Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 21, 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. How the CFO enables the board’s success—during COVID-19 and beyond
Two board experts explain how in times of crisis or transformation, the CFO can serve as a rock in the boardroom, a critical arbiter of difficult decisions, and a scout for the future.

2. Managing uncertainty: How mid-sized organisations can become more agile during uncertain times
In times of business uncertainty, such as during the current pandemic, the strategic role of finance executives is more important than ever. The timeline for making key decisions about the direction of the business get compressed and the ability to be agile – operating quickly and efficiently – could make the difference between success and failure.

3. COVID-19: 3 ways to steer through the crisis
Across the world finance professionals are at the centre of work to stabilise businesses and prepare them for the future beyond lockdown. Businesses are looking to manage costs and customer debt, but the crisis has also been an opportunity to rethink fundamentally how they operate and to examine how to transform to survive and thrive after the heat of the crisis has dissipated.

4. 4 Behaviors That Empower CFOs to Lead With Compassion
While added stress of managing the impact of the current pandemic has hit all leaders and functions hard, the hardest hit may be chief financial officers and the departments they are leading through these highly dynamic times. With a majority of companies predicting a loss of revenue and profits, finance functions are being asked to pull all the levers they can to minimize the financial damage caused by the crisis.

5. 5 critical steps for successful scenario planning
The COVID-19 pandemic changed our world, almost overnight, and businesses are having to adjust. The unprecedented nature of the pandemic means no one knows how deep the economic downturn will be, or how long it will last, which makes financial planning for businesses especially difficult.

6. The Psychic Burden of Working During Lockdown
Before COVID-19, remote working was usually optional – a perk used sparingly, and viewed as a secondary option by many companies. Now, it is compulsory for as much as half the workforce in developed economies such as the United States. For many, this may persist even after returning to the office becomes a possibility.

7. How Narcissistic Leaders Can Destroy Organizations During Covid-19
In many ways, narcissism is indelibly linked to leadership. After all, research has shown that leaders tend to score higher on traits, such as narcissism, than the rest of the population. Indeed, one study found that when a group had no leader, it was typically the person with most narcissistic traits that stepped forward to do the job.

8. Amazon was built for the pandemic—and will likely emerge from it stronger than ever
If you were designing a company from scratch that could capitalize on a global crisis, it would probably look a lot like Amazon. A fearsome operating machine that inspires equal measures of dread and admiration throughout the business world, the $280-billion-in-sales tech behemoth can react with the speed of the nimblest startup when challenged. Look no further than the company’s response this year to the coronavirus, which founder and CEO Jeff Bezos described to shareholders in late April as “the hardest time we’ve ever faced.” 

9. How to leverage your company’s competitive edge
Imagine you’re a grocery retailer trying to manage your stores in the midst of a global pandemic. You need to monitor how many shoppers come through your doors, check who’s wearing a mask, and maybe even enforce physical distancing rules. But how do you know when too many shoppers are clustered in the frozen food aisle, or when a mask-less shopper just wandered into the produce section?

10. At a glance: Countries' pandemic relief efforts
The COVID-19 outbreak has ground the world to a halt, closing down countries and hitting an already-slowing global economy. Governments have rolled out billions, sometimes trillions, of dollars to boost their economies, hoping to dampen the economic damage brought on by the pandemic.