Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 37, 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. Consistency sought in sustainability, corporate reporting through global effort
The movement towards a unified global approach to sustainability accounting standards and comprehensive corporate reporting took a step forward Friday with the support of leading global organisations.

2. What now? Decisive actions to emerge stronger in the next normal
As many business leaders return from a summer break that was far from normal, they may be asking themselves: What now? Over the past six months, they have reorganized supply chains, set up remote operations, and made tough financial decisions. But without a COVID-19 vaccine yet available, not much feels different, and the summer pause hasn’t done much to relieve fatigue.

3. CFOs are Becoming Strategists in These 3 Areas
While the Grant Thornton survey didn’t ask CFOs to identify specific activities, we’ve spoken to many finance leaders to gain an understanding about the ways their roles have evolved. Looking closer at the “strategist” role, several themes emerged. One is forecast scenario planning…. 

4. What the War Between Alibaba and Tencent Says About Strategy
When Alibaba Group went public on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on 18 September 2014, CEO Jack Ma said of the record-setting US$25 billion IPO: “What we raised today is not money, it's trust.” Six years on, investors remain loyal to the e-commerce giant – Alibaba’s stock is trading at four times its opening price on the NYSE. But the company’s faith in its future in the United States has been shaken by recent heightened tension between Washington and Beijing.

5. 5 Principles to Guide Adaptive Leadership
The Covid-19 pandemic is constantly evolving, with leaders facing unpredictability, imperfect information, multiple unknowns, and the need to identify responses quickly — all while recognizing the multi-dimensional (health-related, economic, social, political, cultural) nature of the crisis.

6. 6 Ways Business Intelligence Makes Better CFOs
CEOs and Boards are demanding more from the typical CFO, counting on them to offer insight, advice and strategy for the company. That’s why this role is in a perfect position to make the most of the data Business Intelligence can offer.

7. 7 simple ways to make meetings better (or not have them at all)
Meetings, am I right? As the world has adapted to remote life, there’s nothing quite as soul-sucking as seeing your calendar lined up with a day full of back-to-back Zoom meetings. Part of the dread is that you don’t even know if they’re going to be a good use of your time—or worse, you know they won’t be but still feel like you have to show your face.

8. How to Listen and Ask Questions for Effective Teamwork
At its most basic level, asking open-ended questions and listening to the responses helps surface risks earlier in a project. Edgar Schein, Professor Emeritus at the MIT Sloan School of Management, argues that lower-ranking employees often detect risks before more senior managers. Because of this, Schein says in his book Humble Inquiry, managers need to learn how to ask more and tell less. He argues that curiosity and humility are key ingredients for developing better questioning skills.

9. This Founder Is on the Front Lines of the Best (and Hardest) Growth Industry on the Planet
Marlow Hernandez's Cano Health was already a fast-growing business. Its trajectory is only going up, given the unfortunate spike in coronavirus cases across the country.

10. Carrefour CFO on crisis management
When Matthieu Malige joined Carrefour as CFO in 2017, he could reasonably claim to be familiar with the workings of the French retail giant. He had worked for what is one of the world’s largest retailers with 12,300 stores employing around 320,000 staff worldwide between 2003 and 2011, as CFO of its Belgian and then its French business – the largest national business delivering nearly half of the group’s revenues.