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AFP 2019: Payments Track to Focus on Real-Time, Operations

Apr 16, 2019

This November, AFP 2019 is the place to be for treasury and finance professionals looking for great payments content. This year’s Payments Track boasts an impressive lineup of sessions, including discussions on real-time payments, payments operations and emerging technologies.

REAL-TIME PAYMENTS

It should come as no surprise that real-time payments continue to be a key focus of AFP’s annual conference. With the rise of multiple faster payments solutions in the United States and abroad, the AFP 2019 Planning Task Force understood that attendees will want to keep up.

Barbara Landolt, CTP, assistant treasurer for CSAA Insurance Group and a member of the task force, called real-time “the biggest change in like 30 years in payments.” She noted that AFP 2019 will give attendees a glimpse into whether real-time would be beneficial to their organizations. “Is it important for either a consumer that you're working with, if you’re on the retail side, or a vendor to get a payment in real time? The conference will allow you to look at the pros and cons, the costs of doing that, and whether you should think about implementing it,” she said.

Fellow task force member David Tao, treasury manager for Uber, and recipient of the 2018 AFP Pinnacle Award, noted that sessions on faster payments were quite dominant in this year’s submissions. “Whether it just be faster payments in general, or RTP in the U.S.—a lot of the things we’re seeing are related to that,” he said. “Whether it be from how do you access it, how you use it, what connectivity looks like, all the way to, what that does in terms of changing fraud.”

For example, AFP 2019 has a session on how corporates can move money and data at the same time—in real time. New technology is allowing for treasury departments to effectively and accurately move both payments and payment data together at near real-time speeds. This year’s agenda also features an in-depth look at how corporate practitioners are leveraging The Clearing House’s RTP system, and a pre-conference session on the fundamentals of real-time payments.

PAYMENTS OPERATIONS

AFP 2019 also has multiple sessions on payments operations, which is an area that AFP has considerably placed more focus on in the past several years. For example, this year’s conference features a session on better cash receivables solutions available to retailers. Managing cash receivables has always been a challenge to retail treasurers, who often have to work with multiple banks and couriers as they seek to establish a national footprint. The current, decentralized approach fails to provide visibility into in-store data around receivables that is very useful to treasury. This session will provide insights into the latest trends in cash receivables so that retailers can harness valuable analytics.

AFP 2019 will also feature roundtable discussions on accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR) processes. Join your peers as they discuss the nuts and bolts of payments, and discover best practices to overcome some of your biggest pain points.

EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES

This year’s conference also features sessions on emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), application programming interfaces (APIs) and of course, blockchain. These technologies have been the talk of the payments industry for a number of years and you can be sure that AFP has its eye on the latest developments.

When it comes to emerging technologies, much of the talk is still around how companies could use them in the future. But the practitioners who attend this year’s sessions will get a close look at how companies are truly using this technology, noted Stephen Kincaid, CTP, assistant vice president of treasury for Walker & Dunlop and another member of the task force. “We have a lot of case studies on what they’re doing, their own use cases for like blockchain and APIs,” he said. “So oftentimes corporates—they hear all these buzzwords and they’re really not sure how they can take it back and use in their own company. So we have companies that have already done that and you can sit through the sessions to really see the steps that they’ve taken, and how successful it’s been for them.”

This year's track features a session on how treasury professionals avoid falling into the trap of making too many assumptions about blockchain. While there is a ton of hype about the technology, much of what is out there is misleading and this session will help you understand what's real and what isn't. AFP 2019 also has a session on how NACHA has been using blockchain, standardized APIs and validated data to improve key AP/AR processes and lower fraud risk.

WHY ATTEND?

Landolt urges her fallow practitioners to attend AFP 2019, particularly those who want to keep pace with the fast-moving payments environment. “I would recommend for anyone in the treasury world to attend the AFP 2019, because it gives you the most up-to-date information regarding these changes in the payments landscape and the speed at which payments can be made,” she said.

Download the AFP 2019 brochure to explore the event. Register by May 17 to save $625.