Message from the Chair – May 2021

Message From The Chair – May 2021

26 May 2021

Dear Member

As we approach the mid-point of the year, I am pleased to report that the G100 has maintained the momentum of 2020, providing important information and insights for members through webinars, in-person events and advocating on your behalf on issues of concern and opportunity.

Already this year, we have held webinars on: Payment Times Reporting, The Journey to Finance Transformation, and the Rise of Social Responsibility, Performance and Disclosure.  We have held in-person events: the 2021 AGM, April Board meeting, and, The Importance of Mentally Healthy Workplaces which was part of the first in-person dinner and networking event hosted by PwC.  Earlier this week, we joined the Corporate Taxpayers Association in a post budget session.  The session looked at many of the measures announced in the budget and concluded with a panel session of CFOs, Andrew Porter (AFIC), Andrew Cartledge (Wisetech) and Ian Morrison (GrainCorp).  The panel discussed issued for CFOs and their teams.

I would like to draw your attention to some of the work going on and some of the key events:

Issues

The Payment Times Reporting Framework (PTR scheme).  As you know this scheme is in operation requiring large businesses with an annual total income of over $100m to report their payment terms and practices for their small business suppliers on a biannual basis.  We have held two information sessions on this with the CA ANZ and the Department managing the scheme.

As there are so many questions being raised by members about the scheme, we will be holding a major forum on how to manage the issues arising from the scheme which will be brought to us by Satori, leading Business Assurance experts.  The date is being finalised now and will be advised as soon as possible.  For more information on the scheme, please refer to the link here.

Inquiry into Treasury Laws Amendment (2021 Measures No.1) Bill 2021.  On 18 February 2021 the Senate referred the Treasury Laws Amendment (2021 Measures No.1) Bill 2021 to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 12 March 2021.

The Bill amends the Corporations Act 2001 and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 seeking to extend the temporary relief allowing companies to use electronic means to execute documents, hold meetings, provide notices relating to meetings and keep minutes until 16 September 2021.  It also seeks to amend the continuous disclosure and misleading and deceptive conduct provisions so that civil penalty proceedings commenced under those provisions must prove that an entity or officer acted with ‘knowledge, recklessness or negligence’ in respect of an alleged contravention.

As mentioned in my last communication to members, the G100 was invited to make a submission to the inquiry.  The submission was accepted by the Senate Economics References Committee and as a result the Group of 100 has been invited to appear before the Senate Committee to discuss the submission on 9 June when it sits in Melbourne.
AASC.  The quarterly meeting of the Accounting & Auditing Standing Committee (AASC) was recently held.  Great to catch up with representatives of the major accounting firms, ASIC, AASB, AUASB and Treasury to discuss current trends.  Some themes coming out were around the pace of recovery in the market and businesses focussed on growth.  This is being tempered by access to talent, both domestically and skilled resources from overseas.  The professional firms noted the challenges with resourcing being faced, and the importance of the profession and corporates to work together to ensure timelines are realistic whilst continuing to deliver high quality audit outcomes.

Other Issues.  We continue to work with Government on issues such as cutting red tape and taxation reform, amongst others.  I would like to remind members that if you have any issues of concern that you would like the Group of 100 to examine, to please contact us via the CEO, Stephen Woodhill, at swoodhill@group100.com.au or on 0413 318 455.

AGM April Board Meeting

The 2021 Board meeting was held on 14 April in Sydney.  The Board heard that despite the pandemic, the organisation’s pivot to online meetings and events had been very successful.  Membership had largely held during the pandemic and finances remained healthy.

I took the opportunity to thank retiring Board Members, Colin Pavlovich (Navitas), Vanessa Hudson (Qantas), and Julie Cleary (KPMG) for their contributions to the Board over the last twelve months.  I confirmed that Inder Singh (QBE), Alex Willcocks (Wesfarmers) and Daniel Camilleri (KPMG) had been elected to the Board, and I look forward to their contributions.

Following the AGM, the Board moved to the April Board Meeting.  Members were updated on the preparations for the Political Engagement Day in Canberra on 23 June, as well as the ongoing work being done on the Payment Times Reporting Framework, class actions, proxy holders and online meetings as well as events that were being planned.

The Board received papers from several G100 working groups and discussed issues arising from the Taxation Reform working group, again focussing on the importance of tax expertise for companies as well as work being done with the CTA.

The Future of the Profession working group outlined their approach to bring members up to speed on technological and other developments impacting the finance function.  The working group has begun its next series of online webinars discussing and debating options for the future.

The Sustainability working group has also begun their webinar series, more will be announced shortly dealing with non-financial reporting including reporting on social performance.  It was pleasing that the recent webinar, ‘Rise of Social Responsibility, Performance and Disclosure’ attracted 120 people.

The Diversity & Inclusion working group is now up and running and has two events in planning, these will be announced shortly.

The Board noted that Simon Cammell would be stepping down as the Head of the External Reporting working group, to be replaced by Adam Sofoulis of Wesfarmers.  The Chair thanked Simon for his contribution to the working group over a number of years.

If you have senior staff interested in any of our working groups, please contact the Secretariat on g100@group100.com.au.  As I have said, these are designed to enable CFOs’ senior managers to examine industry-wide issues of importance and widen their peer networks.

Events

Future of the Profession.  On Thursday 27 May, we will be holding a webinar on the Emerging Skills Gaps and Reskilling for the Finance Function.  This is the latest in the series looking at issues that the finance sector will need to confront.

Political Engagement Day.  The annual trip to Canberra will be held on 23 June.  The program of meetings is currently being locked in.  We are meeting with MPs in blocks of 20 minutes in Parliament House before a light lunch, we will then take in Question Time and finish the day with dinner.  Ministers who have confirmed include:

  • Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham – Minister for Finance (special guest and speaker at dinner);
  • Senator The Hon Jane Hume – Minster for Superannuation, Financial Services and the Digital Economy, Minister for Women’s Economic Security;
  • The Hon Paul Fletcher MP – Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts;
  • The Hon Michael Sukkar MP – Assistant Treasurer, Minister for Housing, Minister for Homelessness, Social and Community Housing;
  • The Hon Tony Smith MP – Speaker of the House of Representatives;
  • Mr Jason Falinski MP – Chair of the Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue;
  • Mr Tim Wilson MP – Chair of Standing Committee on Economics; and
  • Senator Andrew Bragg – Chair of Select Committee on Australia as a Technology and Finance Centre.

We are awaiting final confirmation from The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP – Treasurer, we are hoping he will be able to join us as well.

This is a marquee event in the G100 calendar, I would encourage members to consider attending, if you are unable to, please send a senior member of your team.

CFO Live.  The last event I would like to highlight is CFO Live which the G100 runs in association with the Australian Financial Review.  Despite the pandemic in 2020, and having half the attendees online, 300 people attended the all-day event held.  This year the event has now been confirmed for 28 October in Sydney.

Other events.  There are a series of other events including the annual reporting workshop with ASIC, connecting with the Federal Opposition online and a series of other webinars being finalised.  As these are locked in, we will advise members as quickly as possible.

A reminder that we would like to have your teams involved in the work we are undertaking.  If you have not done so, we encourage you to please send your team details to Louise Wardley at g100@group100.com.au to ensure they also receive important notices.

Again, I thank you for your ongoing support.  I look forward to meeting with members in-person once again.  Should you have any questions or issues you believe we should pursue, please contact our CEO Stephen Woodhill at swoodhill@group100.com.au or on +61 413 318 455.

Kind regards

Janelle Hopkins
Chair
Group of 100 Inc
CFO REA Group Limited