Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 32, 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. Why Amazon Still Acts Like a Startup (Even Though It Makes More Tha...
Since the beginning, Jeff Bezos has been reminding his team that at Amazon, it is always Day 1. Every year, he reinforces the company's commitment to this philosophy by republishing the 1997 letter to shareholders in which he mapped out the Day 1 approach. That sense of urgency is what keeps Amazon acting like an aggressive startup two decades later, even though the company earns more than $100 billion annually.

2. Metric of the Month: Days Payable Outstanding
Not that long ago, negotiating extended payment terms was equivalent to tossing out a red flag to signal that the company was in trouble. But today, with fresh and painful memories of the past recession, many larger businesses in good financial shape are still pushing for extra time to pay their bills.

3. CFO's and the Board: Three Ways To Improve Working Relationships
The CFO controls the purse-strings across the entire company. Inevitably, their financial influence extends to areas of the business they are comfortable with - as well as aspects they don't fully understand. This inconsistency can have far-reaching implications, particularly when a lack of transparency limits the amount of information available to fellow stakeholders.

4. How to Make Work More Meaningful for Your Team
Finding meaning at work has become so important that there are even public rankings for the most meaningful jobs. Although there are many factors determining how appealing jobs tend to be, those that contribute to improving other people's lives are ranked top (e.g., health care and social work). Interestingly, meta-analytic studies indicated that there is only a marginal association between pay and job satisfaction. A lawyer who earns $150,000 a year is no more engaged than a freelance designer who earns $35,000 a year.

5. 5 rules of effective data visualisation
Presenting data in a way that your audience can grasp quickly supports better decision-making. A new CGMA briefing, developed in partnership with KPMG, describes how. One way finance professionals can improve the quality of decision-making in their organisation is to ensure they present management information in a way which is quick and easy for non-finance colleagues to absorb.

6. 6 tactics that make for happy employees
Accountants and finance professionals could be more productive if they were happier at work, research by Robert Half suggests. Happy employees are better employees because they are more engaged and more satisfied, they change jobs less often, and their mental health outside of work is better, according to Marsha Huber, CPA, CGMA, a happiness researcher and associate professor of accounting at Youngstown State University in Ohio. Huber, who was not involved in the Robert Half research, suggested that these benefits can translate into saved recruiting and training costs and even fewer sick days and lower medical costs.

7. 7 Ways Outstanding Leaders Do Things Differently
It may feel as though we're in a crisis of leadership, but if you stop to look around it's not hard to find examples of CEOs, middle managers, elected officials, public servants, neighborhood watch organizers, team captains and coaches, teachers and countless others who are doing a good job as leaders. Most of us are either in that group or working toward it.

8. A Key Ingredient to Campbell Soup's Ability to Greatly Improve thei...
Four years ago, Molly Kissell transitioned into the role Director of Integrated Demand Management at Campbell Soup. Campbell Soup's demand forecast accuracy - as measured at the item/location one month following the forecast - had fallen into the mid-60s. The initial goal simply sought to achieve historical levels of forecast accuracy. For the first couple years, they explored various benchmarking solutions - including participation in Chainalytics' Demand Planning Intelligence Consortium (DPiC) - and worked to improve planners' capabilities to use their new demand management solution.

9. The Cloud: A Better Expense Model
Cloud computing is one of the biggest tech trends in a generation. It's changing IT strategy for just about every business on just about every level, and it's driving a huge shift in spending. The global cloud market is expected to grow to $390 billion by 2020, according to research by Bain, and one of its biggest areas of impact is how it presents a new landscape for chief financial officers to work within.

10. The roots of organic growth
Growth is a tonic for most companies. It attracts talent and creates strategic options while generating financial resources to fund new moves—provided the growth is profitable. It's also been harder to come by over the past decade, as a sluggish macroeconomic environment and accelerating, technology-driven disruption have ratcheted up pressure on businesses.

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