The Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) Annual Conference is a key event for treasury and finance professionals. This year, the conference will be held October 14-17 in Miami Beach, FL, bringing together professionals from different cultures and backgrounds. Jim Kaitz, president and CEO of the AFP, shares with us the prominent issues being discussed at this year’s conference, as well as some of the most valuable takeaways for attendees.
1. What are the most prominent issues being discussed at the AFP Annual Conference?
Risk management and innovation will be the foundation of many of our most timely discussions. That’s because today’s financial executives are faced with a host of new pressures in a world that is fraught with risk. Key discussion points will be global liquidity, bank relationship management, cash management systems and technologies, and new domestic and international regulatory compliance requirements. Educational training sessions will also look ahead to anticipated – and sometimes disruptive – technologies, political and economic changes, and other factors that will influence the decisions that finance professionals will need to make to safeguard their companies’ assets in the future.
2. Who should attend this conference and why?
The conference is the meeting place for executives involved in both the operational and strategic sides of finance. Attendees come from more than 150 countries, a range of industries as well as public and private organizations. These attendees include:
- Professionals who analyze recent financial performance of their organization, such as accountants and other analysts
- Professionals who ensure that their organizations have enough cash on hand to fund current operations – such as the corporate treasurer, controller and related staff who manage the company’s cash and investments
- Professionals who plan ahead for their organization’s future, such as the CFO, finance director, financial planning and analysis professionals, budgeters, and anyone involved in corporate scenario planning
3. What is the “can’t miss” keynote speech or education session? And what do you think is the most valuable takeaway attendees will receive from the conference?
There is a growing buzz around the general session with Robert Gates. As former Secretary of Defense, he will likely have some fascinating things to say about global risk. Tom Kelley, head of IDEO, will discuss the value of innovation and creativity to the business environment. Sherry Turkle will discuss the plusses and minuses of being constantly “connected” in our technology obsessed world, and whether this leads to more or less productivity in the workplace.
Beyond the educational sessions, the speakers and innovative solution providers, what matters most is that AFP conference attendees spend time with like-minded executives. In this environment, finance professionals exchange best practices and validate that what they do on the job is very similar to the experience of their peers. Members talk about the solutions they plan to implement when they return to the office. They swap notes, build their networks, and engage in deep conversations. Sometimes the conference provides a lead for a new job opportunity, and it is always a source of valuable business contacts. With the pace of change in finance today, the AFP Annual Conference has become the place finance executives return to year after year, the source of the business friendships that can take a finance career into the future.
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