Tell us a little about your career path
After the first few years working as an accountant I made the decision to build a broad commercial and strategic skill set and capability rather than defining what I thought my perfect job or ultimate career goal would be. I also never set any timeframes but took the opportunity to do many roles (even within the same organisation).
I started my career at Coopers & Lybrand in the undergraduate program whilst completing my accounting degree spending 10 years at PwC. After advising Flight Centre on the acquisition of a corporate travel business in the UK I joined the company and went onto spend 12 years at Flight Centre in Global Finance. I joined A.P Eagers Limited in July 2015 as the CFO and was appointed to the Board of Directors in March 2017.
What keeps you awake at night?
I am always thinking about what I need to execute over the next week, month or beyond in my role. It doesn’t keep me awake at night because it’s a continuous journey that will always have twists and speed bumps along the way.
Any career lows?
Probably not taking time off to enjoy the long service leave I built up in my last two roles.
How has the CFO role changed over the last decade?
The role of the modern CFO is continuously broadening from the traditional role of getting the numbers right, compliance and reporting. That is essential but a given. It has shifted to contributing to the development and execution of strategy. Our role is to deliver our insights, discipline, and deep knowledge of both the business and the industry sector to our organisation. Furthermore the digital revolution is forcing us to deliver innovative finance solutions to our business with real time reporting and analytics.
Do you believe technology will further disrupt the CFO role?
Digital disruption is at the forefront of discussions in many industries including automotive retailing. As CFOs we will need to continue to deepen and broaden our roles to navigate these opportunities and deliver commercial solutions to our operational partners. It is exciting times as the finance function becomes embedded in the operational success of our companies. We need to be agile, flexible and adaptable to continuous change. It becomes an everyday mindset rather than a planning process with set timeframes
FEI started its mentoring program in 2003, with six prominent chief financial officers mentoring aspiring young financial executives from outside their own companies. The program has grown significantly since then. In 2017/18 about 55 companies are involved, with 66 mentees in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Most of the mentors are the Group CFOs of major companies; in some cases they are divisional CFOs in the largest companies or former CFOs who are now CEOs, COOs, company directors or business unit heads. The companies represented include listed entities, the Australian operations of overseas listed companies, private companies and government-owned companies. Many have been FEI mentors for several years.
The mentees are nominated by a senior executive (normally the Group CFO) of a company that supports our membership and mentoring program. These companies are usually major companies in Australia.