One of Young Deloitte’s initiatives is that our young people can join one of the members of the board for a day. One of the lucky ones this time was Yaqing Sun who joined our CFO, Cees de Boer. This blog is about her experience that day.
“It was one of those days, which I wished to be perfect but arrived at the office an hour late and forgot my wallet at home. Yet, the moment I stepped into Cees’s office, I immediately knew that these “unfortunates” would not matter because I was about to spent a wonderful day with our CFO, Mr. Cees de Boer.
I had heard a lot of stories about Cees before meeting him. For example that he was a very visionary and powerful leader who thought very fast or that he was a big fan of music and almost become a professional pianist. I wanted to learn so much more about him, from his vision on digital reporting (the main subject of my work) and his views on sustainability, to the major challenges and accomplishments in his career.
Officially the day started with a nice cup of cappuccino and a self-introduction: which city do I come from in China (Wuhan), why did I come to the Netherlands (for my Master study), how long have I been working for Deloitte (4 years). Then I participated in a few regular monthly meetings between Cees and the managers who report to him, during which they went through the list of open issues and agreed on follow-up actions. The discussions were very much based on financial figures (budget and forecast) and the approach was extremely clear and efficient. I was surprised that Cees was able to stay focused on all the different topics and that with little help from coffee. Another interesting fact is that Cees is capable of multitasking, a very useful characteristic that most men do not have. I noticed that people did not stop talking to him even when he started typing. I was very impressed that Cees was still able to respond right to the point. I am not sure if it is his natural talent or a learned skill, but it seems to come in handy for a busy man like Cees!
During lunch time, we chatted over his family life and his hobby of running. Even though Cees is much more senior than me in the organisation as well as in life experience, he never gave me the feeling that I was being incompetent or asking inappropriate questions. He always tried to understand my questions without judging and I really appreciated that!
In the afternoon I asked Cees what his most remarkable success was while being the CFO of Deloitte and if he had ever thought about changing his career. He told me that he was quite happy with the current financial process at Deloitte: it now takes only a few days to view the company’s financial result after closing the books, whereas eight years ago this took much longer. At a certain point of his career, he wanted to take a more internal role and become a CFO. He shared his objective within the firm and the Board “surprised” him by appointing him CFO of Deloitte. Cees had again showed me that at Deloitte your career will get full support from your colleagues and managers, as long as you clearly express what you want to achieve.
In between Cees’s meeting, I also had the chance to talk with the lovely executive assistants, who help Cees and other Board members prepare their meetings and agendas. I think they give a great example that work can sometimes be stressful, but it can also be joyful, especially at a place like Deloitte.
As a final remark, if you paid a little attention to details you might have noticed that I forgot my wallet on that day. Did you wonder who paid for my lunch? Quoting Cees “No worries, you are with the CFO today.” After all, there IS such thing as a free lunch. What a fruitful day!”
Senior Consultant at the Deloitte XBRL Center of Excellence Team. Responsible for the digital sustainability reporting market and work closely with standard setters in the Sustainability Reporting field, leading sustainability reporters, as well as our Deloitte global sustainability practitioners. Currently manage the GRI Taxonomy development project, and 3-5 other projects at sustainability reporting clients.