The NRL is celebrating Women in League round across the game this week.
This year's theme is "from strength to strength" and pays tribute to the growing movement of females making an invaluable contribution to the betterment of the game overall.
One person taking the Titans from strength to strength is Natasha (Tash) Daley. Natasha is the Club’s Chief Financial Officer and is playing a huge part in building the Titans into a strong club off-field.
What does the role of Chief Financial Officer at an NRL club actually involve?
My role in Rugby League is not really a typical CFO role anywhere else. As well as the overall Finance and Accounting function, our finance team also look after all player and staff payroll, HR, insurance, risk and governance and at the moment I look after a little bit of IT, supported by an outsourced IT team, so it’s a really varied role as CFO.
What were you doing before taking a role in rugby league?
I was working in the automotive industry before and I had been in automotive for 20 plus years. I was travelling to Brisbane every day from the Gold Coast, living in Burleigh. This role became available and with the fact that my boys were heavily involved in local rugby league playing for the Burleigh Bears and my husband playing rugby league for 20 years and then involved after playing in so far as coaching and managing, it was just a great fit. It was a big change coming from automotive into a completely different industry, but it’s been fantastic.
So you’re a footy lover as well as having a job in footy?
Yeah, I love watching our games. I’m probably not the best sportsperson myself, I’m not the most athletic, but I love watching it and being totally invested in a game. I love the competitiveness of elite sport in general. Long before the Titans were around, we followed the Broncos while growing up in Brisbane and then we had a stint on the Northern Beaches so our team was Manly, but obviously since we’ve been back on the Gold Coast it’s been the one and only Titans.
Footy doesn’t stop once you leave the Titans at the end of the day, how involved are you as a “footy family”?
Normally a few times a week we have our two younger boys at training so there is what feels like constant running around for that, with my husband managing one of the boy’s teams as well as the Titans PDRL team. Of course on the weekends, we've got sport, sport and more sport. I’ve got four boys that range in age from almost 20 down to six and they are all big rugby league fans.
It’s a slightly different financial year that you operate under, how does that work?
The Titans financial year ties in with the rugby league season and financial year in general, and you’ll find most of the 16 clubs are like that, and so what we are working on at any one point in time does fluctuate with the timing of the season.
Towards the back end of the year we'll start our budgeting process for the following year and then have a period between November and January where we are working on wrapping up the final accounts for the prior year, audit comes though, we’re finalising our financial reports and submitting other reporting requirements, and after having a little bit of a break over the December-January period, then you’re pretty much ramping back up into the new season kick off in March.
How has COVID impacted that process this year?
In terms of wrapping up the actual financial year, the process for this year will probably be pretty much the same. All the ups and downs of the whole COVID year and what impact that has had on every Club has just been an enormous change from a regular year. This year has been all about constant modelling, forecasting and scenario building most weeks. That’s managing cash flow, forecasting annual results, budgeting for the following year and challenging and remodelling what happens if this occurs, what happens if that occurs. Then progressively throughout this season we have been able to have crowds return and the remodelling starts for the rest of the season’s games with crowd attendance including allowing for increasing crowd capacities each game so it has been a bigger workload, and less consistent year than normal.
What makes a CFO job in footy so different to a similar job in other industries?
I absolutely love the variety as it's not just a typical accounting role, and we're dealing with a lot of other uniqueness in this industry. It’s just great to be a part of something really exciting. Working at a national level can put a little more pressure into things, but I do love it and the variety that comes with the job.
If a player showed an interest in numbers, would you be keen to mentor someone to transition from a rugby league playing role to an accounting or finance career?
Absolutely, I think that's a great idea. You can tell the guys in the team that are really focussed on a career after footy and if any of them were truly interested in learning in a finance or accounting capacity then that would be great. I think it would be hugely beneficial for them to learn how the back office and administrative function in the Club works and contributes as well as what they’ve learnt and displayed on the field.
With the variety in your job, you’re connected to every part of the footy club. How do you sum up the mood around the Titans at the moment?
The fact the team has been performing so well over the back end of the season has had a huge impact on the administrative team in the club as well. After such an exhausting year for everybody, you can tell there is still that positive vibe around, which is really exciting. That might have been a different story this year after such a tough year for everyone not just in Rugby League, but there is still that buzz around which can only be even more positive next year after an optimistic back end to the season.
What does the NRL’s Women in League Round mean to you?
I think it is really important to have that different perspective that women can bring. Generally you might have thought of footy as being a male dominated industry but the number of women in league is growing all the time. This round highlights that it is a diverse game and encourages people to bring their different thinking to any role within the game.