Message From The Chair – September 2021

As spring arrives, many of us are still dealing with extended lockdowns and while we understand that they’re necessary, we are looking forward to meeting again in person.  On 2 September we held the fourth Board meeting for the year and, unfortunately, we were unable to hold the scheduled Members’ Dinner, however, I am pleased to report that a great deal has happened since the last meeting.

Webinars
This year we have held 17 online events and we have another 10 scheduled or in planning.  Upcoming webinars include:

  • 17 November – Climate Change Reporting
  • 24 November – G100 Board Meeting
  • 24 November – G100 Dinner Function (if no lockdowns EY is hosting this event in Melbourne)
  • 25 November – Continuous Control Monitoring
  • TBA November – Webinar with the Federal Opposition
  • 6 December – CFO Live (likely to be a hybrid event)

In addition, we are working on finalising:

  • A Non-Financial Reporting webinar.
  • A series of webinars on cybersecurity, ransom attacks, latest uses for the cloud with Oracle.

Working Groups
The five working groups are producing some excellent research and providing important information to members, particularly via webinars.  I would like to remind you that should you have members of your team you think would benefit from working on industry issues and working with their peers, we have opportunities available.  The following are key issues each working group is working on:

Future of the Profession

  • Digitisation of the finance function
  • Emerging skills gaps and reskilling
  • New technologies and leveraging data

Diversity & Inclusion

  • Examining the characteristics of diversity – not only focussing on gender
  • Research to identify and understand the barriers
  • Key drivers for diversity and inclusion, looking closely at companies who have implemented policies that are working

Taxation Reform

  • Corporate residency
  • Share scheme rules
  • Asset rollover relief

Sustainability

  • Sustainable finance roadmap for energy standards
  • Speed of transition to low emissions economy
  • Renewed work with A4S

External Reporting

  • Audit quality and rotation
  • Payment Times Reporting Scheme
  • Issues with Power Purchase Agreements

Political Engagement Day Canberra
As I have mentioned, we held our Annual Political Engagement Day in June.  The meetings with the six Cabinet Ministers, two Shadow Ministers and three Committee Chairs have already delivered benefits, as we have been asked for assistance and advice on employee share scheme implementation and the role of proxy advisers.

CFO Live Sydney
CFO Live has been launched and members are encouraged to attend on 6 December in Sydney with members of their teams.  As you know, CFO Live is held in association with the Australian Financial Review (AFR) and is the only event members are asked to pay to attend.  However, the AFR has arranged for a G100 Member discount, please refer the link attached for more details.

Climate Change Law and Governance
The G100 has been invited to participate in a conference on Climate Change Law and Governance to be held on 17 November in Sydney.  Terence Jeyaretnam, the Head of the G100 Sustainability Working Group will be representing the G100 on a panel discussing what sustainability issues companies will be required to report.  More details will be sent to members in coming weeks.

Inquiry into Treasury Laws Amendment Bill
As mentioned earlier, the share market disclosure laws will be permanently changed after the Federal Government’s share market disclosure reforms were passed by the Parliament on Monday 9 August.

As a result, companies and directors will be liable for continuous disclosure law breaches only where they have acted with ‘knowledge, recklessness or negligence’ in market sensitive updates. In the past, lawsuits only needed to prove companies and their officers failed to disclose information to the market, regardless of intention.

The Government has flagged that dealing with proxy advisers would be the next issue they would like us to consider, which we have agreed to do.

Employee Share Schemes
On Monday 23 August, the House of Representative Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue tabled its report on employee share schemes.  Our thanks to the G100 Taxation Reform Working Group for pursuing this issue.

Highlights of the report include:

  • removal of cessation of employment as a taxing point;
  • increase the $1,000 tax exempt scheme limit; and
  • removal of the 75% test for share awards to be eligible for a deferred taxing point.

We have been asked to have members write to the Treasurer to encourage the report’s recommendations to be implemented.  I would ask that you consider doing this as a priority as there is a view in the Department of the Treasury that this is not an issue to worry about.

Accounting for Power Purchase Agreements
Accounting for Power Purchase Agreements is an issue that the External Reporting Working Group has been working on as companies continue to evaluate their impact on the environment and strive to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.  As technology is evolving, and renewable energy is becoming more cost competitive, decarbonisation of electricity is considered an achievable goal.  The working group is looking at how the Accounting Standards need to evolve to ensure their application is not at odds with constructive sustainability changes and will make recommendations for the regulatory authorities and the Government to consider.  Further information will be provided in coming weeks.

As we consider our focus areas for 2022, we will soon be sending a short survey to members to understand what issues or opportunities you would like the G100 to focus on in the coming 12 months.  If you could please take 10 minutes to answer the survey it would assist greatly in ensuring that we meet members’ needs.

Kind regards

Janelle Hopkins
Chair
Group of 100 Inc
CFO REA Group Limited