Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 33, 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. One Hard Truth Good Leaders Know About Managing People
In Good to Great, Jim Collins sets up an interesting metaphor using a mirror in the corner office to explain the difference between a servant leader and a self-serving leader. When things are going well in an organization run by a self-serving leader, this type of leader tends to look in the mirror, beat on their chest, and declare, "Look at what I've accomplished." But when things go wrong, this leader looks out the window to see who's to blame for the failure.

2. Finance Can Be a Noble Profession (Yes, Really)
When I ask students graduating from Harvard Business School what they're doing next, I often get some version of "I'm going into finance but…" Then they quickly explain that finance is just a way station on the route to nobler goals. I seldom, if ever, hear that apologetic tone from students choosing technology companies or consulting. Recently, I asked a few students how people react to their choice to go into finance, and I was greeted with nervous laughter. When pressed, they explained that most people conclude that someone choosing finance cares only about money — and cares little for others or for society.

3. The rising advantage of public-private partnerships
In the United States, governments are increasingly turning to public-private partnerships (P3s) to implement public infrastructure works. Here's why the benefits of P3 project delivery, not just financing, will continue to shift the market in this direction.

4. Four best ways to use advanced analytics
Predictive and prescriptive analytics help companies use the increasing amounts of data to improve their business and financial performance. Predictive analytics use statistical analysis, data modelling, real-time scoring, and machine learning to detect trends for forecasting. Prescriptive analytics rank the trade-offs of different courses of action companies may take to reach certain objectives, for example through scenario modelling.

5. When to shift your digital strategy into a higher gear
When companies first sense a digital competitor entering their market space, they tend to react timidly, reasoning that the risk of damage to revenues and profits is not enough to justify tampering with current business models. Our research indicates, however, that executives may underestimate how close they are to an industry tipping point.1

6. Six Ways to Curb the Costs of a Data Breach
For those paying attention, 2017 has provided a steady and impressive litany of data breach victims, from video games to hotels to burrito shops to nearly every American voter. This is a direct continuation of the trend from 2016, in which roughly 40% of breached companies had under $100 million in revenue, and only 11% had revenue greater than $1 billion. No matter what size you are, you're a target.

7. To Come Up with a Good Idea, Start by Imagining the Worst Idea Poss...
There are many creative tools a designer uses to think differently, but none is more counter-intuitive than "wrong thinking," also called reverse thinking. Wrong thinking is when you intentionally think of the worst idea possible — the exact opposite of the accepted or logical solution, ideas that can get you laughed at or even fired — and work back from those to find new ways of solving old problems.

8. Data Science Vs. Data Analytics - Why Does It Matter?
Jargon can be downright intimidating and seemingly impenetrable to the uninformed. While complicated vernacular is an unfortunate side effect of the similarly complicated world of machines, those involved in computers, data and whole host of other tech-intensive sectors don't do themselves any favors with sometimes redundant sounding terminology. Take the fields of data science and data analytics.

9. Is Tesla Really a Disruptor? (And Why the Answer Matters)
Tesla, Elon Musk's automotive start-up, is having a very good year. In September, the company expects to begin shipping its all-electric Model 3 to non-employee customers, who have already logged 500,000 pre-orders. After reporting earnings earlier this month, its stock jumped, rocketing the 14-year-old startup's valuation to over $53 billion, ahead of every other U.S. car manufacturer and all but three worldwide. This despite the fact that the company lost nearly two billion dollars in the past two years alone.

10. 10 Keys For Executives To Manage Reputation Risk
With today's electronic and social media, the news cycle reporting on the downward spiral of a once-proud organization that has suffered severe reputation impairment is not a pleasant one to watch. Unfortunately, such news events capture our attention all too frequently, leaving an indelible impression about a company's reputation and brand image. Jim DeLoach outlines five critical areas leadership must pay close attention to, and 10 factors total that can be critical in managing reputation risk.

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