Money & Mission

Volume VIII, Issue 5 - December 6, 2017

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Editorial: What Do You Want to be Remembered for?

Noted management writer Peter Drucker tells how, when he was a 13-year-old in a boys’ school in Austria, they had a teacher of religion, Father Pflieger, who asked each student in the class “What do you want to be remembered for?” None could give an answer to the question, and the teacher said that was what he expected “but if you still can’t answer it by the time you’re fifty, you will have wasted your life.”

At the fiftieth reunion of the class one of the former students referred to that question; all remembered it, and each said it had made a great difference to him. As Drucker points out, it is a question that “.. induces you to renew yourself, because it pushes you to see yourself as a different person – the person you can become. If you are fortunate, someone with the moral authority of a Father Pflieger will ask you that question early enough in your life that you will continue to ask it as you go through life.” (From Managing the Non-Profit Organization, page 201)

No one is too old to benefit from asking that question. Will some of us include our service to The Salvation Army among the activities and achievements for which we would want to be remembered? At this time of the year, when people are starting to think about new year’s resolutions, are there things we should strive to do better in 2018 that will make our lives more memorable?

Transforming the Way We Work

By Paul Goodyear, Financial Secretary

Recently, visitors to THQ have noticed the dramatic change in the finance department’s workspace.

As the size of the department has grown in the last three years to accommodate the remaining 100+ ministry units whose accounting was being brought into the department, the integration of the National Recycling Operations accounting group and the creation of the Ultipro HRIS implementation team, we faced a space shortage.

We acquired some additional space when the property department agreed to be relocated, but there was still insufficient space for everyone using our traditional approach to workspace design.

Innovation is sometimes born of necessity and that is certainly true in this case. We needed to be innovative in order to avoid having to find additional space in another building.

The fourth floor of the THQ building occupied by the finance department was originally designed to house about 40 people. Today, we have over 100. This has been made possible by taking a completely new approach. Here are the key features:

  • Fewer walls and dividers. The floor plan is much more open with more natural light and, in spite of the increased number of people, it feels as though we have more space.

  • Flexible working arrangements. While the normal office hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., you will find staff in the finance department at all hours of the day and night, as well as on weekends. Flexible working arrangements mean that staff choose hours in consultation with their managers that are more appropriate, both from a personal and corporate perspective. In addition, many staff members regularly work off site, and we encourage this because studies have shown that it results in higher productivity. We are deliberately focusing more on outcomes, than on where, when or how staff work. This allows them to have more control over their lives and accommodate their personal circumstances, whether it involves young children or aging parents, without impairing our ability to serve our customers.

  • Hotelling. Staff members who work at home on a frequent basis do not have an assigned desk; rather there are a number of empty desks for these staff members to reserve on a day in the office. Several of my senior colleagues and I do not have our own offices, and when we are in the building and not in meetings, you will often find us sitting in the open office with the staff.

  • Space for collaboration. Several offices have been converted into meeting rooms of differing sizes to allow for private meetings. In addition, there are raised tables and chairs that seat eight in the main workspace to allow for brief meetings when people can huddle together for a few moments.

  • Almost paperless environment. We are not all the way there yet, but we are headed towards a paperless environment. This means that we have been able to eliminate large numbers of filing cabinets and reduce the number of printers, which frees up space. It also means that individual staff members are assigned only a small two-drawer cabinet on wheels for any files and personal belongings. Most have multiple monitors to facilitate working without printing documents . Finally, since there is less paper, fewer trash cans and recycling bins are placed strategically throughout the office, rather than at each workstation.

  • Strategic privacy. We recognize that staff members sometimes need privacy. There are a number of pods for private work where one can work on a project that requires intense concentration without being distracted, and for personal phone calls.

  • Ergonomic solutions. Chairs and desks are adjustable to the needs of the worker. In particular, most desks can be raised to standing height with the flick of a switch, which means that workers who used to sit all day can vary their position at will.

A key benefit of these innovations is a smaller footprint in terms of the office space, which means that THQ’s costs of administration are reduced. A rough estimate is that THQ is saving about $410,000 annually from this new approach.

Cost savings, increased productivity, reduced environmental impact and a more enjoyable work environment for individual staff members, who are able to accommodate their work schedules to make the rest of their lives easier. It’s a win-win for all concerned!

Did You Know? Commissioner McMillan Honoured by Accounting Profession

Each year the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario recognizes the CPAs in the province who "have rendered exceptional service to the profession and whose achievements and contributions in their careers and in the community have earned them distinction and brought honour to the profession." These CPAs are elected Fellows, designated by the initials FCPA.

Among those being honoured by CPA Ontario this year is Commissioner Susan McMillan, who earned her CGA designation in 1997 and who, since the recent amalgamation of the professional accounting bodies, has also been entitled to use the CPA designation.

In addition to territorial leadership in Canada and Bermuda, and in South America West, the commissioner has served as chief secretary in South America East, as financial secretary in both Canada and South America East, and as secretary for business administration in Canada. In these and other roles through the years, the commissioner’s accounting background and strong business acumen has contributed effectively to her leadership and service.

Finance Department Offices

2 Overlea Blvd
Toronto, ON M4H 1P4
(416) 425.2111 ext. 2237

116 - 276 Midpark Way SE
Calgary AB T2X 1J6
(403) 201.9223

101 - 85 Thorburn Rd
St. John's NL A1B 3M2
(709) 579.3919

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Money & Mission Editorial Team

Managing Editor:

Alister Mason
Senior Editor:

Paul Goodyear
Design Editor & Production Manager:
Angela Robertson
French Translator:

The Salvation Army Translation Department