Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 43, 2019

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. Investors Want a Clear Story on CECL. Are CFOs Ready to Tell It?
Financial and non-financial institutions alike are nearing adoption of the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s new Current Expected Credit Loss (CECL) standard, which will take effect at the beginning of the next fiscal year for most public companies.

2. Are Venture Capitalists Hopelessly Biased, or Deceptively Rational?
No matter how rational we may claim or want to be, no human being is entirely free of bias. The challenge is to be aware of one’s own bias – or, failing that, to design processes that mitigate bias – so that objective considerations can prevail. This challenge becomes especially pertinent in a field such as venture capital, where intrinsic uncertainty renders decision makers particularly prone to irrational influences.

3. If You’re Feeling Drained, Here’s Why
When I ran into Dirk, a banking CEO whom I had known for some time, I asked him why he looked so down. After a short silence, he responded with an avalanche of words. He had been feeling exhausted. At work, he had too many meetings, often with people he didn’t like. Given his position, Dirk felt his only option was to masquerade as a positive person. But it wore him out. He was also suffering from insomnia and the little sleep he managed to get was filled with nightmares. Clearly, Dirk wasn’t in very good mental shape.

4. The innovation commitment
Seven years ago, we unveiled research highlighting the existence of innovation’s eight “essentials”—a collection of attributes and behaviors that appeared to underpin superior innovation performance.1 Since then, we’ve validated the essentials through further research and seen them in action at hundreds of companies. 

5. Netflix Co-Founder Says Entrepreneurs Should Constantly Remind Themselves That 'Nobody Knows Anything'
When Marc Randolph came up with the idea for Netflix, the first reaction he received from dozens of people--including his wife--was "that will never work." In Randolph's new book, That Will Never Work: The Birth of Netflix and the Amazing Life of an Idea, he says that every entrepreneur has the same experience he did. They land on an idea, run downstairs to tell their spouse or kids, or run it by their boss or professors. And they nearly all get the same response: "That will never work."

6. Real-time data visibility for CFOs
The CFO’s role is constantly evolving. They need to be strategic whilst delivering on traditional responsibilities. One way to achieve this is to embrace technology in financial planning. CFOs are yielding insights from continually enriched data sets and contemporary technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and robotic process automation (RPA). But the best way to truly move finance from a transactional function to a strategic one will be to coordinate these efforts to create real-time visibility.

7. Risk For CFO's: Avoiding the Hazards
Like the cruelest golf course, the business field is strewn with hazards. Where hitting it into the rough, a sand trap, or the water results in a ruined hole – shanking it in business is far more costly. FEI Daily speaks with Thomas Bock, Executive Managing Director and leader of K2 Intelligence's Regulatory Compliance practice, on what financial executives need to know to hit the fairway and stay out of the hazards.

8. How to stop fear from driving your decision-making process
When I turned down a role at McKinsey & Company to start Flyhomes with my cofounder Steve Lane, I confronted a looming fear of failure. I asked myself, what if I fail as an entrepreneur and derail my career trajectory? I knew there were no guarantees.

9. RPA helps “close the gap,” says Nielsen’s Oleg Royz
The growth of robotic process automation (RPA) has risen steadily throughout the last five years, with multinational companies showcasing its potential and value. One of these companies, Nielsen, the American information, data and measurement firm, has found widespread success with its RPA use in its financial sector. With a presence in over 100 countries, operating in more than 30 different business functions, the data company has noted robot-led success across multiple disciplines.

10. 10 reasons why deals disappoint
In today's competitive mergers-and-acquisitions market, where valuations are high and interest rates are low, finance has to move faster than ever. Dealmakers — including finance leaders — must address IT, corporate culture, hidden costs, and cross-border rules, to name a few, and inevitably, something slips through the cracks.