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The CFO as Strategist 

Date to be determined for 2015

What’s the number one future role CEO’s and Boards expect from their CFO’s? According to a study by Queen’s University, it’s their role as Strategist, including the competencies of strategic thinking, decision‐making and critical thinking. 

While the CEO is often seen as the visionary and figurehead of a company’s strategy, it is often left to the CFO and Executive team to understand and execute the vision, as well as knowledgeably provide feedback to the Board and continuously reassess the strategy.

Strategy isn’t just about having a vision or direction or planning (though these are important). It’s also about delivery. The nuts and bolts of how to move from strategic plan to strategic implementation is often overlooked, but is often the primary role of the CFO.

Program Description (+)
The Queen’s study noted that "The Strategist focuses on defining the future of the company to enhance business performance and shareholder value. The Strategist provides a financial perspective on innovation and profitable growth, and leverages this perspective to improve risk‐awareness, strategic decision‐making and performance management integration. The Strategist translates the expectations of the capital markets into internal business imperatives. This role is oriented toward long‐term strategic issues, and is outwardly directed." Those who are successful - through generating bottom line results, improved market share, reinventing the corporate culture, and/or strengthening brand – move to the top echelons of their organizations. Reacting to everyday demands and crises often leaves little time to continuously evaluate your organization’s strategy. This cutting-edge residential program provides you with a rare opportunity to step away from the pressures of work to join a group of peers and focus on what you and your organization need to do to excel in today’s competitive business environment.
Who Should Attend (+)
Are you your organization’s Chief Strategy Officer? Are you a leader in your strategic planning process? Are you looking to begin a ‘real’ strategic planning process within your current culture? Are you looking for feedback on your current strategies from a group of peers? Are you a CFO looking to clarify your role in the strategic direction of your company? If so, then this program was created with you in mind.
Curriculum (+)
Over the course of three plus days, you will develop advanced competency levels from practical application and best practices. The course is designed to start with understanding ‘What is strategy?’ and move your competency level through a journey to achieve a level of mastery of the process. Learning comes from sharing with your peers, detailed real life case examples, tools and the ability to relate all of this to your specific situation.

The Roles of the CEO and CFO

  • What is expected of me
  • CFO’s role in the process – the Chief Strategist


Why most strategic planning fails

  • Strategy the most overused business term
  • Understanding the difference between a strategy and resource allocation process
  • Adjusting strategies for different environments
  • Different models for different situations
  • The importance of a Strategic Business Process


Stakeholders – A potential constraint

  • Who are my stakeholders and why do I care about them?
  • Relationship mapping – A tool that bring all stakeholders into focus
  • Responsible for stakeholder relations – a critical selection?


Risk Management – a Strategic Constraint

  • What is risk?
  • Understand the different types of risk
  • Who should be involved in the analysis of risk?
  • Who should be responsible?
  • Linking risk management with strategy


Politics and the Board – an important consideration

  • Board of Directors Requirements
  • Understand the politics of your organization
  • Creating an effective strategy that will survive the political process

Keeping it Current: Fostering continuous innovation – a key to growth

  • How to encourage continuous innovation as a strategy
  • How to implement a program within your firm
  • Where to improve your process
  • What is strategic agility?
  • Tools to let you know when your strategy needs to change
  • Techniques to learn from all levels of the organization
  • What feedback mechanisms are critical to success?


Getting everyone behind the strategy

  • Where the rubber meets the road - understanding Leadership
  • Best practices for successfully implementing any strategy


A Master Strategist – A continuous journey

  • The role of a Champion
  • Your action plan
Dates and Times (+)

This program ran in August 2014. 

Timing for 2015 has not yet been determined. Please contact Lawrence Wong at to be contacted when dates have been finalized for this program.

Registration and Fees (+)
 Full package (program fees, meals and accommodations) - RecommendedDay package (program fees and meals only, accommodations not included)**
Members and CPAs$3,450$2,950

*Please note: A limited number of program spots are available to those who do not wish to have accommodations. As there may be evening activities (group work and/or networking opportunities), this option is recommended only for those who reside nearby.

Facilities (+)

The CFO as Strategist program will be held at the White Oaks Conference Resort & Spa, a premium, four diamond, five-star resort that has achieved a reputation for outstanding comfort, service and atmosphere to ensure a memorable learning and retreat experience for all executives who attend.

Program fees include meals, accommodations*, wi-fi access, use of basic fitness facilities, and a hospitality room for evening networking opportunities.

*Excluding registrants who have selected the non-accommodation option.

Getting There:

From Pearson or Buffalo airports:

The Niagara Airbus offers Shuttle Transfers to and from Toronto’s Pearson and Buffalo Niagara’s International Airports and can drop you off right at the facility front doors. If you book on-line you can get a 10% discount for Airport transfers. The Niagara Airbus website is

Another option is the Falls Livery & Taxi. They can offer private cars for transport to and from the airport as well. They can be reached at 905-356-4500.

From Toronto:

Average time to drive from Toronto to the Resort is an hour and a half*. Click here for a Google Map and directions.

*Please note that these directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, weather, or other events may cause conditions to differ from the map results, and you should plan your route accordingly.)

CPD Information (+)
Subject to CPA Ontario regulations, Members may count up to 25 hours of verifiable CPD for the completion of The CFO as Strategist.
Testimonials (+)

Our alumni include participants from: GE Canada, TVO, Starbucks Coffee Canada, ATB Investor Services, Durham Regional Police Services, Waterfront Toronto, International Association of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Grant Thornton LLP, Research in Motion Ltd., Hamilton Tigers Football Club, Algorithmics Incorporated, Synnex Canada Limited, Magna International, and others.

Here is what some alumni had to say about The CFO as Strategist:

  • Larry is a wonderful facilitator - great material - knowledgeable, helpful, addresses specific attendees issues - is fantastic.
  • Good to get fresh ideas, sit back and reflect on what others are doing.
  • The networking is incredible at these sessions and I will use this tool belt of strategies for a very long time.
  • We are struggling with strategic planning and this has provided me with some take-away tools/framework for making some strategic planning decisions.
  • The program gave me confidence that you don't have to be a visionary to add value to strategy.
  • I think it will allow me to set up a framework that has not existed in the past. Planning will make us more effective as a company.
  • Definitely can make a difference.
Faculty (+)
Larry Ginsberg, FCPA, FCA is the President of GinsOrg International Inc., a management consulting firm. GinsOrg’s mission is “Helping People Achieve Their Dreams”®. Larry works with Directors and senior officers of various Canadian companies to provide strategic advice and counsel. He also lectures at the Schulich School of Business at York University in strategic management, family business and entrepreneurship. He is author of four books on entrepreneurship and appears in the media to provide insight into various business issues. Larry is a Corporate Director and has been EVP and/or CFO of a number of companies. In addition, Larry is an Exempt Market Dealer and has provided assistance in a number of mergers, acquisitions, financings, and sale of businesses.
Contact Us
For more information please contact Lawrence Wong, CPA, CA, at the CPA Ontario, at: 1-800-387-0735 ext. 4343, or at