From Chair of the Group of 100
We have finished off the year, and my stint as Chair, in a manner that I think encapsulates what the Group of 100 (G100) exists to do.
The survey of CFOs concerning the “Finance Function of the Future” finished up, and we will look to build on this in the coming year by working with the universities, the Institutes and the wider profession to ensure that our teams are best placed to meet the needs of the current environment and to adapt to the challenges of the future.
The G100 was represented at the A4S Summit in London hosted by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales on 12 December. His Royal Highness was interested in work being done on sustainability in Australia.
We continued to meet with politicians from both sides to discuss issues of concern, including (but not limited to) tax reform and the problems with the interaction of the continuous disclosure requirements and the current class action regimes.
G100 CEO Stephen Woodhill and I appeared before the Parliamentary Joint Committee looking at audit regulation and argue against changes that would lead to more expense, increased inefficiencies and a heightening of risk. The groundwork in meeting with members of the Committee in advance proved useful, and it was good to hear the G100 submission quoted by Senator O’Neill to Allan Fels, describing it as one of the most persuasive arguments in favour of not splitting up the big 4. The transcript will be up on the website shortly.
The launch of the State Chapters in Western Australia (thanks to Alex Willcocks and Jason Clifton) and South Australia (thanks to Mark McNamara) were both great successes and will provide more opportunities for successful networking and information sharing amongst members. We look forward to the start of the Queensland one, under the direction of Craig Mitchell.
Other networking events continued in Melbourne with Sundaram and Civic and the excellent lunches hosted by Alistair Macrae at Russell Reynolds, plus others hosted by the Big 4. We also had our Annual Dinner at EY’s offices in Sydney, which was a great event, much enjoyed by all those who were there. It was a good opportunity to talk informally to many of those that we have to deal with in everyday life in more congenial surroundings – the ATO, Treasury, the AASB, the AUASB, AIRA etc.
Finally, I should mention our first CFO Live Event held with the AFR, our relaunched Congress. The coverage was what we hoped for, and I think it hit most if not all of the targets that we had set for participation, interest and opportunity to discuss important issues of the day. Thanks to all who attended – Stephen is always willing to hear feedback on what can be improved for next year.
Thanks to the great team led by Stephen Woodhill – Louise Wardley and Andreea Sfarlea. It has been a year of hard work, but I think it has been a successful one — also heartfelt thanks to all of the Board and Mark who served as Deputy.
A successful CFO should have a good succession plan. On that score at least I have hit my KPI, and I am delighted that Janelle Hopkins has agreed to take over as Chair in 2020. She represents a real step up in quality from the current Chair! Lawrie Tremaine and Martyn Roberts will be Deputy Chairs – my heartfelt thanks to them both.
Finally, my thanks to you all! The G100 is a membership organisation, and I have enjoyed my time with each of you. I hope to continue to see most of you, if not all the listed ones, as shareholders with my AFIC hat on. Thanks for your support, and a Happy Christmas and all the best for a safe and prosperous New Year.