Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 45, 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. New technology, new rules: Reimagining the modern finance workforce
Innovations in technology and management practice are creating new opportunities for the finance function to add value to the business. Here’s how finance teams will need to evolve to make the most of them. CFOs and their teams are increasingly expected to counsel business units on innovative approaches for creating value. They are also being asked to use sophisticated analytics to measure and manage organizational performance, so they can better support complex decisions and create more accountability across the company.

2. If You Want to Get Better at Something, Ask Yourself These Two Questions
It was the last race of the ski season. My son Daniel, 10 years old, was at the starting gate in his speed suit, helmet and goggles, waiting for the signal. “3… 2… 1…” The gate keeper called out and he was gone in a flash, pushing off his ski poles to gain momentum. One by one, each gate smacked to the ground when he brushed by. As he neared the end, he crouched into an aerodynamic tuck to shave a few milliseconds from his time. He crossed the finish line —48.37 seconds after the start — breathing hard. We cheered and gave him hugs. But he wasn’t smiling….

3. 3 Blockchain Questions to Ask Prior to Adoption
This article will not address all of the questions or ambiguity, but rather should serve as a conversation starter that can help work through three key issues: 1) whether blockchain as it currently stands is worthy of your time and investment; 2) if yes, what type of blockchain solutions work the best; and 3) what key considerations to keep in mind moving forward.

4. These 4 myths about the skills gap will hold your company back
When it comes to competing in the workplace of the future, 80% of executives are worried about the availability of key skills, according to PwC’s 21st CEO Survey. This fear has led companies to invest more resources in training and recruiting, but concerns about the skills gap won’t be resolved if you rely on outdated training methods and hiring expectations, says David Blake, coauthor of The Expertise Economy: How The Smartest Companies Use Learning To Engage, Compete, and Succeed.

5. Tips from a 15-year-old Excel spreadsheet champion
Does taking your Excel skills from basic formulas and PivotTables to expert status have to be an arduous process? Does Excel proficiency require a lifetime of practice, or are there shortcuts to mastering the program? Maybe Kevin Dimaculangan, a 15-year-old sophomore at Dunbar High School in Fort Myers, Florida, could serve as a role model for how financial professionals can teach themselves to become experts in Excel.

6. What Women on the Board Need to Know
I had the opportunity to sit down with two remarkable women and fellow INSEAD alumnae at the iW50 Summit in June to discuss where we had come from and our successful journeys to the board room. In addition to our experience at INSEAD, we have certain things in common but none of us have followed the traditional board director’s career path.

7. How the Inventor of the World Wide Web Plans to Rein In His Creation--and Google and Facebook Want to Help
Tim Berners-Lee, who built the world's first website over 29 years ago, is calling for governments, businesses, and citizens to work together to "protect the open web as a public good and a basic right for everyone." Channeling Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Berners-Lee said at Lisbon's Web Summit that he sees the rise of fake news, online harassment, and the use of your own personal information against you as the antithesis of what he intended with his creation.

8. How finance business partnering is key to value creation
The concept of finance business partnering, the idea of finance professionals working at the heart of divisions across an organisation, is nothing new. There are references to suggest that in some form this approach has been witnessed for almost a century. But what’s interesting is just how many finance leaders, across a broad set of sectors, now recognise the approach as being critical to long term value creation and retention for their organisations. Perhaps that’s due in part to the increasing influence of finance, through the rich insights finance professionals can extract from data that can provide vital strategic judgements.

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. The shifting shape of ethics: CFOs from around the world discuss ethics and the future.
Today’s global and highly competitive markets keep piling on the pressure on management accounting professionals striving to perform to the highest standards of ethics and transparency. We chatted with CFOs from different areas of the world who shared their thoughts on the challenges, changes, and future of ethics.