I'm willing to go on record with my statement … AFP 2022 was the best finance conference that I have been to in my career.
I've been to other conferences before, once even as a distinguished guest, and my feeling leaving those conferences was always "meh." Sure, there was lots to do and see, but I just didn't see the value in those other conferences. And if I had the choice to attend one of them again with my own money, I would pass.
AFP 2022 was different. Again, I found myself with ample opportunities to choose where to go and what to do next. But the decision to go to one event over another was often gut-wrenching — the programs were all excellent.
Practicality with Depth
What I appreciated most about AFP 2022 was its focus on practicality — with depth. The presenters used common-sense language and real-life application examples to explain ideas that had been mostly theory up to this point.
In the span of 60-80 minutes, the speakers were able to explain the problems they faced, share how they solved those problems, and paint a picture of how audience members can take these learnings back to their organizations and work.
For example, in one of my favorite sessions, the speaker Carl Seidman shared his experience working with clients to solve the challenge of quantifying the value of major projects. He described the dos and don’ts and gave several approaches to tackling the challenge.
Variety of Content
During my three days at AFP 2022, I went beyond solely FP&A-focused events to also experience career development and leadership sessions, as well as a treasury seminar. To top off each day, I attended the fantastic keynotes, which left me with a powerful theme to contemplate. All the sessions were interesting and valuable.
I also appreciated the variety in session formats — from sessions in large conference rooms with a stage, mics and cameras, to intimate roundtable events with 30 people in a room, where I could discuss things and learn from the 7-8 others at my table.
In one roundtable, I had the opportunity to talk to other FP&A professionals about some of the challenges we have faced in our work and how we were able to do better with less. This led to an engaging discussion with the entire group where we noticed common themes. The two moderators spoke about their experiences related to these themes and gave recommendations for working through these pain points.
Perhaps one of my favorite parts of the conference was the opportunity to make real connections with other individuals in the profession. At other conferences, I've felt like a number floating through a crowd.
However, at AFP 2022, the breaks interspersed between sessions gave attendees a chance to converse with each other over refreshments. Because of the way conference attendees were identified before the event, as well as easy-to-spot name badges, I could find people I knew of but never had a real chance to sit down and speak with.
For example, I got to meet up with a group of influencers in the FP&A space — people I was used to interacting with online rather than in person. I was also able to have lunch with Carl Seidman (whose session I had attended earlier in the day). We had a really meaningful conversation, and for me, it was a chance to learn about his background and get his perspective on opportunities in the FP&A space.
What’s Next? AFP 2023!
As you can tell, I have nothing but good things to say about AFP 2022. Hope to see you in San Diego at AFP 2023!
Registration for AFP 2023 is now open.