Watering Holes Research

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General Senior Finance Leaders - Watering Holes

In Canada, there are existing organizations, groups, events and trade shows, newsletters and magazines, and social media groups for Senior Finance Leaders. They listen to podcasts and participates in online forums.

The lists given below does not necessarily the "top" in their category, though I provided some figures to show that they are indeed qualified to be in the list and I've checked if there are a visible participation of the given demographics. These demographics include CFOs (Chief Financial Officers), VP of Finance/Accounting, Directors and/or Senior Executives that are from all industry types. As available, the priority of this research is for the Canadian market and is only extended throughout North America (the United States included) if needed and if the information is not available for Canada. Below, you will find details of where these leaders go to consume information for their industry.


The notable groups that these demographics actively involved in, or a member of are:

This organization's members are "generally restricted to senior financial officers of organizations with revenues greater than $10M or total net worth of $3M." They are comprised of CFOs, VP Finance, Tax or Internal Audit, Audit Committee members, Controllers, Treasurers and Directors of Finance. Total membership in Canada has approximately reached 1,500.

2. Association of Canadian Financial Officers (ACFO) — This group is considered the largest union in Canada and throughout North America with more than 4,500 members and "exclusively representing accountants, comptrollers, auditors and financial professionals." The members are from various fields such as accounting operations, policy advisers, resource management, auditing, costing and system controls.

3. A4S CFO Leadership Network — Canadian Chapter
Accounting For Sustainability (A4S) brings together a "group of leading CFOs from large organizations seeking to embed the management of environmental and social issues into strategy and business processes."


Tradeshows and events that these industry leaders attend to include Canada's CFO of the Year Award which is held on an annual basis. This is a "trademarked award" that is presented by FEI Canada with participation from Robert Hall and PwC. This annual "marquee event" is attended by more than 430 guests mostly by senior leadership in the Finance industry. Other events include FEI Canada's Annual Conference and trade shows, National Breakfast Seminar Series, and CFO Leadership Beyond Finance Program which runs in 3 or more modules throughout the year. These events "equips senior financial executives with the insights they need to become more effective leaders and better strategic advisers to their CEOs and Boards of Directors."


The websites that most probably visited by these senior leaders include CFO.com website, Business Financial Post (BFP) website, and Business News Network (BNN) Canada website. The CFO website does not specifically cater the Canadian audience but also include the United States and perhaps globally. It receives about 8,210 daily unique visitors (or 24,629 in monthly basis). The Business Financial Post website receives about 30,050 daily unique visitors of which Canada is the top user at 66.8%. Business News Network (BNN) is Canada's only "English-language television and digital service devoted to helping Canadians build their businesses and protect their families’ financial well-being." A report stated that 59% of C-Suite Executives watch BNN at least once a week and 63% of the viewers are Finance Executives. Its website receives about 12,650 daily unique visitors of which the majority of the users are from Canada.

The Blunt Bean Counter blogs, Susan Ward — Small Business Canada blogs, Ellen Roseman blogs, Montreal Financial blogs, The Motley Fool blogs and Blue Steps blogs are some blogs that Canadian senior finance leaders are interested in. Though not all topics covered are for CFOs, these blogs also talks about leadership and CFO topics. They aren't particularly for senior finance leaders but they are also one of the target audience.

The online forums available for North American finance executives include 1) The Finance forums which has general topics in business finance, accounting, auditing, commerce, among others, 2) Proformative.com forums which have notable participation from even executive levels like VP in Finance and CFO's, and 3) ProConnect Community or Accountants Community, an online forum for various topics such as tax and business financing from industrial experts.


Journals, magazines, and newsletters subscribed are below.

1. FEI Canada E-Newsletter — these are exclusively for senior finance leaders
2. CFO Magazine, CFO Newsletter, and CFO Journal — news, analysis, and commentary for Chief Financial Officers
3. Bank of Canada (BDC) Newsletter and magazines
4. Money magazine and newsletters — a dedicated Canadian publisher that tackles all types of finance topics.

These senior leaders also listen to podcasts such as Podcasts by FEI Canada, The Accounting Best Practices Podcast, CFO Podcasts, CFO Thought Leader, Freakonomics Radio and Planet Money.


According to Thomson Reuters, the top finance industry social media influencers (mostly from Twitter and also other social networks such as Facebook and YouTube) in Canada are:

1. Diane Kazarian — "An influential voice in how Digitech is influencing financial services" and she is among Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Awards. Her total social media engagement reached 10,400.

2. Nick Bilodeau — "One of the top 10 most followed fintech influencers on Twitter." He has 3,337 engagements in social media.

3. John Boscariol — He mostly addresses the issues of "bribery, anti-corruption, economic sanctions, export controls and national security" in the country. He garnered 33,679 social media engagements.

4. James Cohen — He is an international anti-corruption, security, and development professional with a "decade of experience bridging policy and practice." He has a total 8,420 social media engagements.

5. Christine Duhaime — "Founder of Digital Finance Institute, a think tank for fintech and AI. She’s consistently ranked as one of the Top 100 women in fintech. She managed 5,793 social media engagements.

6. Anu Sood — With a 5,793 social media engagements, Anu Sood is "a trusted voice in regtech, including data analytics, audit management, transaction monitoring, and AML."


While there is no report existed specific for C-Suite executives in the Finance sector in Canada, a survey report released by Queen's School of Business stated that eight in ten (or roughly 82%) of Canadian executives (all sectors) are personally using social media. LinkedIn is the "clear front-runner among the channels," together with Facebook and Twitter. Upon searching on the LinkedIn database, I found that in Canada, there are about 10,435 profiles that have a position of Chief Financial Officer alone, other senior positions are not included.

Facebook and LinkedIn groups that these demographics interested in or a member of are:

Association of Canadian Financial Officers (ACFO) Ottawa has 926 members on their Facebook page.

2. ASUC Office of the Chief Financial Officer — Canada
This Facebook group has 278 members.

3. The Prince's Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) — "CFO and accounting bodies-led nonprofit organization", active in Canada and Europe. It has 1,816 followers on LinkedIn.

4. Association of Canadian Financial Officers
A LinkedIn group of 1,402 followers.


In conclusion, Canadian senior executive leaders from various vertical in the finance industry are members and have active participation in organizations such as ACFO, ASUC, and FEI Canada. They also engage themselves in social media particularly LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter and has some active groups that they are notable members.
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Finance Leaders in the Legal Vertical - Watering Holes

Legal Senior Finance Officers in Canada make use of a variety of information sources to stay apprised of current trends and knowledge building opportunities within their individual spheres of expertise. The research below compliments this quest by helping Canadians and those they do business with gain a better understanding of what is important to Canadians and what is not.


In the absence of an existing list of Legal Senior Finance Officers in Canada, the need then arose, to deduce a practical way to accurately create a fair representation of these demographics. I chose to begin this process by conducting a search for the top law firms in Canada. I then culled the results down to a list of the top ten law firms and then searched within each of the ten firms for CFO, VP of Finance, and Director of Finance. The resulting list of Senior Financial Officers formed the base group I used to gain preference analysis information.

To learn the information sources preferred by each I conducted individual history searches on each individual and filtered the results to discern the most frequented or most active social media channels, industry forums or talk groups, and industry-specific video or magazine sites for each. The results were then combined and averages were calculated for popularity across the entire group. The final result represents the sites, channels and sources most frequented by the majority.


There were many sites and sources with each individual having distinct preferences as would be expected. There were some sources that were preferred or visited frequently by an overwhelming majority of individuals. LinkedIn was the social media channel of choice. Due to the nearly unanimous preference shared by all the professionals for the LinkedIn social channel, I opted to review each professional's LinkedIn profile as well.

The LinkedIn profiles provided an abundance of information and the social media format helped to spotlight the common threads that ran throughout the group.

I have sorted the research results by general resource type, and included a brief overview of the top resources listed for each category.

1. Industry Specific Social Media Group Pages

Law Firm Profitability Group — LinkedIn group page with 4,953 members. Group's purpose is to share practical and innovative ideas on increasing profits for law firms; the majority of Canadian CFOs in the legal industry are subscribers.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Network — LinkedIn group page with 367,115 members, a recruiter.com company, #1 Exec Finance Group, Crypto Investments & Trading, ICO

Finance Plus: Private Equity, Venture Capital and M&A News. — LinkedIn group page with 438,168 members. Majority of Canada's top CFOs are subscribers


Forbes — Forbes.com Subscribed to and/or mentioned in activities/ memberships tab of most CFOs and VP Marketing officers of most law firms in Canada

Harvard Business Reviewhbr.org, Analytic Services, The majority of top CFOs in Canada claim to be subscribers

The Economist — one of the most well-read current affairs publications, approximately 1.5m readers, incisive analysis and opinion on every aspect of world events. Subscribed to or mentioned in the activities/membership tabs of most CFOs and VP Marketing officers of most of the law firms in Canada.

Inc, .com — Subscribed to or mentioned in the activities/memberships tab of most CFOs and VP Marketing officers of most law firms in Canada

The Globe and Mail — Canada's largest News and Business Online and Print Publication, multiple Michener Awards for public-service journalism.


Vanry Capital @Vanry. Capital — "Vanry Capital connects people, money and ideas. Our collaborative and open style fosters a unique alignment with client needs and produces trusted, long-lasting relationships"


CI LEGAL @ci_legal — Canadian Institute Twitter account that connects senior experts in the legal practice (including those in charge of finance).

MarkMacLeod @startupcfo — CFO/VP Finance Influencer on Twitter

RBC @RBC — Janice Fukakusa, CFO, RBC

6. Trade Shows & Conferences

FEI Canada’s CFO Leadership Beyond Finance Program -executive education program, partnered with Queen’s Smith School of Business, the #1 ranked executive education provider in Canada!

CFO Connect — connecting CFOs and professionals of similar expertise with conferences, email subscription, social media followers, specific industry events, etc.

The Chief Financial Officer Exchange — The CFO Exchange is an intimate, closed-door forum that brings an evolutionary concept in networking and business information delivery—one that is designed to directly connect CFOs and Senior level financial executives to lead thoughtful dialogue and debate around the most pressing topics in the industry."


The resources listed here were chosen for inclusion in this report based solely on limited analysis of implied preference as measured by the number of members of the selected base group who were subscribers of each source and how often each member visited each source.
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Finance Leaders in the Healthcare Vertical - Watering Holes

Senior finance leaders working in the Healthcare sector in Canada utilize a variety of information channels to connect with peers and keep up to date with current trends, topics and issues relevant to their industry. Key amongst these channels are professional associations, conferences and industry events. Less formal channels include professional articles, journals, news sources and following influencers.
My research focused on Canada, however, informal channels were more global which is typical in today’s connected world for those in executive leadership roles. To understand where senior finance leaders gathered, I reviewed a broad selection of LinkedIn profiles for chief financial officers, senior finance directors and other finance executive roles of Canadian professionals. Whilst I was not seeking the top or most popular watering holes, I identified commonalities for industry associations, conferences and influencers.


Known as CHIEF, this industry association is for those professionals at senior and executive levels pivotal in decision-making for the Canadian healthcare industry, be it in organizations providing health services or in those organizations and government entities making policy and directing strategies. CHIEF members attend two symposia each year with an expectation to be active participants at these forums and contributing to work groups and publications throughout the year. Given the geographic size of Canada, the forum also holds regional events, “MeetUps” and a webinar gathering every Wednesday.
The network or CHBDN is focused on hospital administrators who need to gain the 20 to 25 percent operating gap after provincial and federal budgets are granted. They do this by creating an innovative and collaborative environment for business leaders from academia and teaching hospitals with regional health authorities. They refer to this as creating “synergy” which provides opportunities to innovate and “push the envelope” to achieve business demands and create “new lines of business”.


Their 14th conference focusing on “Aims to Provide a Better Healthcare” is being held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on September 19-20, 2018. Whilst not a local to Canada conference, I have included this conference given the target audience being academia, healthcare organizations, technology companies, administrators, investors, economists and those in senior and chief executive roles. This information is in the section “About Conference”. Providing better healthcare requires efficient and effective healthcare management, including financial management when faced with “rising costs and inconsistent outcomes.”
Targeted at executives, NiHi is making available interactive digital information sessions to guide senior management in developing measures to identify the success of investments, both monetarily and through improved efficiencies.
This is a two-and-a-half day event for senior finance leaders in healthcare. The topic will focus on coalescing the revenue cycle with health strategies. Attendants will look for opportunities to build strategies that will lead to better health and financial outcomes in the healthcare environment.
Co-presented by “HealthCareCAN and the Canadian College of Health Leaders,” the annual conference it is an opportunity to showcase successes whilst exploring opportunities for innovation and efficiencies. Leaders are across a broad range of sectors that all interconnect with the healthcare system, from legal firms, academia, professional associations, health providers and government.
Targeting those in financial decision-making roles, this conference is discussing the change in focus in procurement where “outcomes and solutions” are important in the procurement process.
The 2018 annual conference by CHSPR is focusing on gathering together “researchers, policy-makers, decision-makers, clinicians, students [and] patient partners” to discuss “learning healthcare systems” in Canada. Senior and chief financial executives would play a key role in such a transformation as decision-makers.
This conference provides an opportunity for “experts and stakeholders” to “network with [their] peers” as they discuss opportunities for improved efficiencies in the healthcare system by taking a personalized approach to individual well-being. Senior finance leaders would find this an informative conference to attend.
Being held on April 6, 2018, this event is looking at “the past, present and future of private finance for Medicare in Canada”. This would be an important event for senior and chief finance executive officers to attend.
Being held in Vancouver in May 2018 the focus is on health informatics and is an opportunity for senior finance leaders to look at new technology and platforms for “integrated system solutions”.


This organization promotes a better future for Canadians by working with individuals, corporations and government to create a “dynamic and competitive” economy. Whilst not solely healthcare related, it has articles, events and reports that interest senior finance leaders and pertain to healthcare matters such as the Healthy Canada Conference 2018 and Value-Based Procurement and Innovation, both mentioned earlier.
This is both an industry association and a website which has a range of topics, learning and collaborative opportunities for those in the healthcare sector. It also offers a variety of resources and research topics to help inform senior staff on current and ongoing issues.
CIHI is an industry website that focuses on healthcare in Canada, including providing data and resources of use for those in senior finance roles.


Published by Wall Street Journal, this is a popular news resources for finance leaders. Whilst it can be US-centric, many of the articles interest those in other countries as financial trends often cross borders in a world which is more connected because of the internet.
CI provides business information for all senior and executive leaders. They also have a series on “financial compliance,” used by leaders to ensure they have up to date and relevant information on “essential regulatory” requirements. The site also offers a range of informative articles and learning opportunities and providing accreditation for professional development.
PwC Canada offers a range of articles and publications on healthcare which interests senior finance leaders and other senior executives. For example, on this page they have a link to their "20th CEO survey" and an article on costs associated with “fragmentation of resources between healthcare agencies” which is putting at risk its financial future and inviting potential instability in the sector and population.
HCMR is a private journal published quarterly and has been providing peer reviewed articles for 35 years. Written by “leading healthcare executives” and topics range from administrative best practice to creating a sustainable market share in the health industry.
Peer reviewed articles and reports on a range of topics including health economics are provided by this journal.


Mike Quindazzi — Managing Director at PwC and “tweets for the C-Suite.” Twitter: @MikeQuindazzi.
CFO Thought Leader — “firsthand accounts of CFOs driving change.” Twitter @CFOTL and Podcast — host Jack Sweeney.


Canadian College of Health Leaders has a regularly updated LinkedIn feed with articles and interesting news items for those who follow them.
Leaders in Finance, Accounting, Business Planning [...] Ontario, Canada has over 700 members and is a LinkedIn group with a local focus.
Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Network is a global leadership group with 367,111 members and has been operating since 2008 on LinkedIn.
Super CFO is a global leadership group of finance leaders and other professionals with 81,409 members and has also been operating since 2008.
Despite extensive searching, I did not find any Facebook groups which focused on finance leaders that met your criteria. Searches for podcasts found that most had stopped publishing new content two or more years ago.


In conclusion, the above resources were found because of commonalities identified when scoping LinkedIn profiles for senior finance leaders and executives in Canada, focusing on those in healthcare.
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Finance Leaders in the Education Vertical - Watering Holes

Senior finance leaders in Education in Canada get information from organizations, websites, magazines, and other sources. Many of them are not specific to Canada, although they may be inclusive of Canada. This report will focus on those based in Canada but also include some U.S. based organizations.


The Canadian Association of University Business Officers (CAUBO) was “Founded in 1937, when 15 administrators from 10 different universities met in Toronto, CAUBO is a non-profit professional organization representing the chief administrative and financial officers at over 100 universities and affiliated colleges in Canada.” CAUBO has an annual conference. This year’s will be held June 10–12, in Vancouver BC. The CAUBO website includes a Knowledge Centre with a searchable database that includes:
• Articles
• Reports
• Surveys
• Other publications
• Best practices
Benchmarking data

The website also has an email-based online community, as preferred by members in a 2015 survey. The listserv groups include VPs Finance and Administration, Procurement, and Risk Management.

North America

"The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), founded in 1906, represents public finance officials throughout the United States and Canada. The association'’s more than 19,000 members are federal, state/provincial, and local finance officials deeply involved in planning, financing, and implementing thousands of governmental operations in each of their jurisdictions. GFOA has its 112th annual conference this year. It will be May 6-9 in St. Louis, Missouri, with attendance likely in the thousands.

There are a number of Canadian organizations under the GFOA umbrella. These include The Canadian Association of Government Finance Officers, formerly GFOA of Western Canada, and The British Columbia GFOA. These two each have an annual conference, with CAGFO’s in Winnipeg, Manitoba, September 12-14, 2018 and GFOABC’s in Kelowna, BC, May 30–June 1, 2018. In addition, GFOABC has an active online forum.

Canadian finance professionals may also be members of the Association for Finance Professionals (AFP). The AFP has four regional associations in Canada. They are in Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, and Vancouver. Each of the regional associations holds local events of interest to the general finance professional. The 2018 AFP conference will be Chicago, IL, November 4-7.


The “Education Finance Council represents nonprofit higher education finance organizations who strive to improve higher ed access, success, & affordability for all.” Its tweets are followed by education and finance professionals. Three other Twitter accounts of interest to a university Vice President of Finance are Ben Carson The Financial Planning Standards Council and Globe Money. One organization liked by another university VP of Operations & Finance was The Treasury Institute for Higher Education. However, many of the financial officers I examined did not appear to have either a Twitter or LinkedIn presence.

Finally, worth mentioning are the National Association of College and University Business Officers and Proformative. NACUBO has a content-rich site and offers an electronic magazine and distance learning webcasts. Proformative.com has an active forum, plus white papers on education finance and other topics.


Senior Finance people in Canada have both Canadian and North American resources available to them for gathering and exchange information. The resources detailed here are the Canadian Association of University Business Officers, the Government Finance Officers Association, the Association for Finance Professionals, the Education Finance Council, the Treasury Institute for Higher Education, the National Association of College and University Business Officers, and Proformative.com.

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