Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 44

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. Are All Businesses Set To Become Data Companies?
There's data everywhere. More and more things generate data: the things we touch, the media we consume, the cars we drive. Take something as humble as a lightbulb - a fundamental of life. In 2012, Philips Hue launched a smart bulb that can collect information on everything from your IP address, to the types of smart devices you own, and the names of the rooms in your house. Now imagine how many light bulbs there are in the world and the amount of data that would be generated if we all used even one of these smart bulbs. Once simply an electronics company, Philips suddenly has access to huge amounts of data, which could be more valuable than the products it sells.

2. Taking conservation finance to scale
Environmental-conservation projects face a dramatic shortage of funds. Estimates indicate that $300 billion to $400 billion is needed each year to preserve and restore ecosystems but that conservation projects receive just $52 billion, mostly from public and philanthropic sources. Improving their risk-return profiles and structuring larger investment products could unlock private capital to narrow the gap.

3. You Don't Need Big Data — You Need the Right Data
The term "big data" is ubiquitous. With exabytes of information flowing across broadband pipes, companies compete to claim the biggest, most audacious data sets. And businesses of all varieties — old and new, industrial and digital, big and small — are getting into the game. But the reality is that our relentless focus on the importance of big data is often misleading. Yes, in some situations, deriving value from data requires having an immense amount of that data. But the key for innovators across industries is that the size of the data isn't the most critical factor — having the right data is.

4. The Top Four Mistakes That Make Business Leaders Awful Storytellers
If "storytelling" is a common buzzword in the business world, it's for good reason—narratives make for effective communication. But the practice has become a victim of its own success. Suddenly, it's as though everyone fancies themselves "storytellers" but without really knowing what a story is or how to tell one. I've trained thousands of executives on storytelling, so I've seen pretty much every storytelling mistake someone can possibly make. Here are the four most common slip-ups that turn otherwise capable speakers into ineffective storytellers.

5. Global economic roundup: Higher inflation risks shattering deceptiv...
Although the US Presidential campaign has been unusually acrimonious, the financial markets have remained relatively calm. The belief that Hilary Clinton will almost certainly win the race has created a deceptive sense of composure. Most equity markets have fluctuated narrowly near to their multi-year highs. But the illusory tranquillity is likely to come to an end before the end of 2016, whatever the outcome of the US elections.

6. Why Diverse Teams Are Smarter
Striving to increase workplace diversity is not an empty slogan — it is a good business decision. A 2015 McKinsey report on 366 public companies found that those in the top quartile for ethnic and racial diversity in management were 35% more likely to have financial returns above their industry mean, and those in the top quartile for gender diversity were 15% more likely to have returns above the industry mean.

7. 7 Ways Successful People Have Better Mindsets
It's interesting to wonder why some people are more successful than others, especially if you yourself are aiming high. What do people like Richard Branson, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates have that feeds their ongoing excellence and propels them to the highest levels of success? The answers are complex, of course. But that doesn't mean they can't be learned. Each of these successful people shares certain smart mindsets--mindsets that any one of us can emulate, that will do us good no matter what level of success we aspire to. Here are seven of the top examples.

8. Do Finance Functions Really Need To Spend More On Analytics Tech?
A recent survey of FP&A practitioners by the Association for Finance Professionals (AFP) has emphasised the need for greater investment in analytics technology, with Jim Kaitz, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the AFP concluding, 'Greater investment in technology liberates FP&A staff to do what they were hired to do, and what their organizations need them to do; namely, conduct robust analysis and forecasting to better inform their company's strategic decisions.'

9. Tesla might be on the verge of a breakthrough that would change its...
About a week and a half ago, Greenlight Capital's David Einhorn took a shot at Tesla CEO Elon Musk in a third-quarter investor letter. "[C]omplacent shareholders have been willing to look past years of over-promising and under-delivering from a promotional CEO," Einhorn wrote. "Elon Musk's ability to spin a yarn and keep a story going seems to mesmerize his investors, blinding them to the challenges the company is facing." Is this about to change?

10. People Are Angry About Globalization. Here's What to Do About It.
The U.S. is in the midst of a presidential campaign in which both candidates have adopted antitrade stances and one has taken a frankly xenophobic, isolationist stance. The UK has voted to leave the European Union. Much of continental Europe is convulsed with similar combinations of disaffection, protectionism, and, in some cases, nationalism and even racism that have morphed into a more-or-less generalized anger against globalization.