Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 41, 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 Smartphones Hijack Our Minds
So you bought that new iPhone. If you are like the typical owner, you'll be pulling your phone out and using it some 80 times a day, according to data Apple collects. That means you'll be consulting the glossy little rectangle nearly 30,000 times over the coming year. Your new phone, like your old one, will become your constant companion and trusty factotum—your teacher, secretary, confessor, guru. The two of you will be inseparable.

2. Metric of the Month: Hurricane-Proof Accounts Receivable
Delays in accounts receivable (AR) equal less working capital and liquidity, making AR one area where improving efficiency can pay off exponentially. One measure of an efficient process is the number of people it takes to get the work done: The fewer the people it takes to do the job, the more likely it is that the team is doing the work the right way.

3. Three CFO Misconceptions About Advanced Analytics
As the role of the finance function continues to become more complex, proactive CFOs are recognizing that obtaining a real-time view of all business operations is no longer "nice to have," but imperative. Gone are the days of living and dying by the spreadsheet, and waiting for monthly or even yearly figures to make financial projections and operational course-corrections. To act as a strategic business partner within the C-suite, finance needs advanced, robust data and analytics capabilities.

4. Preparing Teams to Lead Innovative Change
The auto industry may be in for a double upending in the near future. First, the tipping point for self-driving cars is expected to occur between 2020 and 2026, according to experts' estimates. Second, the rise of ride-sharing (otherwise known as "Uberisation") poses a potentially fatal threat to the prevailing business model. Looking ahead to the next decade, it's impossible to predict the future of cars, let alone that of an industry based around putting a car in every driveway.

5. 5 Hiring Trends Financial Executives Need to Know
Hiring is hard, particularly in a candidate-driven market like today's. While the national unemployment rate remains low, the rates for specialized positions, such as accountants and auditors, financial analysts, and compliance officers, are even lower. The dearth of available candidates and the evolving skill sets companies need make recruiting especially difficult. The talent shortages confronting employers today create diverse challenges. Following are five prominent hiring trends in finance and accounting, each one influenced by these shortages.

6. Making M&A deal synergies count
Information is the lifeblood of investor efforts to confirm—or challenge—their confidence in a company's ability to create value. This is especially true when companies make deals large enough to redirect, reshape, or even completely redefine a company's strategy. It's only natural for investors to want to know what to expect—to give them confidence that the deal price isn't just value being transferred to a target company's shareholders. And when companies aren't forthcoming, investors may well interpret it as a sign that managers don't know how they'll make a deal work.

7. Big data, analytics, AI, and the finance professional
Artificial intelligence (AI) and robotisation will affect many elements of the human endeavour. That includes the way humans interact, how work is done, and what work need not be done by humans. These advancements present an opportunity for finance professionals, provided they embrace these tools. Businesses will still have roles in which insight, transparency, stewardship, and ethical corporate conduct are valued, and strategic finance professionals can fill these roles. Risks remain, but mainly for those who fail to appreciate the new tools and get left behind.

8. A Survey of How 1,000 CEOs Spend Their Day Reveals What Makes Leade...
What makes a CEO effective? The question has been studied extensively, of course, including in HBR. Yet we still know fairly little about how CEOs behave day-to-day and how their behavior relates to the success or failure of the companies they run. Previous studies have typically had limitations. Some have been of small samples, or relied heavily on the researchers' interpretation to classify different "types" of executive.

9. 9 Simple Reminders That Will Make You a Better Leader
Whenever I start to work with a new company to help it improve its leadership, the first thing I like to do is study the leaders in action and get feedback on how they are perceived by their teams. Leadership can be difficult, but I am always amazed by the number of people who make it harder than it needs to be by forgetting some simple basics. Here are nine things to remember about leadership that will stop you from making it more difficult for yourself than it needs to be, and help you become a better leader.

10. 10 Signs You Might Be Leadership Material, From 10 Experts Who Know
"I was offered a promotion to management," a friend recently informed us. "You guys know me. I honestly don't know if I'm leadership material." While we could have just sent our friend a message back saying, "Yes. You'll make a great leader." Her question made us curious to find out the top 10 signs you might be leadership material and not even realize it. But, we didn't want to just share our thoughts. We also wanted thoughts from other well-known experts. You might be leadership material if...