Accountants put people before numbers at CFO Symposium

There’s a joke (of sorts) that goes something like this: A CFO asks the CEO “What happens if we invest in developing our people and then they leave us?”. The CEO replies “What happens if we don’t, and they stay?”.

Judging by last week’s CFO Symposium held in Auckland, it’s a long way from reflecting the truth. Chartered Accounting firm William Buck Christmas Gouwland were naming rights sponsor at the symposium, and they used their opportunity to address nearly two hundred CFOs to talk about “Profit through People”. The numbers quoted were not financial figures, but research statistics on people performance.

CEB Global’s 2015 research into financial team performance revealed hard numbers around soft skills. According to CEB’s research, finance teams that invest in key, non-technical competencies are three times as likely to attract and retain the best talent. They’re also twice as likely to be highly productive.

Research on “employee engagement” is widespread.

Local research by IBM/Kenexa shows a very clear correlation between employee engagement, cost reductions and increased revenue.

Some sources estimate that engaged employees are up to 50% more productive and up to 30% better performers than disengaged team members. Engaged employees are signficantly more likely to stay in an organisation.
Kim Daji, HR Director of William Buck Christmas Gouwland, had a compelling message for the audience. “We are a team of accounting and finance professionals making engagement happen. Our journey began just three years ago, with an aspiration and a stronger focus on our people. We have seen our engagement scores rise from 17% to 38% in a short time. The promise of engagement – increased productivity, performance and retention – is real. And it is a possibility available to each and every team and workplace.”

Several speakers returned to the topic of engagement during the conference – an indication that New Zealand CFOs place equal importance on people as they do technical issues.

“This influential group of professionals understands that a focus on people is critical to success. Given their influence in organisations, this bodes well for our businesses,” says Daji.

For further information, please contact:
Kim Daji
Ph 09 366 5054
Kim.daji@williambuck.co.nz