Message From The Chair – December 2020
15 December 2020
It goes without saying that 2020 has been like no other. Like you, I have experienced unusual and challenging working conditions this year: working from home, coping with lockdowns, working with a houseful of people and managing multiple online meeting technologies … that worked, for the most part.
I am very pleased that the Group of 100 pivoted the way it did, not only staying relevant, but pushing issues and often showing the way during 2020. We offered access to vital information, met more often (virtually), we held more briefings and hosted more discussions with key stakeholders, we welcomed new members and reached more people than ever before.
Ahead of reviewing some of the activities of this year, and what we are proposing next year, I would like to thank you for staying the course with us, for getting involved and allowing more members of your teams to get involved in ways we have not offered in the past. In short, we learnt to adapt quickly and as a result are in a stronger position.
This year our pivot saw us hold 23 events (20 online) including: 10 webinars, three virtual issues lunches, five Board meetings, two strategy sessions, two face-to-face breakfasts in South Australia, and our AGM.
The webinars enabled us to reach CFOs and their teams more easily across Australia. We covered issues that were critical due to the disruption of the pandemic including reporting issues in a COVID-19 world; the increased cyber risks; non-financial reporting with a focus on the emerging sustainability reporting frameworks; the Federal budget; debating issues with key politicians; and our marquee event, CFO Live, held in association with the Australian Financial Review.
It is gratifying that we were able to hold some of these events with organisations with which we have good working relationships such as the CA ANZ, Russell Reynolds, and the Australian Financial Review. Several of these functions were attended by over 200 participants which was pleasing considering the work demands everyone faced this year.
The G100 Board held a strategy session early in December and modified the strategy in two important ways:
First, we will focus on ‘enabling’ leading CFOs to create better businesses for tomorrow. This subtle shift will ensure the issues we take on are those that directly impact the work of the CFO, the CFO’s team and their organisations.
Second, we will take a renewed focus on diversity and inclusion. Our finance sector is leading the way in many areas such as reporting, class actions and cutting red tape. While the Group of 100 is committed to preparing people to work in finance, we lag behind many sectors in diversity, for example, of the ASX200 companies there are just 19 female CFOs.
Diversity & Inclusion will be an important focus area under our Fostering the CFOs of Tomorrow pillar, the other two pillars being Vibrant CFO Network and Shaping Business Outcomes. We will be working closely with key stakeholders to ensure we are offering the right opportunities and training for those who wish to aspire to be a CFO. We hope you will support this initiative as it is rolled out.
We will, of course, continue to take on the issues coming at us, such as reporting frameworks; data; cyber-security; business process technology; class actions; advocating for online AGMs; and much more.
The Board believe that in 2021 there will be five big focus areas for CFOs and their teams, and we will ensure our events cover these throughout the year, being:
- Non-financial reporting frameworks, ESG in particular;
- Dealing with data;
- Future of the Profession; and
- Use of technology for improving business processes (particularly allocating capital and optimising finance functions).
As a result of the success of the webinar series, next year we will move to hold many events as hybrids – people will have the option to attend virtually or in-person. We will re-introduce the traditional dinner functions for CFOs, with guest speakers that will allow the important networking opportunities. We will introduce a series of ‘lunch & learn’ briefings and discussion sessions that will deal with issues important to the sector as well as continuing to advocate on the issues that members believe are critical.
The G100 is ‘enabling leading CFOs to create better businesses for tomorrow’. In order to get the most from membership we encourage members to attend the CFO only events, take the opportunity to network and hear from key leaders. We also encourage CFOs to include members of their teams to attend online briefings and discussions and to join one of our 6 working groups, being:
- Tax Reform;
- External Reporting;
- Future of the Finance Profession;
- Capital Markets; and
- Diversity and Inclusion.
The working groups continue to advise the G100 Board looking at issues of concern to the sector. The working groups also give members’ key team members the opportunity to work on industry-wide issues as well as enabling them to establish their own peer networks.
Several members have asked that we include their senior staff in G100 notices and newsletters so they too can see what the G100 is working on. If you would like members of your teams included, please email their details to Louise Wardley at the G100 Secretariat firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Membership subscription for 2021 can be downloaded here. Please note that the subscription has been retained at $8,800 (including GST).
Subscriptions may be paid either by electronic funds transfer direct into the Group of 100 bank account or paid securely online on the G100 website using either Visa or MasterCard.
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The Board and I hope to see you and members of your team at our events, functions, trips and on webinars, but most of all we hope you get to take a break and get a chance to recharge ready for an improved 2021.
Chair of Group of 100
CFO of REA Group