We have now made the decision to deliver this Forum fully online. We will be in touch with those who have registered to make the arrangements for accessing digital recordings of the speakers. These will be available within a fortnight for those who have registered.

  • ONLINE DELIVERY, New Zealand
  • 935.00 (plus GST) Members
  • 1,060.00 (plus GST) Non Members
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About this event


The 2020 Civic Financial Services Strategic Finance Forum contains a range of topics intended to focus on the finance function as a trusted advisor as opposed to a scorekeeper. We begin with the holy grail of the accountability world, the integrated report, with a presentation from a local authority that’s actually doing it and their advice on how you can implement in your own local authority.

We have two presentations on the finance function and business insight. Business insight isn’t just for the bigger councils – we have a case study from Tararua District on several initiatives they’ve undertaken.

One of the requests that attendees made at last year’s Forum was for more information on technological developments in the finance function. This year we have two case studies from councils that have incorporated robotics into their day to day operations – one metropolitan and one regional.

As always, there’s the annual updates on accounting, tax, legal, economic and SOLGM matters. Many of these are provided in interactive breakout sessions enabling you to customise your Forum programme to your needs and interests

There’s something for all of the finance team, whether your interests are in the production of the financial statements, funding policy, or utilising financial information and processes as a tool for business improvement.

Note: Claiming CPD Credits

Delegates at this Forum who are members of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ) may be able to claim credits towards meeting their Continuing Professional Development requirements. Delegates wishing to pursue this should provide CAANZ with the forum’s outline and confirmation of their attendance (which we can supply).

Day One - 26th March 2020

9.15am Mihi Whakatau
Representatives of Auckland Council

9.30am Integrated Reporting - The Auckland way
David Gurney, Manager Corporate and Local Board Performance, Auckland Council

Over the past couple of years, Auckland Council has been telling a clearer performance story in its Annual Reports. The Integrated Reporting framework has helped Auckland Council to knit Extended External Reporting, climate change, and legislative requirements, into a concise, easy understand story about how value is created for Auckland. Auckland Council is still in its first steps when it comes to, so this presentation provides a practical example of how to begin on the journey.

10.20am Economic Update 2020
Ganesh Nana, Principal Economist, BERL

Where’s the New Zealand economy heading in the short-medium term? What are the challenges and risks local authorities should be aware of?

11.10am Morning Tea

11.20am Demystifying Data Analytics - getting started and pitfalls to avoid
Hennie van der Watt, Partner, PwC and Dylan Hopkins, Senior Manager, PwC

An introduction to how data analytics and visualisation activities are becoming mainstream within all organisations, including;
- what we have learnt over the years from our analytics focused engagements
- how to get started on your analytics journey
- some examples of where analytics is useful and where it is not
- tips on building the right culture and mindset to get to most out of your investment
- where we see the next stage of data analytics

12.30pm Working smarter = Business Intelligence and Business Analytics. Really?
Raj Suppiah, Chief Financial Officer, Tararua District Council and Cameron McKay, Tararua District Council

There are countless ways to collect information and connect people; we were wanting something simpler and smarter. Tararua needed to find ways to better capture, aggregate and analyse the gigantic pool of internal and external data to lay the foundation for actionable, evidence-based strategies; we need to know what data will best provide the answers to the business questions and insights we seek.

The answer – let’s explore Business Intelligence and Business Analytics. Tararua’s presentation will talk about their journey, the pitfalls, the potential and where they see themselves in 3-5 years.

1.10pm Lunch

2.00pm Meet Rosie Jetson
Ken Renz, Chief Information Officer, Environment Canterbury

A presentation focussing on the practical application of robotics in a regional council.

2.40pm Marketplace of Information: Session One

Choose From:

A. What’s Happening With Local Government Funding
Raymond Horan, Chief Advisor, Society of Local Government Managers

The latest on the funding inquiry and other policy reviews in train that have implications for funding.

B. Taxing Issues - Taxation Update
Phil Fisher, PwC

The latest developments in tax including:

  • the content of the Inland Revenue risk reviews in the sector
  • the Inland Revenue views on the income tax treatment applied to local authorities and CCOs
  • the remedial change impacting on local authorities ability to claim donation deductions
  • the best approach to dealing with the tax issues that arise from natural disasters (such as fire, floods, earthquakes etc.)

C. Legal Update
Jonathan Salter, Partner, Simpson Grierson

The latest in legislation and other legal issues.

3.35pm Afternoon Tea

3.55pm Marketplace of Information: Session Two
A repeat of the sessions listed under the 2.40pm timeslot

4.50pm A Word from our Sponsor: Civic Financial Services
Ian Brown, Chief Executive, Civic Financial Services

5.20pm End of Day One

5.25pm The LGFA Networking Drinks

7.00pm The Civic Financial Services Dinner

Day Two - 27th March 2020

8.30am Welcome to Day Two

8.35am What's Coming Up?
Raymond Horan, Chief Adviser, Society of Local Government Managers

The latest on what’s going on within the Beltway, the latest that’s new and exciting from SOLGM and assorted other news that’s relevant for those working in the finance function.

9.05am Auckland Council and Robotics
Priya Mathur, Head of Automation and Data Governance, Auckland Council
Richard Varcoe, Business Systems and Intell Automation Manager, Auckland Council

An overview of Automation Centre of Excellence (COE) at Auckland Council highlighting the importance of having the right mix of business delivery and technology teams. Our learnings have helped us establish some best practices to provide best customer experience internally and to Aucklanders.

9.45am A Word from Our Sponsor: Ibis Information Systems
Representatives of Ibis Information Systems

10.15am Morning Tea

10.45am Marketplace of Information: Session Three

Andrea Reeves, Assistant Auditor General, Local Government, Office of the Auditor General
Hugh Jory, Sector Manager, Office of the Auditor General

Choose From:

A. Treasury Governance
Andrew Michl, Manager - Credit and Client Relations, Local Government Funding Agency

Andrew will present the results of research he’s done on effective governance of the treasury function. One for those bedding in new financial governance processes or looking at their treasury policies.

B. Audit Update
Representatives of the Office of the Auditor-General TBC

The annual update from the office including progress to the 2021 LTP audits, the key issues from the 2018/9 annual audits, and other matters that have arisen in the office’s current and recent work.

C. Accounting Standards Update
Anthony Heffernan, Director Accounting Standards, External Reporting Board

Annual update on local government reporting requirements. This session will provide an update from the External Reporting Board (XRB) on:

  • New accounting standards effective for 30 June 2020 year ends
  • Recently issues accounting standards and guidance
  • Feedback received on the XRB's Targeted Review of the New Zealand Accounting Standards Framework
  • Update on New Zealand Productivity Commission's recommendations concerning local government reporting

11.40am Marketplace of Information Session Four

A repeat running of the three sessions listed under the 10.45am timeslot.

12.35pm Lunch

1.20pm The Big Picture
Kevin Ramsay, Deputy Chair, SOLGM Business Performance Working Party
Diane Brandish, Head of Financial Management, Christchurch City Council

Martin Fletcher, Manager Corporate Finance, Marlborough District Council

And to finish for the year four CFOs talking about the major challenges in the local government sector, and how CFOSs might think about tackling them.

2.30pm Summing Up and Announcement of the Venue for the 2021 Forum

2.45pm Seminar Close


Ken Renz
Chief Information Officer, Environment Canterbury Read Profile
Dr Ganesh Nana
Research Director, BERL Read Profile
Raj Suppiah
Chief Financial Officer, Tararua District Council Read Profile
Raymond Horan
Chief Advisor, SOLGM Read Profile
Phil Fisher
Read Profile
Jonathan Salter
Partner, Simpson Grierson Read Profile
Ian Brown
Chief Executive, Civic Financial Services Read Profile
David Gurney
Manager, Corporate & Local Board Performance, Auckland Council Read Profile
Anthony Heffernan
Director Accounting Standards, External Reporting Board Read Profile
Hugh Jory
Sector Manager, Office of the Auditor-General Read Profile