Global conglomerate GE is involved in a range of sectors – power, water, healthcare and transport, to name a few. It’s the perfect fit for GE's Belinda Shaw, a high-achieving FCPA from Adelaide.
Belinda Shaw FCPA
GE Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea
As CFO of GE for Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, I make sure that our businesses aren’t operating in silos and we’re selling solutions that cross the entire company. In Australia, we have about 120 people in finance, which is key as GE transforms to a digital company and our pipeline of software opportunities continues to grow.
A long way from Adelaide
I started in a mid-tier accounting firm in Adelaide, then spent a few years in finance at the production plant of General Motors Holden in Elizabeth, South Australia. Then I did what a lot of young Australians do: moved to London to see the world.
I said I’d go for a year, left with a backpack and 13 years later was back with a baby and a husband. Luckily, I started working for Universal Pictures in London, which was acquired by GE. I’ve been with the company for 10 years.
Life at GE
I was accepted into GE’s Corporate Audit Staff program. It’s a remarkable global career accelerator. There are 400 people from over 30 countries working on projects and auditing on a four-month rotation. You have to set a really quick pace to achieve your goal in that time frame.
I made it all the way to the executive audit manager role. I spent six years living out of a suitcase and worked in more than 10 countries in that time. Some mornings, I would really wonder where I was.
We also have a premier global graduate program. Every six months, I am looking for talent to join us at GE. I wish I had known of this program when I was finishing university!
Thinking like a CFO: mind-set and financial priorities
People generally stay with GE for a long time. As part of the nurturing process, we have our own university in New York, which can also help us bond with clients.
I’m part of a group of global growth CFOs, and we took a group of 35 customers there earlier this year. You’re staying in a hotel on campus, all the meetings are on campus, there are sports facilities and a bar for evening debriefs – it’s a complete bubble of learning.
Set a clear vision, think through what you’re trying to achieve, and then engage people and take them on the journey. It’s got to be about coaching and mentoring, trying to develop leaders who can work in any of our businesses in any country.
Prior to this role, I was CFO of GE Global Mining, and prior to that I was CFO of GE Global Locomotive, based in the US. I was in that role for about a year and a half ... I’m pretty knowledgeable on locomotives, should you need me to be!
GE is one of CPA Australia’s recognised employer partners. The Recognised Employer Program acknowledges organisations who have met world-class professional development standards for finance and accounting employees.