Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 44, 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. Tim Cook Just Revealed the Single Most Dangerous Thing About Technology Today. Here It Is in 1 Sentence
Apple CEO Tim Cook gave a powerful speech last week at a privacy conference in Brussels. He spoke about the wonders of technology. But his main focus was on the grave dangers with which mankind has been suddenly confronted. "Platforms and algorithms that promised to improve our lives can actually magnify our worst human tendencies," Cook stated. "Rogue actors and even governments have taken advantage of user trust to deepen divisions, incite violence, and even undermine our shared sense of what is true and what is false."

2. Two Characteristics of Digital World Conquerors
Many digital products seem destined to achieve global success. WhatsApp was started in 2009 on the basic premise that SMS could be sent through the internet rather than through telecom operators. By the end of 2013, WhatsApp claimed a global user base of 400 million. Facebook bought the company for $19 billion the next year. Likewise, Angry Birds was developed by the Finnish company Rovio in 2009. The game quickly reached two billion downloads, and Rovio’s 2017 revenues totalled close to 300 million euros.

3. These 3 Trendy Companies Have Perfected the Subscription Business Model
From razors to pet food, the subscription box business is still going strong. Ten subscription box companies and related services are among the fastest-growing private U.S. companies in 2018 and rank on the Inc. 5000. This is after Los Angeles-based subscription box for "geeks and gamers" Loot Crate took the No. 1 spot last year. The trendy business model has kept pace even as the market has become more fragmented. There are now more than 5,000 subscription-type businesses, according to Chris George, chairman of the board of the Subscription Trade Association.

4. Managers, make your meetings more productive by changing the physical layout
People love to complain about meetings. They’re often pointless, and attendees feel like there is always more important work they can do in its place. 71% of senior managers believe that meetings are unproductive and inefficient, according to a survey from Harvard Business Review. Another study from the University of Nebraska at Omaha found that Americans waste $37 billion a year attending meetings.

5. 5 Concepts That Will Help Your Team Be More Data-Driven
I’ve spent my career helping companies address their data and data quality opportunities. Overall, I rate progress as “slower than hoped.” While there are many contributing factors, one of the most important is the sheer lack of analytic talent, up and down the organization chart. In turn, this lack of talent makes it harder for companies to leverage their data, to take full advantage of their data scientists, and to get in front of data quality issues. Lack of talent breeds fear, exacerbating difficulties in adopting a data-driven culture. And so forth, in a vicious cycle.

6. 6 Signs That Clearly Prove You Are Meant to Lead People (According to New Research)
According to a new Randstad US study, 60 percent of employees say they have left a job or would leave over a bad boss. Perhaps even more of an an eyebrow-raiser, Randstad US found that "58 percent of workers say that they'd stay at jobs with lower salaries if that meant working for a great boss." That was a wake-up for me. To drill down further, I reached out to Jim Link, chief human resources officer at Randstad North America, to talk about tips for great leadership and a great workplace that may help reverse these trends.

7. 7 Ways to raise your kids to be good at their future jobs (no matter what they do)
Parenting is one of the most difficult roles there is, full of challenges, frustrations, and constant self-evaluation. Most parents try to raise healthy, happy, well-adjusted, functioning kids. Apart from teachers, parents have significant influence on their children. Their actions and teachings form a major part of what children will do with their lives upon becoming adults. To inspire and help children develop skills that are crucial to leadership in later life, there are a number of things that parents can do.

8. CHOOSE carefully with this Excel function
Accountants building financial models can select from several functions to track down data in a spreadsheet. In recent months we devoted three columns to examining the following choices: VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP, the combination of INDEX and MATCH, and LOOKUP. This month’s article looks at another similar function, one you can CHOOSE but often may not want to. CHOOSE is a function used in modelling but, perhaps, not as regularly as some others. CHOOSE is useful for noncontiguous references, as illustrated in the screenshot below.

9. Bridging the gap between sales and finance
In the one corner we have our CRO, or sales director, whose function invariably involves spending company money to attract new clients and customers to the business. And in the opposite corner, we have the CFO, finance director or financial controller, whose greatest responsibility is to keep a tight rein on spending. So how do we make sure that they aren’t arch rivals each fighting their own corner, but are colleagues working collectively to make their business successful?

10. CFOs Driving “Extreme Automation”
To enable the shift toward digital disruptors, Cloud technologies are providing CFOs with the ability to select best-in-class application solutions that provide real-time data insights and enable greater access to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning solutions. Cloud-based infrastructure provides a cost-efficient, scalable way to optimize the business by changing the consumption model and by supporting the standardization of processes, seamless integration, and enhanced data governance.

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