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Territorial financial chief takes on new international role

Territorial financial chief takes on new international role

8 December 2016

The Salvation Army's Chief Financial Officer, Ian Minnett.

By Esther Pinn 

After 16 years working as The Salvation Army Australia Eastern Territory’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Ian Minnett is taking a leap of faith in his career. In February, Ian will take up a new position as International Project Director with the Army’s International Headquarters (IHQ).

“Doors close and other doors open and that’s been every step of my career. I’ve seen God give me a little bit of a nudge,” Ian explains. “I’ve been grateful for all the messages of support and encouragement [regarding the new position]. It’s reassuring as well that the decision is the right one.”

While Ian’s position will be based at his home office in Sydney, he will travel to territories across the Army world to implement a new accounting software program and fresh accounting policies.

“The territories that need help financially from IHQ need more technical support in their reporting systems. There are multitudes of different accounting software out there throughout the world and, at the moment, it takes three years for an IHQ audit,” he says.

The new software program will enable IHQ to access up-to-date financial information from each territory, which will assist IHQ with making financial decisions. In particular, Ian says access to fresh information will help territories become financially sustainable.

“The Army needs to be aware of where the money is being sent and how it’s helping those territories,” Ian says. “A lot of these territories need to stand on their own two feet. This is what is important for helping the Army long term. IHQ can’t possibly provide funding forever for all of these territories. So we’re collectively trying to help them become more sustainable.”

Kingdom values

Taking on this new role was never part of Ian’s plan. At the end of 2014 he attended an International Financial Consultation at Sunbury Court in London. There Ian volunteered to be part of committee to update the Army’s International Finance and Account Polices document. Once completed, Ian became the chairman of another committee to research financial software for IHQ. At the completion of choosing an appropriate software program, Ian was approached to lead the roll-out of this software across 46 territories.

“I had to weigh up whether I continue what I’m currently doing or do I boldly step out and try this whole new thing and help the Army? For me, it’s always been about trying to find ways to help the Army and with my 16 years as the CFO and my background in accounting and policy accounting, banking and finance, why wouldn’t I consider this?”

The new role perfectly matches Ian’s work philosophy. Over the past 16 years, he has been passionate about finding ways for the Army to save money, resulting in more funds being sent to the frontline.

“I was always looking for the next opportunity – what’s the next challenge, how can we save some more money for the Army, how can we use it better, what can we negotiate different? All those things kept driving me,” he says.

“This is the benefit of such a wonderful organisation with a 150-year history. You’ve got to think long term. Other places, actually where I’d come from at Ticketek, it was always ‘what’s the share price doing?’. We don’t think about anything like that here. We look at the long-term consequences for the Army. What’s good for the Kingdom and eternity consideration – not the share price.”

Prayerful consideration

Prior to joining The Salvation Army, Ian worked in chartered accounting for KPMG for 13 years followed by seven years at National Australia Bank. He then transitioned into a CFO position at Ticketek for a year-and-a-half before he became the Army’s CFO in 2000.

“It wasn’t [Ticketek] the place I wanted to be long term. Then, this [The Salvation Army] came up. I was the CFO there so it kind of made it easy for me to become the CFO here. When you look back on these things, you can see God sort of directing me all through the different choices. I felt led into it right from the start,” he says.

While Ian is excited about the next chapter of his career, he says he will miss his current role and being part of the community at territorial headquarters in Sydney.

“I think I’ve found what I’ve been doing very rewarding. I’ve actually found it quite hard to let go of something that I’ve really enjoyed doing and that’s a thing I’ve wrestled with, but I’ve got peace. I’ve had people pray for peace for me and I’ve just found that. You see God working and you see answers,” he said.



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