Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 23, 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. Coronavirus: 15 emerging themes for boards and executive teams
As Winston Churchill said, “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” We are seeing some faint signs of progress in the struggle to contain the pandemic. But the risk of resurgence is real, and if the virus does prove to be seasonal, the effect will probably be muted. It is likely never more important than now for boards of directors and executive management teams to tackle the right questions and jointly guide their organizations toward the next normal.

2. COVID-19: How to make strategic decisions
Lockdowns and stay-at-home orders to corral the coronavirus pandemic are challenging businesses, particularly small and midsize enterprises, worldwide. Many have watched revenue decline drastically, some up to 100%, and profits turn into losses. At worst, the pandemic’s economic impact poses an existential threat.

3. The future of Asia: Decoding the value and performance of corporate Asia
The COVID-19 crisis is an unprecedented global challenge in the post–World War II period. The pandemic has proven to be not only a public-health crisis but also a major disruption to supply chains, which may permanently change long-standing business practices in the next normal. But Asia has come through crisis periods before and emerged stronger for it—and there is reason to believe it can do so again.

4. Growing Resilience in Uncertain Times
When confronted with a situation weighed with anxiety and ambiguity, like a pandemic, a lockdown and frightening news from the economy, it’s impossible for most of us to imagine any upside. We become paralysed; overwhelmed by events, we descend into a state of mind I call unproductive uncertainty. But there are some people who manage to see their way through that paralysis and find a positive path forward. Specifically, some manage to make uncertainty work for them: innovators, entrepreneurs, CEOs, Nobel Prize winners as well as gamblers, paramedics and surfers. Over the past five years, I’ve identified the approaches and tools they use to navigate turbulent times and uncover their own potential.

5. Five Accounting and Reporting Considerations Before Reopening
Businesses around the country are preparing to reopen as local stay-at-home orders are lifted. But the world looks a lot different than it did a mere three months ago, and many companies must now adjust to a yet-evolving new normal. While companies now understand how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their operations, the dust is still settling on the short-term impacts of the crisis and what business will be like in the long term.

6. Becoming more empathetic in difficult times
“The ability to step into someone else’s shoes, be aware of their feelings, and understand their needs is more important now than ever before,” said Vanessa Addison, a performance and growth coach based in South Africa. “Empathy is the ability to understand and be aware of, or co-experience, the feelings and thoughts of others. When people feel seen, heard, and understood, it builds trust, and hence strong, healthy relationships are built and maintained.”

7. Falling demand, safety concerns fuel finance leaders’ pessimism
The COVID-19 pandemic reversed the economic expectations of CPA decision-makers across the US within a matter of months, according to the AICPA’s latest Business and Industry Economic Outlook Survey. After years of optimism in the quarterly survey, overwhelming majorities now have a negative outlook for the domestic and global economies for the next 12 months — no surprise, given the country’s record unemployment, rising mortgage delinquencies, and an emerging wave of bankruptcies.

8. Central banks weigh in on carbon transition
Suggestions that central banks should steer the low carbon transition have been demolished by two leading participants in the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS) – a consortium of central banks and financial supervisors formed in 2017. Instead, they advocate a role marshalling different opinions and initiatives into a more cohesive body of action.

9. The Many Benefits of Accounting Advisers to Corporate Finance: Through COVID-19 and Beyond
COVID-19 has caused an unprecedented health and economic crisis, and no industry is immune. How corporate finance teams respond in the face of all these challenges, old and new, could have a significant impact on how a company emerges from COVID-19, and how the company performs and grows in a post-COVID-19 global business economy.

10. The 10 Commitments Companies Must Make to Advance Racial Justice
In the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, many major corporations are tweeting out statements of concern and support for the Black community. That’s a start, but what is needed at this moment is action. We cannot pretend that most major corporations in America — and their shareholders — have not benefited from the structural racism, intentional inequality, and indifference to suffering that is behind the current protests. Corporate America and the Business Roundtable have an obligation to go beyond tweets and quotes by committing to an agenda that will advance racial equity in meaningful ways.