Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 42, 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 Smartphones Will Become Extinct by 2025
In my house, there are voicebots everywhere. In the kitchen, I use Google Home speaker to ask about recipes and the weather. In my office, there's an Amazon Echo connected to a high-end stereo, which I use to control my music collection by voice. You'd think that would be enough, except that I have another Echo Dot in my family room, and another Echo in an upstairs room. In my car, I'm constantly talking to Siri and the Google Assistant.

2. In a Distracted World, Solitude Is a Competitive Advantage
Technology has undoubtedly ushered in progress in a myriad of ways. But this same force has also led to work environments that inundate people with a relentless stream of emails, meetings, and distractions. "Always remember: Your focus determines your reality." Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn shares this advice with Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars, but in our hyper-distracted work world, it's advice that we all need to hear.

3. Want to Make Better Decisions? Learn to Think Like a Pro Poker Player
The list of cognitive biases that mess with our decision making is depressingly long. With this huge array of faulty assumptions, wonky estimating, and emotional irrationalities afflicting our brains, it sometimes seems like a small miracle that we make good choices as often as we do. So what do you do to get rid of at least some of these impediments to clear thinking?

4. Why business is booming for accountants in India
Since 2014, the Indian government has initiated reforms to push the country towards a cashless and cleaner economy. The best-known of these are demonetisation, under which the 500-rupee and 1,000-rupee currency notes in circulation were declared invalid legal tender in November 2016, and the goods and services tax (GST), rolled out in July, which brings indirect taxes at the state and central levels under one umbrella. As of May, demonetisation had brought 9.1 million new assessees into the tax system as people realised that it was no longer viable to hide cash and income from the authorities.

5. Five common strategy mistakes FDs are making
Chris Paton, a former Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Marines who is now a war-gaming expert advising large corporates, explains the five common strategy mistakes organisations make Commercial organisations, particularly large corporates, are often so focused on the day-to-day issues of performance, competition and share price, that they take their eye off the strategy ball. This failure to lift the eyes to the horizon and plan for the future can have serious consequences for reputation, market share and capital.

6. Six Ways to Reduce Days Sales Outstanding
Cash flow is the lifeblood of any business. And a key measure to track for a healthy cash flow is Days Sales Outstanding (DSO). DSO represents the number of days it takes for a company to convert its accounts receivable into cash. The sooner the company gets that cash, the stronger its cash flow and financial position is likely to be.
But years of low interest rates and easy credit have allowed companies to take their eye off the ball when it comes to managing DSO.

7. Overcoming Resistance to Digital Change
Going digital requires a lot of change management, and perhaps more time and energy is spent here than on anything else. Why would that be the case? As we've discussed in the earlier parts of this series, organisations on the digital journey may need to rethink core roles and processes. The result is that as much as companies may aim for external disruption in these changes, there is also likely to be severe internal disruption. This is why "cool" digital ideas may not seem so cool or friendly to internal stakeholders....

8. 8 techniques to practise mental toughness
As a leading performance and sports psychologist, Eric Potterat has helped athletes, astronauts, and elite military personnel understand why humans tend to fight, flee, or freeze in the face of adversity. But the insights also apply in business. "If you learn to control and navigate adversity, you control performance in any environment," Potterat told accountants and finance professionals at the AICPA's 2017 Global Manufacturing Conference.

9. CFOs Need Procurement as Their Right-Hand Man. Here's Why.
Finance is a driving force behind any successful business — and the CFO is the crucial leader at its helm, steering operational strategy in a direction that maximizes value for the organization. With the digital revolution, finance has a whole new set of opportunities to take advantage of. According to an Accenture study, the finance function can make a "profound impact" on its performance by exploiting digital technologies.

10. Pitfalls of self-service BI
Over the past several years, businesses have increasingly adopted self-service business intelligence (BI). The benefits seem clear. Whereas traditional BI is frequently seen as slow and rigid, self-service BI promises ease of use and agility. With self-service BI, business users can get access to the data and insights they need, when they need them. By bypassing IT, the business can better capitalize on opportunities and quickly react to problems. But there are drawbacks as well….