Volunteer spotlight: Joan Dunne

Many volunteers are motivated by a sense of purpose and a desire to give back to the profession. Joan Dunne is one such volunteer who is committed to making a positive impact on the profession.

Outgoing Corporate Performance Reporting Board (CPRB) chair Joan Dunne shares on giving back and shaping the future.

“Joan Dunne, CA, shows why decisions matter.” That was the headline in the spring 2009 edition of Spotlight Magazine, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta (now CPA Alberta) publication. Dunne, who earned her designation in 1983 and went on to build her career in small and mid-cap oil and gas companies in Calgary, was then VP Finance and CFO of Painted Pony Petroleum Ltd.

It was Dunne’s deep understanding of the importance of making the right decision at the right time that led her to share her expertise and experience as a businessperson in a number of volunteer initiatives on behalf of the profession, including being ambassador and mentor with CPA Alberta, member and chair of CPA Canada’s Small Company Advisory Group, and member and chair of the CPRB, a role she which she left in January 2020 as her term expired.

The CPRB was formed shortly after the transition to IFRS in Canada. Dunne, who joined the board in 2012, remembers those days clearly. “The requirement to report under IFRS in Canada came into effect on January 1, 2011. There wasn’t much information available and it wasn’t easily accessible. It was particularly challenging for CPAs in smaller organizations. CPA Canada’s decision to create the CPRB to provide information and guidance to a range of users was hugely important and I was excited to be part of that.”

More than giving back and having input, Dunne was part of the conversation and heard diverse points of view that helped her in her professional role. “It allowed me to be not only current but to operate in the forefront of trends, as I knew what was potentially on the horizon, what the concerns were, what other industries and other countries were dealing with and what the thought leadership was,” says Dunne. “I would bring all that insight into the organization at the staff level and now in my role as a corporate director at the board level. It enabled me to focus on what our organization might proactively address to help ensure we were ahead of the game.”

Today, with technological advancements changing everything from how we live and work to how businesses operate, the CPRB’s focus is always on looking forward and anticipating what CPAs in performance/financial reporting roles will need. “Today, the environmental, social and governance (ESG) movement and climate reporting are creating new challenges and opportunities. In a few years’ time, there will be new priorities,” says Dunne. “It’s critical for financial professionals to use their expertise and business perspective to make sure the accounting rules and related reporting remain relevant from a broader business context. That means recognizing the risks for your organization, assessing them and then being proactive in addressing them. Stakeholders not only want us to have these discussions but want us to share our thoughts with them.”

As she reflects on her time at the CPRB, Dunne says bringing the business perspective of someone who has always worked in a small to medium-sized organization was particularly important. “Anyone who volunteers with CPA Canada is doing their part to help direct the future of the organization and the decisions that are made. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time on the CPRB. I believe very strongly in the role it has had and can have in the future.”