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AFP 2019: The Inside Scoop on Finance

Sep 17, 2019

Finance professionals with an eye on the future won’t want to miss AFP 2019. Given today’s uncertain environment, change is the constant theme of many of this year’s sessions. Topics like emerging finance technologies and the shifting role of the finance function dominate multiple sessions.

EVOLVING TECHNOLOGY  

Bryan Lapidus, FP&A, director of AFP’s FP&A practice, explained that over the years, sessions in the FP&A track have consisted of a lot of high-level discussion on artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, predictive analytics, and other tools that have been on the horizon. But this year, much of the discussion will be around moving that technology past the concept stage, and using it in the everyday FP&A process, which he sees as an important paradigm shift.

“If you can't make this tactical and implement it, then somebody is going to and they're going to be moving a lot faster than you,” Lapidus said. “The economies of learning are moving much faster than the economies of scale. You've got to keep up, you've got to implement, and you've got to deploy quickly. We don't have a lot of time to have paralysis by analysis and wait to see what is going to shake out.”

Tech-savvy finance professionals surely won’t want to miss the FP&A Luncheon, which will feature a keynote address by Avi Goldfarb, author of “Prediction Machines” and Ellison Professor of Marketing at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. Goldfarb will discuss how the rise of AI and machine learning is dropping the cost of prediction. Attendees will learn how they can help organizations to leverage this revolutionary technology by using basic economic tools, while also providing an actionable framework for success.

Forward-thinking FP&A practitioners will also want to check out the educational session, Finance’s Evolving Role: The Importance of Transformation and Digitization to Finance. This session will look at how finance organizations are being forced to become more technically skilled and knowledgeable, as they turn to new technologies, such as business-process automation, cloud computing, data visualization and advanced analytics.

Also new this year is the AFP Mindshift Stage, which features finance professionals presenting real case studies on how they successfully implemented new technologies. And our Mindshift Keynote, Rana el Kaliouby, PhD, is co-founder and CEO of Affectiva, is a pioneer in the field of artificial emotional intelligence (Emotion AI). Theorizing that empathy is the key to AI truly achieving human trust, el Kaliouby is currently developing software that can detect human emotions and cognitive states. 

FINANCE’S CHANGING ROLE

Finance teams that don’t change with the times run the risk of falling behind. Another session, Earning (& Keeping) a Seat at the ‘Big Kids’ Table: How Finance Has to Adapt to Stay Relevant & In-Demand, looks at how today’s financial professionals are expected to have broad technical expertise, as well business partnering skills and cross-functional knowledge. This session will reveal how that skillset will allow finance to earn and keep a key seat at the decision-making table.

In the session, New Training Tools to Upskill Your Team, attendees will get an inside view into how finance teams can get an established workforce to buy into new technology. Learn how Verizon held small group training sessions, which enabled employees to take an active role in applying digital technology to their jobs.

TIME TO ADAPT

As AFP 2019 speaker Candice Cantelli Meklis, VP LS & FP&A Practice, Archetype Consulting, wrote in a recent blog, finance professionals are in the midst of a revolution. Changes are coming from all angles and if they fail to adapt, they run the risk of being left behind. Events like AFP 2019 can help prevent that from happening. Don’t miss out on your chance to evolve.

The full list of FP&A sessions is available here. Register for AFP 2019 here.