Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 4, 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.

0. Planning for the future: how CFOs can achieve forecasting success
Is the finance function fulfilling its potential when it comes to contributing to business success through planning, budgeting and forecasting? A recent study into the priorities, challenges and ambitions of finance professionals, commissioned by software and services provider Advanced, has uncovered vulnerability in the CFO armour, yet finance directors can quickly regain ground by leveraging technology to their advantage.

1. Who should pay for support functions?
Throughout the world, organisations in virtually every sector have revolutionised how they manage their support functions. New technologies, partnerships, and sources of talent are turning areas once viewed only as cost centers into new generators of competitive advantage. But even with all of these advances, one problem with support functions remains: how to determine who pays for them.

2. Why Data Decays So Fast: Business databases degrade by around 30% p...
People change jobs, get promoted and move home. Companies go out of business, expand and relocate. Every one of these changes contributes to data decay. It's been said that business databases degrade by around 30% per year, but why? A report by IDG states that companies with effective data grow 35% faster year-on-year. However, for this to happen your data needs to have a high level of accuracy, consistency, and completeness. Yet for many businesses, data quality is seen as an abstract concept - let's examine why…

3. Innovative Office Spaces Attract Millennials
Huddle rooms, smart boards, showers, proximity to mass transit — urban-dwelling millennials have a new set of requirements for the workspace. A growing number of businesses — ranging from startup technology companies to professional services firms — are using innovative office spaces to court millennials, currently the largest and a highly coveted segment of the workforce.

4. Research: Family Firms Are More Innovative Than Other Companies
Family firms aren't typically thought of as particularly innovative. More often, they're viewed as risk averse, traditional, and stagnant. However, many family-owned businesses are among the most innovative in their industries. Consider Herr's Potato Chips and Enterprise Rent-A-Car. There are countless other examples of family firms that have brought innovations to market. We wanted to determine how family firms actually compare to their nonfamily counterparts when it comes to being innovative. Our research, conducted with Patricio Duran and Thomas Zellweger, suggests the answer is not simple.

5. Five Tips For More Productive Monotasking When You Work Alone
If you're a connoisseur of productivity methods—and even if you aren't—you've likely heard about "monotasking," the alternative to multitasking in which the name of the game is to stop juggling multiple tasks and instead focus deeply on one thing at a time. There are a handful of different ways to monotask, but one of them is a technique sometimes called "batching" or "mode-based scheduling," which author and productivity expert Michael Hyatt describes as "setting aside an intentional amount of time for intentional tasks and making an intentional effort to not allow the distractions or interjections of others break that focus."

6. The Financial Case for a Data Privacy Program
The total volume of information around the world is doubling every two years and will reach 180 zettabytes by 2025. Storing all this data is expensive. It can cost organizations up to $2.8 million every three years to store one petabyte of data, and many large organizations are approaching or have already exceeded that petabyte threshold. Further, as data volumes rise and information is distributed throughout an organization, business users struggle to derive the best value from it.

7. Why employers should help workers improve their financial health
Money worries come in all shapes and sizes. For some, it's a result of a low-paying job or a job loss. For others, there is debt from student loans or medical bills. Some people experience financial stress when a child is born or when retirement is on the horizon and the money to fund retirement is tied up in a volatile stock market. That stress can lead to a lack of focus and a lack of performance at work, particularly when organisations themselves are under pressure to cut costs.

8. Great Teams Are About Personalities, Not Just Skills
At the start of 2016 Google announced that it had discovered the secret ingredients for the perfect team. After years of analyzing interviews and data from more than 100 teams, it found that the drivers of effective team performance are the group's average level of emotional intelligence and a high degree of communication between members. Google's recipe of being nice and joining in makes perfect sense (and is hardly counterintuitive).

9. How Hard Is It to Achieve Target Incentive Payouts?
If you're a top executive at a very large company that offers performance-based bonuses and you don't get one, you're part of an unfortunate, small minority. Compensation Advisory Partners examined incentive payouts from 2010 through 2015 by 100 publicly held companies — each with at least $18 billion in annual revenue — across 9 industries. The firm found that 95% of executives at companies that offered such programs achieved at least "threshold" performance, meaning they qualified for at least a partial bonus.

10. Top 10 Business Intelligence trends for 2017
In 2016, a wave of self-service analytics swept across the enterprise. Organisations began embracing the modern approach to business analytics, with IT and the business partnering to derive maximum value from their data. IT began leveraging technologies to scale and grow, as business users shared and collaborated with their data. Where are things headed next? Here are Tableau's predictions.