Former PwCer David Craig has led an inspiring career. To date, he has held coveted roles as CFO of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, CFO of Australand (now Fraser Property Australia), and Senior Partner and Global CFO of Consulting with us. At present, he acts as a Non-Executive Director for Lendlease, Deputy Chairman for Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, and President of the Financial Executives Institute of Australia.
It’s safe to say David’s career path is one many business-minded people dream of emulating. But what might surprise some? Rather than mapping out his career route early on, David says his journey has been one of natural progression. He attributes focusing on each role with equal amounts of passion to opening the door for every subsequent opportunity.
“My career has been totally unplanned. I have always sought to do my current role to the best of my ability, and have been fortunate enough to be offered many great new opportunities that have led to step changes.”
Asked on the key element in allowing him to take those next steps in his stride, David connects an open-minded approach to continuous learning.
“I believe we all need to be constantly learning, trying to identify the changes that will impact us in the future… Leadership is a lifelong learning experience.”
Taking his first career steps in our Sydney offices, David began in Assurance before doing an international secondment in Toronto, Canada. On his return he “did a stint in Technical Services” before rejoining the Audit team.
“I always preferred the cut and thrust of advice and doing deals, which is how I moved into leadership roles within the firm, including as Chief Operations Office for Australasia. I then took on the challenge of becoming the first (and last) Global CFO of PwC Consulting, which saw me being sold to IBM.”
David says his 27 years with PwC were “always exciting and challenging”, and provided him with the reliable business foundation needed to propel his career beyond the realm of accounting and audit.
“There is no better foundation for business and, especially, finance than Chartered Accounting. Audit teaches you not only the technical skills, but also to be a ‘quick learner’ – learning about new companies and industries all the time and learning how to pick the material issues to focus on.”
With technology drastically altering the business landscape, the skills of being agile and a fast-learner are now more important than ever. The ability to continuously adapt to change, in any area of work, will set individuals up for long-term success, says David.
“Technology has and will continue to change everything we do. We need to be constantly challenging ourselves about how we can keep up with the changes and seizing the opportunities offered by technology to stay a step ahead of competitors.”
His sought after advice for aspiring business people? Apply yourself to each role you hold with passion and enthusiasm, and be ready to take on every opportunity that follows.
“Do what you are doing now to the very best of your ability, with passion and enthusiasm, so that you stand out in the crowd. Then be prepared to seize opportunities that may be presented to you. Proving to yourself and others that you can constantly change and adapt makes you a far better business person.”