Over the last several months, the Group of 100’s National Executive has been looking closely at how we can best meet our purpose of “Today’s CFOs creating better businesses for Australia”. We have looked at how we are perceived and how we can work more effectively with our stakeholders.
Much of the work undertaken by the G100 has been effective over many years, however the National Executive believes that for too long the G100 has worked too much like a think tank, working hard on key issues and supplying solutions to government departments and regulatory agencies while keeping a low profile with many key stakeholders.
Led by EY, the National Executive has reaffirmed the G100 purpose of working to create better businesses for Australia but has instituted change in the way we do things. We are no longer ‘flying under the radar’, we are reaching out to stakeholders such as the Federal and State Governments, key government departments and regulatory agencies in order to develop new policy and/or improve existing policy.
The G100 will remain ‘apolitical’ and will not lean towards any party or particular politicians at the Federal or State level. We refer to Governments and Oppositions rather than to Parties to ensure that we are reaching out to all politicians as we work towards sound policy frameworks. The G100 has positioned itself in ‘the sensible centre’.
Already we have had some success working with politicians, departments and agencies on cutting red tape; getting a review of FBT, pushing for taxation reform, considering alternatives to state taxes such as payroll tax, pushing for a review of class actions, while assisting government as they examine the way allocations of shares are handled and modernising/harmonising business registries. These issues all have many angles and future newsletters will go into them in more detail.
The political engagement in recent months has been very effective. We continue to have regular meetings with key Federal Government Ministers, heads of departments and regulatory agencies. We held a very successful workshop in Canberra with the key Shadow Ministers working in the Treasury and Finance areas and are establishing stronger relationships with Canberra.
The G100 is ensuring that our message is more relevant to State members too. Our Federal system means that many issues of concern are State based such as payroll and sales taxes. To this end we held a function with the Premier of Western Australia for members and potential members to discuss issues of concern and to hear his thoughts on working more closely with business. Plans are being finalised for a major function in Queensland in October which will see members and potential members meet with State Government Ministers to discuss Queensland specific issues, more information on this will be sent to members in coming days.
We are working with other business associations more closely, combining our fire power for maximum effect where we share common interests.
We have begun working with the media more closely sharing our thoughts on issues such as proxy advisers, taxation reform, class actions and corporate governance reform. It is important that we maintain a healthy relationship with the media, but we will do so constructively not to push political messages or to seek publicity for the sake of it.
Move to an RAB
When first set up, the G100 was incorporated in Victoria. As we have looked to repurpose the organisation and engage more directly with stakeholders, the G100’s National Executive also looked at the structure of the organisation to see if it was the most appropriate.
On advice, the National Executive has decided that we should be registered with ASIC as a ‘Registered Australian Body’ rather than only with the Victorian Government. As a result, the G100 will be recognised by the Australian Government and authorised to operate in any State or Territory.
Following completion of the registration the National Executive will become a Board, those sitting on the National Executive will become Directors of the G100, the President will become Chair, and in the instance where there is a Deputy President they will become Deputy Chair.
With all the change, it was also decided to give the brand a fresh look. Rather than come up with a completely different logo, it was decided to modernise the existing one. The blue/black colour is more contemporary demonstrating change; the 100 is clearer as we strive to represent business through the efforts of 100 leading CFOs and senior financial executives. The three points of the triangle now represent our focus: building better businesses for Australia, working to deliver a more profitable and diverse economy for all Australians; and providing better training and personal growth opportunities as well as peer support for CFOs, senior finance executives and their teams.
Website and events
With enhanced activity, developing a higher profile and a new logo, it is also timely to overhaul our website and engage social media. Modern websites are hungry, they need to be fed regularly to stay fit and healthy. To stay relevant, a website needs content posted that encourages people to want to return to the site. Likewise, relevant social media posts should not only inform but engage while steering people back to our website.
The new website will not only have details of meetings, the deliberations of the working groups and G100 submissions to governments and agencies, it will also have details of peer networking lunches (conducted with Russell Reynolds & Associates), training opportunities such as the EY CFO First 100 Day Program, the bi-monthly National Executive dinners as well as details of political engagement and social events.
Social media channels will be used to highlight issues and remind members of forthcoming activity.
AGM and meeting the Opposition
While it is always a priority for business associations to meet with Governments in order to debate policy and regulations, it is important to also know the Opposition; the Opposition usually becomes the Government in time.
Prior to the G100’s AGM, briefings were held in Parliament House for G100 members by Opposition Shadow Members and leaders of Caucus committees. Each of the politicians spoke about their portfolio responsibilities for twenty minutes and then engaged with G100 members in question and answer sessions. It is hoped this will be a regular part of the Canberra National Executive AGM.
The G100 now has six working groups looking at policy, regulations and issues arising in specific areas. Each report their work to the National Executive, often they will undertake submissions to governments and/or agencies. While members sit on the working groups, many CFOs have members of their teams join the groups as they can provide development and networking opportunities while gaining experience working on business-wide issues.
While some of the working groups are made up solely of G100 member company executives, most are run in conjunction with other business associations that share common interests. While several have a sufficient number of participants, we are looking for more people to get involved.
The current working groups are –
Taxation Working Group
- This group is run with the Corporate Tax Association.
- The G100 convenor is Marc Lewis of Woodside.
- This working group has sufficient members.
External Reporting Working Group
- This group is made up of G100 members only.
- Simon Cammell of Australia Post is the convenor.
- This working group has sufficient members.
Capital Markets Working Group
- This group is run in conjunction with Australasian Investor Relations Association (AIRA).
- The convenor of this group is Chris Davis of Orica.
- This is a very new working group and only has a few G100 members, more G100 members are needed for this group.
Future of the Profession Working Group
- This new group is working with universities and accountancy bodies.
- Membership has not been finalised, the convenor is Kristin Stubbins, Partner at PwC.
Sustainability Working Group
- This working group is also new.
- It is run in conjunction with CPA Australia, CA ANZ and A4S (Accountants for Sustainability).
- The G100 convenor for this working group is Terrence Jeyaretnam from EY.
- The group has a series of ‘circles of practice’ that examine different aspects of sustainability and how CFO’s and their businesses can influence them.
- There are opportunities to become involved with this group.
Leadership and Diversity Working Group
- This working group was active until 12 months ago.
- We are trying to get it up and running again, this time working with the FEI.
- Members are asked to consider getting involved, or nominating members of their teams.
- Diversity in its many different forms will be examined to ensure CFOs have the tools they need to play the important leadership roles they have in their organisations.
There have been a number of submissions the G100 has contributed to Government enquiries. The most recent was on corporate governance, a copy of this is available on the website.
G100 has set up formal quarterly meetings with ASIC to ensure we are able to work together, share ideas and concerns. In the last month, the G100 arranged to hold briefings in Melbourne and Sydney where ASIC explained how they were viewing the reporting season and what they focus on in reports and why. We plan to make this an annual event as well as taking the briefings around the country.
2019 is the year for the next G100 Congress. While 2017 was very successful, we are taking this next Congress to another level. We plan to hold it in Melbourne in November. It will be run with a professional conference organisation. Speakers will be high profile discussing issues impacting the role of CFOs and finance teams. It will also include social activities.
The Congress will begin on Thursday 31 October with the Presidents Dinner, Congress sessions will then run all day Friday finishing with drinks. On Saturday 2 November, delegates and their partners will be invited to join the G100 at Derby Day at Flemington Racecourse, transport will be offered by ferry. More details about this event will be sent out towards the end of this year.
In conjunction with Aon and Wolters Kluwer we have a special opportunity for you, or your nominee, to engage with one of the leading global cyber security experts, Ed Stroz (ex FBI Special Agent Crime Squad) on “All Things Cyber” being held in Sydney on 30 August.
The G100 continues to look at opportunities for all members. Social functions offer the opportunity to mix with those we work with in a more relaxed environment. To this end the G100 has two events.
In Melbourne we have a function with the Melbourne Recital Centre Southbank. Members and their partners have been invited to attend a performance by James Morrison and his Academy Jazz Orchestra on Friday 7 September (at no cost). The evening will begin with canapés and drinks. An invitation was forwarded to members in mid-July. A similar opportunity is being finalised with the Sydney Recital Hall, invitations for that are due out in coming days.