Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 3, 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. Have We Reached the Limit of Individualism?
The 19th century sociologist Ferdinand Tönnies is best remembered for the distinction he drew between two types of human groups. In the first one – called community or Gemeinschaft – social ties are defined on the basis of prized close relationships and the welfare of the group takes precedence over that of the individual. The second type, known as society or Gesellschaft, has a more impersonal nature, characterised by indirect interactions and formal roles…

2. Don’t Base Exec Bonuses on Subjective Criteria
Should bonuses paid to CEOs and CFOs be linked to qualitative performance criteria such as displaying strong leadership, mentoring other executives, and having a strategic vision? The answer is no, according to a recent study I conducted with my colleague Nancy Feng at Suffolk University. Our analysis of data for S&P 500 companies reveals that employee productivity, asset productivity, capital expenditures, and future stock returns are lower when the CEO’s bonus payment depends in part on qualitative criteria.

3. Digital transformation: The CFO’s role
In this episode of the Inside the Strategy Room podcast, senior partner Michael Bender sits down with Sean Brown to tease out the real meaning of digital-analytics transformations. They also talk through the role CFOs can take on to drive successful change efforts. (For more conversations on the strategy issues that matter, subscribe to the series on iTunes.)

4. 4 Management Tricks to Make Your Employees Immediately Like You
Back in my corporate days, I reported to a CEO of a technology consulting company who had a severe case of IBS. No, not that IBS. Invisible boss syndrome. He dwelled in the "safety" of his office for what seemed like 80 percent of the time. It was safe there because turnover had reached an astounding 60 percent (I know, I was the one who tracked exit interview data). 

5. UK CFOs react to Brexit deal defeat
The UK Parliament on Tuesday voted down Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal to exit the EU, leaving British businesses with even more uncertainty. May, who struck the deal with the EU in November, was expected to lose the vote by MPs in the House of Commons but not by such a wide margin. The deal was defeated by 230 votes. Her government survived a no-confidence vote the following day. CFO’s respond: "You can tear up the risk register because all bets are off."

6. Make working capital work harder for you
Companies can unlock value by managing working capital more effectively. Top performers are transforming the cash-conversion culture across the organisation and implementing advanced digital-analytics solutions.

7. 7 Golden Rules for ERP Implementations
A few years ago, I made the decision to leave a big multinational company and join a privately held mid-sized company. I joined as the CFO with expanded responsibilities that included overseeing HR and IT. One of the first initiatives I undertook was to understand the company’s IT infrastructure. I knew that if we wanted to grow rapidly and support the owner’s vision of tripling the size of the business in five years, we had to have the right IT infrastructure to support the growth.

8. The Innovations Closing Africa’s Electric Power Gap
Humanity has never before had such resources, knowledge, and technology at its disposal, yet it is a long way from translating those advances into decent lives for all the world’s people. We believe that innovation by businesses large and small can play a central role in closing that gap and solving the world’s challenges. Africa’s shortage of electric power is one of the greatest such challenges, and the push to electrify the continent provides inspiring examples of entrepreneurial solutions.

9. It’s Time for a Behavioural Revolution in Innovation
Innovations that provide incremental growth will always have a place in an organisation’s portfolio, but sustaining a business in the long term requires bigger, more meaningful, transformational thinking. Transformational change is about seeing a new, valuable future for your organisation and overcoming the barriers to creating it. Unfortunately, humans are wired to fear and resist change – a trait that is amplified in group settings.

10. Globalization in transition: The future of trade and value chains
Global value chains are being reshaped by rising demand and new industry capabilities in the developing world as well as a wave of new technologies. Even with trade tensions and tariffs dominating the headlines, important structural changes in the nature of globalisation have gone largely unnoticed. In Globalisation in transition: The future of trade and value chains, the McKinsey Global Institute analyses the dynamics of global value chains and finds structural shifts that have been hiding in plain sight.