Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 4, 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. Infographic: How Trust Delivers Value in Data, Analytics, & AI
“Data, Analytics, & AI: How Trust Delivers Value,” the 2019 global report from MIT SMR Connections and SAS, explores how organisations are delivering more value with AI and analytics by building foundations of trust. The most mature practitioners are more likely to actively build trust in data, attend to customers’ trust in privacy and security measures, and foster cultures of trust in data-driven innovation.

2. The Most Pressing Business Risk This Year
What business risk do executives and insurance industry experts worldwide fear most? For the seventh year in a row, it’s business interruption (BI), according to the 2019 Allianz Risk Barometer for 2019. Some 37 percent of respondents to a survey of 2,415 experts from 86 countries, including CEOs, risk managers, brokers, and insurance experts, chose BI as the top threat for businesses worldwide.

3. Is Your Company’s Strategy Aligned with Your Ownership Model?
When Vanguard founder John Bogle died last week, industry commentators were quick to point to the profound influence he had on the mutual fund industry. Realising that most fund managers cannot outperform broad market trends over time, Bogle popularised index funds, which essentially track the market’s ups and downs. That observation led to a catalytic change in the industry. But it may not have been his most inspired insight. As the New York Times points out, “Vanguard’s advantage came from the unusual corporate structure that Mr Bogle adopted.”

4. The Real Business Case for Quantum Computing
Internet security could soon have a new enemy: quantum computers. Such computers will be able to break existing encryption algorithms, removing protection for data exchanged over the Internet. Those who build quantum computers will make a lot of money. These statements make appealing headlines. However, we must exercise caution when thinking about real-world implications of quantum computing.

5. How to Deal With the 5 Stages of Business Distress
Economic headwinds are building on the horizon: from increasing interest rates to rising labor costs and virtual full employment; from a slowing global economy to the continuing trade dispute with China. This article discusses five stages of business distress and the challenges they present for company management.

6. Six lessons on how to embrace the next-generation operating model
Companies that hope to compete in the digital world are coming to see that it requires a fundamentally new way of working. On the customer-experience side, digital natives have raised the bar considerably; for example, banks today benchmark their websites and apps against companies such as Amazon and Uber. Internally, despite big investments in digitisation, process redesign, and automation, the efficiency ratio at most large companies has stalled. Their improvement initiatives reside in different pockets, such as a digital factory or automation center of excellence, and are seldom integrated.

7. 7 ways to use emotional intelligence to beat procrastination
We have all been there: You know you should be working on a project but it feels impossible to shut out distractions. Next thing you know, you’ve lost most of the afternoon. There are, however, simple habits you can form that will help you to get the upper hand on procrastination. Here are 7 ways to tap into your emotions to beat procrastination:

8. Use this Excel tool to guide spreadsheet users
Sometimes when you build an Excel model, you want to “guide” what an end user may enter in a particular cell (eg, choose a day of the week, a month of the year, on/off, member/nonmember). You can achieve this in various ways. One very easy approach is to use data validation, which few modellers seem to know. This article will shed some light on data validation.

9. The Traditional Job Interview Is Dead. Here's What Top Companies Are Doing Instead
You've heard the definition of insanity, right? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Yet here we are in 2019, still interviewing like it was 1989. They'll ask questions like "Why should I hire you?" and "What are your strengths and weaknesses?" then base their hiring decisions on a hunch. To upgrade one's interview skills on the employer side, here are several techniques that will protect a company from potential bad hires.

10. Lessons from the front line of corporate nudging
If you’re serious about setting up a behavioral-science team or a nudge unit, as we’ll more colloquially refer to it in this article you need to ask yourself some tough questions, such as what it should do, where it should sit, how you’ll know it’s succeeding, and whether you’re ready for the ethical tensions it may raise.