Finance flash: the TOP-10 articles of week 6, 2020

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. Achieving M&A success by letting start-up acquisitions be themselves
Giving acquisitions operating freedom, integrating slowly, harmonizing processes—as well as knowing when not to acquire in the first place—are all hallmarks of successful M&A strategy. Delivery Hero cofounder and CEO Niklas Östberg shares his M&A insights with McKinsey’s Philipp Hillenbrand.

2. Are You Asking Too Much of Your Chief Data Officer?
Since the first chief data officer was appointed at Capital One in 2002, the role has been plagued by confusion about its purpose. Although surveys of large organizations by Randy’s firm NewVantage Partners show an overall increase in the prevalence of the role — climbing from 12% in 2012 to 68% in 2018, and falling somewhat in 2019 — CDOs’ responsibilities have remained unclear. In the most recent survey, only 28% of respondents agreed that the role was “successful and established.”

3. More Companies Are Opting for Hedge Accounting
Early adopters of the new hedge accounting standard that took effect for public companies’ 2019 fiscal years drove an uptick in the use of hedge accounting in 2018, new research shows. Chatham Financial’s analysis of corporate hedging in 2018, the latest year for which hedging data can be compiled, indicates that 53% of U.S. public companies with commodities hedging programs applied hedge accounting to them.

4. Converting dates to and from US format in Excel
Working with a spreadsheet from a country where the date format differs from yours can cause real problems. Here’s how to solve them.

5. Key competencies for finance business partnering
As companies worldwide struggle with rapid geopolitical, demographic, technological, and competitive changes, finance business partnering offers an opportunity to create a strategic advantage.

6. Untangling Finance and Data
The Financial Education and Research Foundation discusses the myriad ways that poor data impacts the finance function with Steve Rivera Vice President, Global Technical Accounting Advisory Services & Policy at Johnson & Johnson.

7. The Force for Good Spectrum: Using Business as a Tool
The new generation of business leaders is more keen than ever to employ its skills not just for making money but also for making progress on critical issues like climate change and inequality. But the never-ending debates on whether to rely on the market mechanism or on deliberate efforts to create societal value can get very confusing. It is time to recognise the value of both approaches as different vehicles for impact, each with its own strengths and limitations.

8. Don’t Just Memorize Your Next Presentation — Know It Cold
The three judges beamed at me. Buoyed by their support, I anticipated winning this college elocution competition. I nailed the first verse of my chosen poem, but might as well have been under general anesthesia when trying to remember a single word of the second verse. Now the judges’ encouraging smiles only roiled my rising panic. Finally, the timer buzzed, ending my turn on stage and initiating a two-decade fear of memorization.

9. Agreement provides mobility for CPAs, South African accountants
US CPAs and South African chartered accountants have a pathway to have their credentials recognized in South Africa and the United States under a new agreement. mThis cross-border recognition was enabled when the AICPA signed a mutual recognition agreement with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).

10. 20 Years Ago, Bill Gates Made a Very Important Decision. Somehow, Almost Nobody Even Noticed
What do you think of when you think of Bill Gates? Maybe it's that he was the co-founder and original driving force behind Microsoft. Maybe it's that he's one of the wealthiest people on the planet. Maybe it's that he's among the most devoted philanthropists in modern history. Here's an idea, though: You could say there are actually two versions of Gates.