Collaboration is one of the keys to staying ahead of the competition in various industries, especially in finance, with its ever-changing landscape in governmental regulation.
This is a major reason why Jason Blake, senior vice president and chief financial officer of Associated Equipment Distributors, decided to create a finance special interest group that would convene every quarter.
"(At many companies), the financial leader is often the next person in line (after the CEO), but there's no venue to collaborate," Blake said. "I really want to build a venue where financial leaders of dealerships can come together and collaborate (on) three or four key elements they can take home and utilize in their work. Even when I go to conferences, it's really important to come away with something I can implement in the everyday work process."
Blake got the idea to create the group after AED’s Financial Symposium was held in Memphis in April, during which there were breakout sessions, each consisting of around 50 individuals who work in the finance industry. They engaged in an open conversation that covered a range of topics and addressed many of the daily struggles they have encountered on the job.
The new special-interest group is open to any AED member with responsibility or interest in dealer financial operation issues, including CFOs, CPAs, credit and finance managers, and tax professionals. It will meet three to four times a year at AED functions and during special meetings established by AED.
The first meeting, which will revolve around advocacy and current topics affecting the industry, will be held in Washington, D.C., at the Willard InterContinental, Oct. 21-23. Attendees will learn about the best ways to meet with members of Congress and obtain information on important infrastructure issues, tax issues impacting equipment-dealer operations, major political issues affecting the decision-making process of financial specialists and how to secure company assets in the digital age.
Speakers participating in the event include U.S. Reps. Reid Ribble (R-WI) and Peter Roskam (R-IL), as well as representatives from AED's Government Affairs office.
The inaugural meeting will include several networking events, as another goal of the group is to encourage AED members to develop relationships with others to share insight on their experiences in the industry, as well as assist each other when it comes to dealing with difficult scenarios.
"When a group of finance people are together, they can talk the same talk," Blake said. "A lot of times, we learn by collaboration ... working together, building relationships and bonds."