Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 25, 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. How leaders kill meaning at work
A classic McKinsey article from 2012. Senior executives routinely undermine creativity, productivity, and commitment by damaging the inner work lives of their employees in four avoidable ways. Are you killing meaning and creativity? 

2. 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. 

3. Even Brené Brown Gets Nervous at Public Speaking Engagements. Here Are Her 3 Tricks for Calming Nerves
Brené Brown is quite possibly the best public speaker I've ever seen. I was fortunate enough to see her live last year, at a lecture series at USC. The host was thoughtful and had a series of interesting questions, but what really jumped out was how wise she actually is.

4. Bringing value to healthcare using cost accounting
While the raised profile of costing is welcome, director of finance Duncan Orme, involved in healthcare costing on a national level, sees a danger that the demand for experienced cost accountants is beginning to outstrip supply. He believes cost accounting's image needs a makeover and that the way to achieve this is to highlight the importance of the cost accountant's skillset to the wider healthcare system.

5. Marvel’s Blockbuster Machine
In just a decade Marvel Studios has redefined the franchise movie. Its 22 films have grossed some $17 billion—more than any other movie franchise in history. At the same time, they average an impressive 84% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes (the average for the 15 top-grossing franchises is 68%) and receive an average of 64 nominations and awards per movie. Avengers: Endgame,released in the spring, has won rave reviews and generated so much demand that online movie ticket retailers had to overhaul their systems to manage the number of requests.

6. What Happens When the CFO Is the COO, Too?
While the increase in CFO/COO duality and the resultant savings in C-suite salaries it has occasioned have been quite clear, the effects on companies’ operations and financial reporting remain unclear.

7. Oiling the Wheels of Change in Traditional Business: The Marico Story
The Masjid Bunder market in Mumbai is, on the best of days, a heaving cacophony of traders, handcarts and lorries weaving their way through snaking rows of shop houses and stalls selling everything from spices to grain and soils. For two years until 1992, it was also home to Marico, then a fledgling consumer products company founded in 1990 as an offshoot of Bombay Oil Industries, the traditional commodities business of the Mariwala family. Marico is now one of India’s leading companies with a turnover of INR74,370 million (US$1 billion) from 25 countries across Asia and Africa.

8. AI = Artificial Imagination?
or generations, scholars and art patrons have pondered the meaning of Mona Lisa’s smile. The mystery may have recently acquired new depth, thanks to digital animations created by Samsung’s AI researchers. Their video, viewed over one million times (and counting) on YouTube, shows the Mona Lisa realistically moving and talking. But this is no Hollywood CGI character created and controlled by human animators. It was achieved purely by AI – specifically, a deep neural network trained via image banks to recognise and replicate the relationships between “facial landmarks” across a range of expressions. The facial movements of the “Mona Lisa” were derived from videos of three human subjects.

9. Apple's Shock iPhone Cancellation Makes Sense
It has been a rough week for Apple. Hackers have exposed 1.4BN iPhones and iPads worldwide and 2020 iPhone leaks have made the upcoming 2019 upgrades look redundant. But hidden among them was a major iPhone cancellation, and it makes a lot of sense. 

10. Facebook Is Launching Its Own Digital Currency Called Libra. Here's Why You Should Pay Attention
Facebook announced this morning that it is getting into the digital currency game, launching a subsidiary called Calibra that will offer a digital wallet product to facilitate transactions with the new Libra currency. Along with the announcement is a white paper outlining the effort, as well as a series of big-name partners, in a move that could signal a step toward more widespread adoption of cryptocurrency by both users and merchants.