Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 2, 2020


Want to stay up to date with the latest developments in finance, but short on time? Don't worry. CFO South Africa weekly collects 10 of the most important articles from international media for your convenience.

1. Hidden in Tom Hanks's Emotional Golden Globes Speech Was the Best Career Advice You'll Hear Today. Here It Is in 1 Sentence
Toward the end of his speech, Hanks shared a 3-step formula for success he learned decades ago. It's simple and brilliant--and could completely change the way you work.

2. Keeping pace with Africa’s fast-changing competitive landscape
Nigeria is widely viewed as coming late to the mobile money revolution that swept East Africa in the 2010s. But transferring money today in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, could scarcely be easier — shopkeepers, tradespeople, department stores, satellite TV companies, and nearly every other merchant accepts payment via mobile phone transfer. How Segun Agbaje, CEO of Nigeria’s Guaranty Trust Bank, is building a financial institution for the digital age.

3. 3 tactics to become an agile CFO
Business leaders worldwide have grown more concerned about the global economy in the past year and are increasingly trying to be agile — to act quickly and easily — as they deal with an environment going through rapid changes, research suggests. Two-thirds (67%) of about 1,300 CEOs polled by KPMG in 2019 said that “acting with agility is the new currency of business; if we’re too slow, we will be bankrupt”. That’s up from 59% in 2018.

4. How to unleash creative thinking
The concept of presence of mind, as a tool for strategy, comes from one of the original writers on that subject: the Prussian general Carl von Clausewitz. In his classic book On War, published in 1832, he named presence of mind as a critical step of creative thinking. 

5. Break the Bad Habit of Overreacting to Metrics
CFOs, of course, play a key role in overseeing financial metrics and, increasingly, operational performance measures. They pay a great deal of much-needed attention to the question of what to measure. But an opportunity typically remains for getting better at evaluating metrics.

6. Is Paranoia Widespread in Your Firm? You’re Not Alone
Recently, I spoke to a CEO who had commissioned a survey on his organisation’s health. To his great surprise – and that of his executive team – more than 80 percent of the respondents said that they were reluctant to speak their mind. They felt unsafe to express their opinions, doubts or frustrations. Sadly enough, I had to tell this CEO that his firm was not an outlier. In many organisations, paranoia is common and trust is non-existent, contributing to strong disengagement.

7. How the Best Managers Identify and Develop Talent
Great managers are typically experts in their fields with a strong performance history and an interest in being in charge. But to lead effectively they need to develop another skill, one that is often overlooked: talent management.

8. Why Social Enterprises Still Matter in an Age of “Win-Win”
Mainstream companies often fail to serve critical societal needs when profits and impact do not align. The answer? Employ business just as a tool, without taking profit maximisation as a constraint.

9. Cybersecurity 2020: Welcome to the Digital Cold War
Based on comprehensive assessments of the threat landscape, we believe businesses must focus on the following security areas in 2020: the race for technology dominance among nation-states; third parties, the internet of things (IoT), and the cloud; and cybercrime, from both internal and external sources.

10. 2020’s top business risks
A business risk deemed critical by an organisation’s CFO might not even be on the radar of the CEO. That particular scenario may demonstrate a lack of communication in the C-suite, but it’s no hypothetical. An annual survey report on risk shows that different executives have disparate views on what risks are the most important.

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