Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 35

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. Tips for Exploring Financial Data with Business Intelligence
One of the main advantages modern business intelligence brings to the table is the ability to perform exploratory data analysis - i.e., testing new hypothesis leading to further data collection and analyses, beyond merely examining the present state of affairs. How does this apply to the realm of financial data analytics?

2. The Most Practical Big Data Use Cases Of 2016
Big data is sexy. Data scientists are the unicorns of the job market right now. Some days, it feels as though we are living right on the edge of some science fiction utopian future. But unicorns and sci-fi aside, for businesses, implementing something like a big data strategy has to be more than sexy: it has to be practical. In my book, Big Data in Practice, I outline 45 different practical use cases in which companies have successfully used analytics to deliver extraordinary results. These are some of my favorites.

3. What We Miss When We Judge a Decision by the Outcome
When people are judging the quality of leaders' decisions, they tend to focus much more on outcomes than intentions. For example, they judge hiring decisions not on the basis of whether the decision was made thoughtfully or fairly but on whether the new employee performs well. They judge the quality of a product decision on whether the product was well received in the market, rather than the quality of the process that led to the decision in the first place.

4. Instant Insights in a Fast-Paced Digital Economy
Today's digital economy is a fast-changing one. Digital businesses are connecting vast amounts of data from across companies' value chains in real time, and business leaders are increasingly called upon to make decisions more quickly and more confidently in response to new information.

5. How finance departments should prepare for revenue recognition changes
2018 is fast-approaching, and for corporate finance departments around the world, that means seismic change is just around the corner. New accounting standards are changing the way that corporations perform the all-important function of revenue recognition - and it's going to have a big impact on your financial statements. While January 2018 may seem far away, the average Fortune 1000 company needs 18 months to prepare for such a sizable change in the revenue recognition process -

6. 6 Steps For Improving Leadership Alignment
Nothing guarantees mission failure more than a lack of alignment in a senior leadership team. No responsible leadership team wants to be misaligned, but it happens all the time and can be very damaging to the success of an organization. When alignment does not exist, then entire company feels it which in turn will ensure that employees are not connected to a shared sense of purpose. Conversely, when alignment does exist, employees will invest more of their time, talents and energy into meeting or exceeding the goals of the organization.

7. Continued rise projected for accountants' starting salaries in 2017
Starting salaries for US accounting and finance positions will continue to rise in 2017, reflecting high demand for skilled professionals, according to a new salary guide. Increases in starting salaries will range from 3.0% to 4.3% in 2017, depending on the position, according to the Robert Half 2017 Salary Guide. The guide was published Tuesday.

8. 8 Big Questions I Hope Get Answered At Apple's September Event
Apple is holding its big product launch for 2016 on September 7. Unless the company has managed to keep something wholly unexpected under wraps—which would be great!—the key news will involve new iPhones and the second-generation version of the Apple Watch. But to me, Apple's events are usually at least as interesting for what they tell us about the company's overall ambitions and strategies as they are for the straightforward details on the features, prices, and availability dates of new products.

9. This Is the Real Cost of Building a Startup
Aspiring entrepreneurs love to follow stories on the latest million-dollar startup idea that's skyrocketed to success. The tale of how the company came out of nowhere and now has investors lined up around the block gives them hope that one day they can reach that level. However, there's one thing those stories often leave out: how much startups cost to get going. There's no mention of how the entrepreneur budgeted his money or the price he had to pay to make his dream a reality. So let's talk about it. What does it really cost to launch a startup?

10. Working 80 Hours a Week is Not Actually What Leads to Success
You can tell a soon-to-fail entrepreneur by the tired, haggard look in his eyes. Like extras from "The Walking Dead," they stumble around looking not entirely alive. Because they aren't. Despite covariance in the rate of startup failures with overworked CEOs, the problem persists. Some founders are fanatical when bragging that they work 60 to 80 hour weeks. Their sense of building "sweat equity" blinds them to the sacrifices they make -- to their health, to their marriages, to their families and communities. What they mistake as a successful lifestyle is actually a massive failure.