Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 49

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. Directors' Top 2017 Goal: Managing Long-Term Strategy
In uncertain economic times, public-company boards have taken a more hands-on approach to shaping company strategy, according to a new survey by the National Association of Corporate Directors. Half of the 631 respondents said becoming proactively involved in the development of long-term strategy is among their top improvement priorities for 2017.

2. Are today's CFOs ready for tomorrow's demands on finance?
Faced with advances in technology and growing responsibilities, many CFOs are bracing themselves for more change ahead—and understand that they must adapt to be effective. In the latest McKinsey Global Survey on the role of the CFO,1 finance leaders report that there are new demands on their time, such as digitizing critical business activities and managing cybersecurity, in addition to traditional finance duties.

3. Election buoys sentiment amongst US finance executives
Optimists and pessimists about the US economy's next 12 months both cite election results as reasons for their feelings, but in the latest quarterly survey of CPA decision-makers, optimism reigns now that Donald Trump has been elected president. The fourth-quarter Business & Industry Economic Outlook, released Thursday by the American Institute of CPAs, shows a gain across each indicator in the CPA Outlook Index (CPAOI).

4. Think Strategically About Your Career Development
Taking time to think about your career development is obviously important, but it's almost never urgent, so many professionals fail to take action, year after year. By focusing on these four steps, you can begin to carve out time to be more deliberate, and lay the groundwork for the job you want — five years from now, and beyond.

5. Will Brexit, Trump affect global accounting standards?
Political decisions that may affect cross-border business policies in the US and the UK have so far had no effect on international accounting standards, Hans Hoogervorst said Tuesday. In June, UK voters decided to withdraw from the EU. Less than five months later, US voters elected Donald Trump, who has vowed to renegotiate trade agreements and take a tough stance on immigration. Both decisions were widely viewed as a backlash against globalism. But will they result in a retreat from global accounting standards?

6. How to Retain Young Finance Pros
Most young finance professionals have their eye on a career promotion or a jump to a new job within the next two years. Employers should take note: young finance professionals prioritize job mobility and career progression over company loyalty. In order to cultivate and retain top talent, it's important to recognize that while "jobs for life" are a thing of the past, there are ways to harness the ambitions of our future leaders of finance.

7. 7 best corporate gifting practices for the holidays
Not too long ago, companies handing her several bottles of wine worth $300 as a Christmas gift was not unusual for Brenda Bayer, CPA, CGMA. Less than five years ago, however, the company she has worked for in different roles the past decade rolled out a detailed and explicit corporate gifting policy. She emailed companies about the policy change when it took effect. "Now, I hardly get any gifts anymore," she said.

8. Measuring employee trust
Gauging workers' faith in the organisation can help employers understand retention patterns, productivity risks, and other indicators of engagement. Trust is a key component of the relationships an organisation has with its stakeholders. It can determine how stakeholders interact with your organisation, since perceptions of an organisation's motivations and behaviour influence stakeholders' current and future decisions and actions towards it.

9. The age of analytics: Competing in a data-driven world
Is big data all hype? To the contrary: earlier research may have given only a partial view of the ultimate impact. A new report from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), The age of analytics: Competing in a data-driven world, suggests that the range of applications and opportunities has grown and will continue to expand. Given rapid technological advances, the question for companies now is how to integrate new capabilities into their operations and strategies—and position themselves in a world where analytics can upend entire industries.

10. The next acronym you need to know about: RPA (robotic process autom...
Robotics are beginning to have a profound effect on business. In this interview, Xavier Lhuer, an associate principal in McKinsey's London office, speaks with Leslie Willcocks, professor of technology, work, and globalization at the London School of Economics' department of management, about his work on robotic process automation—its impact on work, and how companies can capture its strategic and financial benefits.