Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 3, 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. CFOs Dealt With a Record Number of Activist Investors in 2019
A record 99 campaigns globally had an M&A-related thesis, accounting for about 47% of all the year's activity.

2. Climate risk and response: Physical hazards and socioeconomic impacts
How could Earth’s changing climate impact socioeconomic systems across the world in the next three decades? A yearlong, cross-disciplinary research effort at McKinsey & Company provides some answers. 

3. 3 Ways to Maintain Great Company Culture While Scaling Quickly
Here are three points every entrepreneur can employ to bring the focus back to company culture; making sure the people who make their work possible are happy and driven to come to work every day.

4. Why Are Companies Sitting on So Much Cash?
U.S. non-financial corporations are sitting on just over $4 trillion dollars in cash, according to the latest Flow of Funds estimates, up from $2.7 trillion a decade ago and just $1.6 trillion in 2000. The question is why, and what should executives learn from this massive growth in corporate cash holdings?

5. 5 Categories of Finance Competencies for 2020
The skills gaps that corporate finance leaders have been grappling with for some time will stand out even more in 2020 and beyond, according to Gartner. Based on a survey of more than 1,000 finance employees, Gartner has placed finance competencies into five categories, each one most ably performed by one of five distinct personas.

6. Start-ups: The Founding Team Is a Real Magic Bullet
When we consider great teams, the ties that bind them together are generally a blend of unique skills and shared experiences. Team members aren’t all necessarily from the same background, but at some moment in their lives, they are moulded by similar challenges. One forge for start-up talent is an elite unit of the Israeli Intelligence Corps, Unit 8200. Dubbed Israel’s secret start-up machine by Forbes, this group demands creativity from its members while they are under intense pressure.

7. Where AI Can Help Your Business (and Where It Can’t)
Machine learning, the latest incarnation of artificial intelligence (AI), works by detecting complex patterns in past data and using them to predict future data. Since almost all business decisions ultimately rely on predictions (about profits, employee performance, costs, regulation etc.) it would seem obvious that machine learning (ML) could be useful whenever “big” data are available to support business decisions. But that isn’t quite right.                                   

8. Quarterbacking Your Next Deal: What CFOs Need to Know
FEI Daily spoke to Fentress Seagroves, Deals Partner at PwC, to discuss what CFOs need to know about today’s deal market. Seagroves explained that the deal market will continue to favor sellers, even if an economic downturn occurs – due to the overabundance of capital and a scarcity of attractive investment targets.

9. Think and speak like a CFO to influence decisions
Over the years, when I gave talks on financial topics to management groups, some of the reactions of audience members showed they clearly didn’t grasp much of what they were hearing, perhaps because something in their minds said, “This is a foreign language. Don’t listen and it will go away.”

10. How Global Leaders Should Think About Solving Our Biggest Problems
The corporate social conscience will soon be on full display in Davos, Switzerland, where global leaders from business, government, and civil society will assemble on January 21 for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.