Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 41, 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. Bias busters: Being objective about budgets
It has been another long, exhausting budget meeting. You reviewed the presentations, challenged every number, explored every assumption. In the end, you raised targets a little, but, if you’re honest, you have to admit it: next year’s targets are not very different from the ones the business units proposed at the beginning of the budget process, which, in turn, are not very different from the latest forecasts for this year. What happened?

2. How the Board Can Make the Most of Blockchain
Blockchain is a technology that enables secure transactions without the need for third-party verification. Data is distributed on a large number of computers. Participants in a blockchain confirm the blocks or transactions; “smart contracts” automate payments or data transfers based on pre-defined rules. Sectors that are fuelled by record keeping and verification, such as financial services, government and healthcare, have the potential to be transformed by blockchain…. 

3. Why People Aren’t Motivated to Address Climate Change
People are often highly motivated to avoid threats. If you are walking down a dark, isolated city street, you are vigilant for unexpected sights and sounds and probably pick up the pace to get back to a populated area as quickly as possible. If you step into the street and see a bus bearing down on you, you jump back. If a large unfamiliar dog is growling outside your front door, you stay inside.

4. Lessons from Early Lease Accounting Adopters
A recent PricewaterhouseCoopers survey found that only 1% of companies had completed adoption of the new lease accounting standard, ASC 842. The deadline is looming for public companies, which are required to apply the standard for annual reporting periods beginning after Dec. 15 of this year. (The measure takes effect for private companies one year later.)

5. 5 ways to take the initiative right now
It has been a long time since employees could simply carry out the tasks listed on their job descriptions and still be considered great performers. In today’s competitive work environment, financial managers are expected to be proactive and energetic, and to go above and beyond. That is, they take the initiative in determining how to do their jobs better, and how those around them can do the same, in the quest to improve processes and overall performance. FM magazine asked business coaches around the world for recommendations on how workers can be more proactive.

6. 6 Sure Habits That Will Make You an Unforgettable Boss Now or In the Future
If you envision yourself in a leadership role sometime in the future or currently find yourself managing people, there are certain unmistakable signs of exceptional leadership that stand out. The problem I see is that these hallmarks of human leadership that define progressive and profitable companies aren't exactly taught in business schools or modeled in corporate society. That leaves many with false ideas, perceptions, and assumptions attached to centuries-old management philosophies that no longer work.

7. Choosing the right path to growth
There are multiple paths to growth, and the most common growth characteristics among above-average growers often aren’t related to innovation. Significant as well, companies aspiring to the highest levels of growth need to sequence their initiatives carefully. Put differently: you probably can’t do everything at once.

8. The qualifications and qualities that CFOs and FDs must possess to get to the top
Finance directors and chief financial directors must first master the basics before they can assume their positions as financial leaders within their respective companies. Getting the quantitative skills and training help finance professionals launch their careers, but extraordinary abilities push exceptional candidates into regional and multinational roles. Here, Chrissy Chiu analyses the path to FD and CFO, specifically the qualifications and exceptional qualities that these high-level individuals possess.

9. 9 Productivity experts on how you can finally beat distractions and get everything done
No matter how much you love your work, it can still be difficult to direct 100%  of your attention toward your to-do list.  And there’s no one-tip-fits-all solution to becoming more productive. That’s why we talked to experts from new-age medicine to leadership coaches and nutritionists, to get advice on how to be more productive. Experiment with which method works best for you.

10. Leading agile transformation: The new capabilities leaders need to build 21st-century organizations
For many organizations, surviving and thriving in today’s environment depends on making a fundamental transformation to become more agile. Those making the transition successfully are achieving substantive performance and health improvements: enhanced growth, profitability, customer satisfaction, and employee engagement. More than any other factor, the key to a successful agile transformation is for leaders, particularly senior leaders, to develop substantially new mind-sets and capabilities.