Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 24, 2019

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. Effective CFOs Don’t Try to ‘Do Everything Better’
CFOs at large enterprises are underinvested in key activities and spend about one day per week on the wrong activities, according to Gartner. To ascertain what the most effective CFOs do differently with their time, relationships, and teams, Gartner conducted more than 100 interviews with finance chiefs and assessed personal performance and effectiveness across 231 attributes.

2. Spreadsheet Risks Still Being Ignored by C-Suite: Study
Companies are exposing themselves to financial and reputational risk by overlooking the vulnerabilities in spreadsheets, according to survey results released on Wednesday by Forrester Consulting and Incisive Software.

3. 3 Characteristics of Intelligent Finance
FEI Daily spoke with Jim Enzor, a former CFO and current managing director at Accenture, about the data, disruption, and talent challenges CFOs are facing along the transformation journey.

4. How management accountants can make partner
A career in accounting firms was perhaps a path less travelled for many management accountants, who have traditionally served as in-house finance advisers. But with the growth of consulting divisions in global accounting firms, management accountants trained in interdisciplinary skills in finance, management, and strategy are poised to step into these roles. Part of the attraction comes from the prestige, acknowledgement of technical expertise, and a share in a firm’s profits.

5. 5 things that resilient teams do differently
Challenges are inevitable in any organization—whether they’re an early-stage startup or an established industry heavyweight, and whether they employ 20 people or 1,000. For companies to maintain high-performance and well-being, they need to have resilient teams. This is especially vital when they have employees who regularly carry out high-stake work in challenging environments.

6. How to recruit and retain entrepreneurial talent
Employers have always valued employees who are curious, quick-to-adapt-to-change problem-solvers. But as digitalisation and globalisation increasingly connect economies and business, demand for entrepreneurial talent is on the rise, too. New hires who hit the ground running relieve managers and executives under pressure to deliver better returns on investment, develop new revenue streams, and look out for industry disruptors, said Patrick Blakeney, associate director at Michael Page, a UK-based professional recruitment firm.

7. 7 Ways Sales Teams Can Set Better Goals
Most sales forces use sales goals to focus attention on what’s important and give salespeople direction about what to do. Goals energize people and encourage them to keep going. Very often, companies link sales force incentive pay to goal achievement. This makes effective goal setting essential for directing and motivating sales teams and controlling sales compensation costs.

8. Data Strategy Drives Better Quality, Cost Savings
Technologies and techniques such as robotics, machine learning, natural language processing, and blockchain present a defining opportunity for the finance function. However, companies that have not adequately invested in data will find their digital transformation efforts frustrated. 

9. Why Managers – Now More Than Ever – Need to Understand Corporate Finance
With the recent re-intensification of the shareholder vs. stakeholder debate, the concept of value creation has become more ambiguous. On whose behalf should organisations generate value? For owners, employees, upstream and downstream partners, or local communities immediately affected by organisational activities?

10. Why firms are getting flexible working wrong
Flexible working is a hot topic in the corporate world. UK employees now have a legal right to request it, and their employers are duty bound to respond. But that is not the real reason big corporations are investing time and energy in re-imagining their working practices and workplaces. Large firms compete to recruit and retain the best people. This, of course, is an expensive and time-consuming business, and flexible workplaces are becoming a crucial tool in winning that talent battle.