Eleven years ago I had the privilege of being elected to the presidency of the Association of Canadian Financial Officers. Last week I informed the ACFO Board of Directors that I won’t be seeking re-election to my position. My last act as President will be to chair the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in November, at which point I’ll turn the gavel over to my replacement.
It’s impossible to explain how much of an honour it has been to represent this group. The FI Community is full of inspiring and talented professionals who demonstrate an unwavering commitment to serving Canadians. Together we’ve faced many challenges over the years but I’ve always been able to advocate on behalf of all of you with the knowledge and confidence that what we do matters. It matters to our colleagues and it matters to Canadians.
As Finance Officers we seem to have a reputation for the love of numbers. And while I am not sure how real that is, I hope you’ll indulge me as I share a few of the numbers I’m the proudest of. We’ve grown our membership by 87% over the past 11 years. The net worth of the Association has increased by more than 300%. We’ve signed four collective agreements in the public service, consistently above pattern, and four more at NAV Canada.
Our community is known for its excellence and professionalism domestically and internationally. We have consistently been invited to appear before parliamentary committees in recent years. We have also been asked to appear in front of the United Nations and ILO in Geneva. We have become part of the growing international voice for fair taxation and anti-corruption. We have become equal partners with larger unions and associations where we hold seats at the decision-making table. All of this matters to our community in that without adequate funding it is that much more difficult to properly fund government services.
And all of this is possible because of what the FI Community has become.
Indeed, during my tenure, whenever faced with a difficult decision or challenge, I found the best course of action was to represent you in the manner you serve Canadians: with professionalism, integrity and pride. And so to borrow the words George Washington shared upon his retirement from his own presidency (one of greater historical importance, perhaps, but I’d argue I had more fun), I am far too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed errors but I carry with me the hope that this community will view them with indulgence and that after my years of service any faults are soon confined to oblivion.
I am proud of what we’ve built together, my friends, it won’t be easy to walk away. But the time is right. Our board of directors is united and strong and their work is supported by a talented and professional staff, all of whom share the same pride I feel in serving the FI Community. It has been a life-changing journey and I walk away with no regrets, only wonderful memories and the strong realization that I have been incredibly fortunate to have had this opportunity.
There will be more to say at the AGM. Until then, thank you, folks. It’s been an honour.
Milt Isaacs, CPA, CMA, CPFA
President, Association of Canadian Financial Officers