This past weekend I had the pleasure of interacting face to face with the whole Board, its advisors and key management.  Our far flung Board members (8 directors in 6 states) means our monthly board meetings are held by teleconference call. Meeting in person this past weekend, was critical for quality decision making as I believe decisions are improved by team work and human interaction.

The agenda for the weekend was busy. Each board member not only contributed to formulating the agenda but also played a part in its delivery, taking turns leading discussions and sessions. Having so much to get through was challenging, but it reflected the levels of enthusiasm and passion felt by all participants. It also reflects the workload required to transform our organisation to the next level. This is a challenge the Board and management relishes, but does not take lightly.

The agenda covered a careful balance of strategy, performance and risk and governance. This kind of agenda is considered best practice by organisations like the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AIDC).  It allowed us to continue building on the work completed since finalisation of the strategic, operational and financial plans.

The strategic plan is particularly important because it contains the FTA’s mission and vision i.e. the Association’s core purpose for being as well as its future direction.

FTA’s mission: to provide support and leadership for professionals in the finance and treasury community to enable success at all stages of their career.

FTA’s vision: to become the number one reference point for the finance and treasury community in Australia, South East Asia and the Pacific by 2020.

We plan to achieve our vision by:

  • Connecting: providing opportunities for members to meet and establish professional and social networks. Plus, keeping members up to date on all aspects of best practice within the profession.
  • Engaging: with government, regulators, professional and industry bodies, other associations and the wider community, conveying the views of members and key issues facing the profession
  • Developing: improving and promoting ongoing opportunities for the professional development of members. Providing or sponsoring seminars, conferences and other forums for continuing professional and technical education and training for members

OK, back to the weekend.  Below are a few examples of the activities we covered:

  • A review of the FTA’s performance against its strategic objectives i.e. those objectives designed to fulfil the FTA’s vision and mission
  • A key performance indicator (KPI) workshop
  • A review of strategic challenges facing the association for risk management purposes
  • A Board self-evaluation process

I wanted particularly to share with you the background of the board self-evaluation, as it’s a new concept for the FTA and one I hope will make the board stronger going forward.

Board self-evaluation is a tool to assist with overall Board effectiveness.  Board effectiveness is recommended by the AIDC as part of its ten principles and guidelines for not-for-profit (NFP) organisations. These ten principles provide a non-prescriptive framework designed to assist NFP organisations achieve good governance practice. Adoption of each principle by an organisation is recommended on an “as appropriate” basis, i.e. after considering its size, purpose, available resources etc.[1]

Regular board self-evaluation is designed to give meaningful feedback, assist improvement and help optimise Board performance.

How it worked for the FTA

The evaluation process was an incredibly useful exercise. It firstly helped affirm the Board and managements “to do list”.  It also resulted in tangible outcomes for future Board agenda setting and meeting structures, helping maximise the Association’s limited resources (including volunteer and management time). The Board have agreed to make this an annual process and to extend assessments next year to include evaluations of individual directors.

I hope this gives you some sense of the activity occurring at Board level. The Board, along with your CEO, Peter Chapman, are also keen to make the best use of our member base’s expertise. There’s been much discussion about the member committees, such as the Technical Committee and state chapters, that assist the Association in shaping relevant professional development, advocacy and networking. We have plans to provide more structure and support to these committees and also to the events and material they develop and produce.

But more on that in future editions of the newsletter…until then…take care.

Mike Christensen FFTP
FTA President