INTRODUCTION TO THE WITS ONLINE CVO PROGRAMME:

At a time when we are faced with the challenges of social inequality, resource constraints, climate change and, most recently, the effects of COVID-19, what the world needs is an urgent shift from short-term finance centric business models to stakeholder inclusivity, environmental responsibility and long-term sustainability. It is with this in mind that Professor Mervyn King, widely regarded as one of the fathers of corporate governance, is calling for the role of the Chief Financial Officer to become the Chief Value Officer (CVO) instead.

According to Professor King: “The CVO role will ensure that all relevant aspects of value creation and destruction are accounted for and communicated to boards, management, and external stakeholders”.

However, this is easier said than done.

Accountants and financiers all well versed in the debits and credits of profit making. But understanding, internalising and applying the principles of integrated thinking and sustainable development are more challenging.

It is with this context that Wits University, in partnership with SAICA, decided to create a series of shortcourses dealing with the role and function of the CVO aimed specifically at accountants.

CVO COURSE #1: INTEGRATED THINKING AND VALUE CREATION

Wits University is pleased to launch the first short course in the CVO programme entitled “Integrated Thinking and Value Creation”. The course examines integrated thinking and value creation in a practical context with a focus on how the CVO, either in a dedicated role or in some other executive capacity, could be expected to oversee the management of multiple types of capital.

Organisations are seeking to obtain a deeper understanding of the resources they use and manage as part of a multi-capital perspective on value-creation over the short-, medium- and long-term. This multi-capital management approach is known as integrated thinking.

On completion of the first course, participants will therefore have a detailed understating of the importance of integrated thinking for contemporary business. They will be able to function as CVOs at their respective organisations with an aim to bolstering economic, environmental and social performance.

COURSE #1 OUTCOMES:

On successful completion of course 1, participants will be able to:

  • understand the concepts of integrated thinking and value creation, the importance of integrated thinking in contemporary business environments and the different ways in which value is defined;
  • explain the impact of integrated thinking on an organisation’s business model and the need for a multi-capital mindset to develop innovative business models capable of sustainable value creation;
  • understand and evaluate the use of different tools for and approaches to measuring and monitoring value creation;
  • understand the role of ethics, culture, outcomes-based governance and leadership as enablers of integrated thinking and value creation and the emerging role of the Chief Value Officer; and
  • explain the consequences of integrated thinking, barriers to integrated thinking and how to overcome these barriers.

 

HOW ARE THESE TOPICS ADDRESSED WITHIN THIS COURSE?

The “Integrated Thinking and Value Creation” course consists of five modules.

The first module introduces participants to the concepts of integrated thinking and value creation. The motivation and building blocks for integrated thinking are explored together with the different ways in which is value is defined and created. Participants will be required to consider their organisations and how the skills and competencies of a CVO can contribute to improved economic, environmental and social performance.

In the second module, participants examine integrated thinking and its impact on the business models. The module deals with the characteristics of innovative integrated business models which yield sustainable returns for stakeholders. This module explores the need for a multi-capital mindset and the impact of capitals on value creation.

The focus in the third module is on measuring, monitoring and communicating value creation. Different tools for and approaches to measuring and monitoring value creation are considered, and the importance of effective stakeholder communication is discussed.

The fourth module focuses on collaborative culture as a key building block for integrated thinking and the role of the CVO. The module explores how leadership, ethics and governance enable integrated thinking and value creation. In this module, the implications for the CVO are considered and as well as the evolving concepts of ‘profit’ and ‘business rationale’.

The final module addresses the implications and consequences of integrated thinking. The challenges and success factors for integrated thinking are explored and the module deals with how the CVO, by applying an integrated approach to multi-capital management, can add value to organisations.

 

HOW IS THIS COURSE STRUCTURED?

This online course follows a traditional business school approach. It is designed to provide participants with a conceptual and theoretical appreciation of integrated thinking and value creation in the context of integrated reporting and the role of the CVO. Participants will be exposed to a mix of technical and professional publications, complemented by relevant academic readings and presentations by the academic staff, practitioners and other experts.

Each module comprises prescribed readings and video content which participants are expected to study. Additional resources are provided to aid the learning process. These include research articles, extracts from websites and short commentaries.

Throughout each module, participants are prompted to reflect on key issues and important learning outcomes. Optional ‘knowledge checks’ are provided. For participants registering for the short course by competency, assignments dealing with the content covered in each of the course’s modules must be completed.

The modules are designed to run online with some flexibility to work through prescribed material. Live seminars form a key part of the course. They offer an opportunity to debate points, engage directly with experts and network with peers. These sessions will be hosted at the Wits Business School or on the University’s online platforms.

 

WHAT IS THE EXPECTED DURATION OF THIS COURSE?

The course duration is eight (8) weeks from the date of registration to completion, plus the final assessment for those who enrol for the course “by competence”.

For those who enrol ‘by competence’, prescribed assessments must be completed. The pass mark is 50%. You will be awarded a certificate of competence upon successful completion of the course. For participants who prefer not to write assignments, the course can be completed ‘by attendance’. A certificate of attendance is awarded upon the completion of the requisite number of hours on the course.

ABOUT THE CVO PROGRAMME:

The CVO Programme is part of a continuing research-driven enquiry into integrated reporting, integrated thinking and sustainable development being undertaken by the Wits School of Accountancy. It consists of three short courses, of which Integrated Thinking and Value Creation is the first.

The second short course deals with the role of assurance in an integrated and thinking and reporting context. The short courses deals with, inter alia, the nature and emergence of combined assurance, the role of external assurors in the preparation of integrated reports and the relevance of assurance for the broader value creation.

The final short course in the CVO programme covers the history of South African corporate governance, the drivers and consequences of good governance and how an outcomes-based approach to governance is essential for effective multi-capital management, stakeholder engagement and long-term value creation.

These short courses will run consecutively yet independently of each other; therefore, participants have the option to complete either one, two or all three of the courses. Information and registration regarding the second and third short course will be released in due course.

ADMISSION REQUIREMENT:

The course is offered to all Chartered Accountants [CAs(SA)] who are registered and in good standing with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA). Admission requirements for future enrolments will be communicated in due course.

Course fee for those who enrol for the certificate of attendance

  • Cost for a SAICA registered CA(SA): R15 000 (excl. VAT)
  • For discount price for companies* registering more than 10 employees, please speak to the Wits DigitalCampus Sales team.

* Note company discounts only apply to corporates who either pay payment or send a purchase order confirming their commitment to pay within 30 days of date of invoice.

Course fee for those who enrol for the certificate of competence

  • Cost for a SAICA registered CA(SA): R20 000 (excl. VAT)
  • For discount price for companies* registering more than 10 employees, please speak to the Wits DigitalCampus Sales team.

* Note company discounts only apply to corporates who either pay payment or send a purchase order confirming their commitment to pay within 30 days of date of invoice.

Duration: The course is run over an 8-week period.

Next course intake: The next course is scheduled to start on 17 May 2021.

What people are saying about the course:

“I am new in my role and the course has had so much value. Integrated reporting is part of my KPI, and I now appreciate the full extent of what I need to deliver if I am to add deep value. I am responsible for the Compliance Department and because of this course, am thinking of changing the name of it to something along the lines of ‘Integrated Sustainable Reporting’ to better encapsulate the mindset with which we are approaching reporting, moving away from compliance to true sustainability and integration. I am changing my quarterly reports to Government to influence upwards and create a groundswell of change. Our new CEO is supportive of this move towards integrated reporting.” ~ Lionel Billings

“This course has been an eye opener. I haven’t learned in 20 years other than professional training and I am inspired to continue this learning path with levels 2 and 3. I’ve been in general management for 15 years but am looking to move back into finance. The networking opportunities which this course is giving me, and access to people I want to connect with has had so much value (little hire). The setup of the course information and the forums is great.” ~ Driaan de la Guerre

“The course has given me a much broader understanding and insight into the challenges of driving integrated thinking and reporting and the work that still needs to be done to establish a globally accepted framework. The course programme was very well structured in an logical way.” ~ Vivian Oates

“The course really exceeded my expectations and I look forward to the two remaining parts. It has been of great benefit to me, and I will certainly put into practice the invaluable knowledge gained on this course. Furthermore, thank you for imparting your knowledge and experience on this interesting and topical subject. The topic of Integrated Reporting (incl. Integrated Thinking) is gaining prominence globally, and quite rightly so! Hence, awareness is so important, and you and your team have risen to the challenge in promoting the awareness that is required.” ~ Theodosios Delyannis

HOW TO APPLY:

Apply here to enrol in the certificate of attendance

Apply here to enrol in the certificate of competence

Please direct all technical course enquiries to the WITS course co-ordinator: yvette.lange@wits.ac.za

Please direct all registration enquires to DigitalCampus:  info@digitalcampus.co.za