Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 39, 2018


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. This Is the Number 1 Sign of High Intelligence, According to Jeff Bezos
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos sits atop one of the most successful companies of our time, not to mention a personal fortune of some $150 billion. I think we can all agree that by any meaningful definition the guy is pretty smart. It's also obvious he has a talent for surrounding himself with other smart people who can help make his vision reality. How does he find them? It's a question he addressed when he stopped by the Basecamp offices a few years ago, the company's founder, Jason Fried, reports on the Basecamp blog. And the answer Bezos gave was the exact opposite of what most folks would expect.

2. FP&A roles paving the route to CFO
According to Deloitte’s second-quarter 2018 CFO Signals report, the career journey to CFO doesn’t necessarily start with back-office finance and accounting. Overall, CFOs in North America were most likely to have previous experience in financial planning and analysis (FP&A) roles, as 47% of the 172 survey respondents held such positions.

3. Three Conditions for a Successful Life
Last week Jean-Claude Biver, president of the LVMH Watch Division, announced that he would be stepping down from daily running of the brands. I’ve worked with Biver, sharing his lessons about innovation and leadership with my students, and can attest that he is a rock star of the watch world. When asked to give career advice to soon-to-graduate MBA candidates, Biver described three essential conditions for a successful life, both at work and at home.

4. The Key to Career Growth: Surround Yourself with People Who Will Push You
When thinking about how to develop in our careers, most of us tend to focus on promotions, projects, courses, certifications. We seek out expanded roles, more senior titles, extra money. We overlook one very key piece of the learning puzzle:  proactively surrounding ourselves with people who will push us to succeed in unexpected ways and, in so doing, build genuinely rich, purposeful lives of growth, excellence, and impact.

5. Use these 5 sales tactics to overcome your fear of rejection
Sales is the one profession where rejection happens on a daily basis. The top salespeople know how to control their emotions, reduce resistance to requests, turn around objections, and–ultimately–skip past nos and get to yes. You, too, can learn to implement these strategies to develop a thick skin. Here’s how.

6. Special Report: The New Digital Workforce
As has been true since RPA’s birth a few years ago, it’s most commonly found in the back office, automating workflows like procure-to-pay, order-to-cash, and record-to-report. The common link among such processes and others suited to RPA: they are business-rules-based, non-subjective, repetitive tasks. Effective implementation can result in greater efficiency and productivity, fewer errors, and higher workforce productivity. But now robotic software appears ready to move to a more visible position in the enterprise: companies are increasingly applying it to core finance processes.

7. Management accountants to see 5% pay rise in 2019
CGMA designation holders across the world are expecting an average 5% salary increase over the period into early 2019 and an average bonus of 13% of their salary in companies that operate a bonus scheme. The current average annual salary for those with the CGMA designation in the UK is £63,000; in the US, $154,000; in Sri Lanka, LKR 2,263,000 ($13,350); and in South Africa, ZAR 884,000 ($61,880) (excluding any bonuses).

8. Keep your social media past from haunting you
Social media, a key part of the contemporary business landscape, has evolved over time. What started off as a simple way to communicate with friends and family has become an integral part of our social, professional, and economic lives. Professionals nurture networks and reputations while companies build brand and customer relationships on social media. However, it has also become a bludgeon. Executives risk losing their jobs or suffering reputational damage for social media missteps. For many, the damage has been swift and permanent.

9. Three factors driving finance transformation
Three developments have combined to accelerate the transformation of the finance function, according to a new survey of North American CFOs by Deloitte. Technology tools are continuing to evolve. Finance professionals are being asked to learn new skills, often related to such technology. And work is morphing into more project-oriented opportunities. One result for finance chiefs: the ability to manage large amounts of data and turn those data into insight for the business, said Sandy Cockrell, CPA, managing partner for Deloitte’s CFO programme.

10. Is It Time to Retire the Org Chart?
Say “organisation design” and (too) many people think of boxes and arrows arranged in a roughly pyramidal shape. Organisation charts are tools for organisation design, but we shouldn’t confuse them with the design. They offer a high-level summary of a part of the structure (i.e. what is officially mandated) of a part of the organisation (i.e. the top two or three layers). Organisation design involves creating a pattern of interactions amongst all its members that help accomplish the organisation’s goals, and org charts show such interactions only in a very coarse manner.

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