van der Stede, CIMA Professor of Accounting and Financial Management at the London School of Economics.

7. The Next Big Thing in 3-D Printing? Shapeshifting Materials
Three-dimensional printers have brought major advances to every corner of manufacturing: Scientists have used the process to engineer human tissue, print a rubber material to make drones less dangerous to people on the ground, and create a lightweight material that's 10 times stronger than steel and just 1/20th its density. Now, some of the coolest 3-D printing innovation is happening within the process itself. A team of MIT scientists has created a technique for 3-D printing objects that can transform after they're printed.

8. Ways to Protect Your Data From Cyber Thieves
How you think about data likely has a lot to do with what kind of business you own. "Our research tells us that only those whose businesses are closely linked to an IPR (intellectual property rights) competitive advantage will worry about data as an asset," says Joe Carella, assistant dean at the University of Arizona's Eller Executive Education program. Pharma, biotech, software and similar businesses may recognize the inherent asset value of their data, but most business owners tend to be much more concerned about other assets, such as hardware and inventory, because they are seen as having a more-direct day-to-day impact, he says.

10. 10 risk trends to watch in 2017
How comfortable would you be sharing a seat in the Board of Directors with an algorithm? That's right—not a human being, not a flesh and blood board member you can discuss issues with over a drink or two, but a program designed to sift through large amounts of data and, like you, make high-level decisions for the good of the company and its stakeholders. This is just one of the emerging trends Deloitte has observed in the risk landscape, which is rapidly changing and is increasingly influenced by advances in technology.

10. Top 10 TED Talks of 2016 (According to TED)
I confess to never having attended a TED symposium. I have friends who go regularly. Very intense friends who take (far too) many things seriously, as if they're members of one of those councils on Star Trek whose job it is to save the world. Still, watching TED Talks can be a stimulating pastime. I am delighted, therefore, that TED contacted me in order to point to its Top 10 Talks of the year, as selected by incoming Energy Secretary Rick Perry. I'm sorry, I mean curator Chris Anderson. As you can see, these talks are deep and illuminating.

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