Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 38, 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. This one counterintuitive practice could help you get more done
Deciding to prioritize one thing means, by definition, deciding not to prioritize something else. This is as self-evident as it is easy to ignore—which is why it’s important to be intentional about it. The alternative is trying to do everything, which defeats the whole purpose of setting priorities.

2. Is Working Remotely the Future of Finance?
The Ulta CFO was not the only finance chief singing the praises of his team in late summer, with pandemic shutdowns still in effect in some states. In the previous five months, in record numbers, finance professionals had worked on a distributed basis from their homes, using an array of technologies to keep businesses running; to assess the impact of the pandemic; and to stay on top of disclosures to investors, lenders, and regulators.

3. Finding a balance: Planning for reopening offices
Every organisation is going to be different in the response needed to get offices back open, depending upon who owns the building, the size of the office, and whether employees are likely to use public transport. Whatever the situation for your organisation, here are some key considerations for finance professionals to keep front of mind when weighing reopening the office.

4. Essential steps to prepare for business growth after a crisis
The coronavirus pandemic upended life as we knew it. What consumers want, how they buy it, and what businesses have to do to fulfil the demand has shifted in a few short months. The rapid shifts are likely to have consequences beyond the pandemic, according to research by McKinsey. A survey the business consultancy conducted in April 2020 found that 90% of executives polled expected fundamental changes in the way they do business for some time to come. That’s not necessarily a bad thing...

5. Are You Ready for the Quantum Computing Revolution?
Quantum computing and quantum communication could impact many sectors, including healthcare, energy, finance, security, and entertainment. Recent studies predict a multibillion-dollar quantum industry by 2030. However, significant practical challenges need to be overcome before this level of large-scale impact is achievable.

6. Managing cross-cultural diversity in finance
Developing effective cross-cultural relationships is essential for today's finance professionals. At a time when transformation is becoming a critical part of the CFO responsibilities, cross-cultural challenges can affect team performance and derail transformation programmes if not properly managed.

7. Deloitte Fined Record $19M Over Audit Failures
Concluding a years-long investigation, the U.K.’s accounting watchdog has fined Deloitte a record 15 million pounds ($19.4 million) for “serious and serial failures” in its audits of software firm Autonomy. The Financial Reporting Council’s investigation focused on Deloitte’s audits of Autonomy’s financial statements before the company was acquired for $11 billion by Hewlett-Packard in 2011.

8. How CFOs are Preparing for the Robot Revolution
Forward-looking CFOs have eliminated 40% or more of their team’s time managing manual finance processes. These modern leaders are continuing to weather the uncertain COVID-19 storm by changing the way their organization works. Recently, a survey of 250 CFOs was conducted by Tipalti and Censuswide regarding the current state of automation in finance departments. The results were compelling...

9. S&P Global CFO on flexible scenario planning
If you are CFO of one of the world’s largest financial information companies you might be expected to be innovative when it comes to delivering guidance. It’s no great surprise then that Ewout Steenbergen, CFO of S&P Global undertook the group’s first rolling forecast in April 2019.

10. For smarter decisions, empower your employees
As we’ve discussed in previous articles, not all decisions are created equal, and organizations should treat different types of decisions differently. We’ve written about the value of classifying decisions according to their frequency, risk, and importance and organized them into four broad categories...