Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 47


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. What makes a CFO great
Corporate finance leaders face four main challenges. Tackling them will allow CFOs to shape strategy and drive innovation necessary for sustainable growth, but it will also rapidly expand their role, EY research suggests. A majority of finance leaders said they are increasingly expected to have digital know-how, use data analytics, and manage risks. They also have to deal more with shareholders and regulators than before, according to a global EY survey of more than 750 finance leaders.

2. Special Report: Connecting the Supply Chain
Less than two years ago, CFO columnists were discussing the potential for building a digitally connected supply chain. They recommended holding brainstorming sessions with supply chain vendors. A.T. Kearney was even promoting "digital sprints," which are "events similar in spirit to hackathons where supply chain, manufacturing, and project managers collaborate intensively." Fast forward to the cusp of a new year, and it appears the future—propelled by the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and big data—is here.

3. How impact investing can reach the mainstream
Nearly ten years have passed since a coalition of philanthropists and investors introduced the financial-services industry to impact investing, a practice distinguished by its aim to generate social and environmental benefits alongside financial returns. In that time, impact-investing funds have amassed more than $77 billion in assets under management,1 and prominent investment managers—Bain Capital, BlackRock, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan Chase, to name a few—have added impact products to their portfolios.

4. 4 Ambitious Companies Disrupting Under-the-Radar Industries
Every boat needs water. But just like cars, boats also need parking spots--in some cases, big ones. Fortress Marine Construction can build a custom-designed lake dock for your recreational boat--a very good business right now, says CEO Brian Hall--as well as boatlifts and seawalls. Here, Fortress Marine worker Bob Stratton walks back toward land after tightening the bolts of a bumper he just helped install on the dock being constructed on the north side of the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, Florida, for the ferry Jean Ribault--also known as the Mayport ferry--part of a $5 million transportation-renewal project. --Bill Saporito

5. Think 2016 Was Crazy? Wait Until the Accountants Get Replaced by Ro...
We all hope to get our version of "The Deal", and The Deal is this: If you do what's expected, you'll get what you expect. A job. Economic security. The ability to support a family, if you choose to have one. You don't have to look very far to find stories about blue-collar workers who found out the hard way that their version of "The Deal" was disappearing, and neither political party had much interest in preserving it. In fact, job losses in the industrial United States over the last few decades have left many blue-collar workers facing a pretty horrific condition: Permanent income loss.

6. How a culture survives when a start-up merges with an incumbent
LearnVest, a seven-year-old start-up once praised by the New York Times as "among the first to crack the code, using both technology and certified financial planners" to make gold-standard financial-planning services "accessible to millions of Americans," was acquired not long ago by Northwestern Mutual, a venerable insurance company more than a century old. LearnVest founder and CEO Alexa Von Tobel recently talked with McKinsey's Barr Seitz about the challenges and opportunities in merging two such seemingly disparate corporate cultures. The following is an edited transcript of the conversation.

7. Top M&A pain points: Technology, followed by people
Southwest Airlines' acquisition of smaller US carrier AirTran was first proposed in 2010. The deal closed in 2011, and the last AirTran flight was in 2014. The technological merging of reservation systems continued far longer. Southwest's most recent annual report, in early 2016, said the airline continued to work on implementation of a reservation system that had to be revamped when Southwest, which had previously flown domestic routes only, took over AirTran's international routes. The company said a single, new reservation system for international and domestic travel will be implemented in 2017.

8. Management reporting fails to keep pace with digital era
Corporate reporting is failing to keep pace with technology advances resulting in a growing expectation gap between what boards expect from reports and what CFOs can deliver, a new study has found. Two-thirds of chief financial officers worldwide say that the increasing volume and pace of data is affecting their ability to provide meaningful insights to boards, according to EY financial accounting and advisory services (FAAS).

9. Unmistakable Habits of Irresistible People
Too many people succumb to the mistaken belief that being likeable comes from natural, unteachable traits that belong only to a lucky few—the good looking, the fiercely social, and the incredibly talented. It's easy to fall prey to this misconception. Some people, regardless of what they lack—money, looks, or social connections—always radiate with energy and confidence. Even the most skeptical individuals find themselves enamored with these charming individuals. Get ready to say "hello" to a new, more irresistible you.

10. 10 Brutal Truths About Success No One Wants to Hear (Except People ...
Want to be successful? Start by radically changing your approach to business and to life. Ask successful people how they achieved their success and you'll hear words like "hard work," "sacrifice," and "persistence." Dig a little deeper and you'll find some other common attitudes and habits, like these: They know their success was only inevitable in hindsight….

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