“The past year has been far from an ordinary one,” Susan Glass, CTP, treasury operations manager at Euronet Worldwide, Inc. said. “The payments industry has not been static, nor have our processes and practices. Searching for new solutions to complete the required daily blocking and tackling aspects of our jobs in, at times, a remote environment became an immediate priority. Many corporates were required to make critical decisions regarding the handling of cash, and the continuing issuance of and receiving of checks. Companies further examined workflow, technology solutions, and straight through processing opportunities in earnest.
“Change is a constant, and we must be able to readily adapt to take advantage of the tools and services available to us to help meet future challenges, as well as to benefit from the opportunities of tomorrow.”
Glass is also a member of AFP 2021 Payments Task Force, the group of volunteers tasked with selecting content most relevant, timely and useful to treasury and finance practitioners attending the annual conference. We recently caught up with Glass to discuss what the task force has planned for the payments track, and what she is personally most looking forward to about attending AFP 2021.
AFP: As a member of the AFP 2021 Payments Task Force, describe the process for building the agenda and selecting the content for the conference.
Glass: The AFP 2021 Conference Planning Task Force, which is made up of volunteer members, is charged with reviewing and ultimately selecting the sessions that are offered at the conference. Each task force member is assigned proposals to review for at least one track. Session tracks include treasury management, financial planning and analysis, payments, risk management, career development, and capital markets and investments. Task force members review and discuss each proposal within their track in great detail to determine collectively which sessions will provide the most compelling product offering at the conference.
We also discuss if a session proposal may be enhanced by the addition of a corporate practitioner to a panel discussion or by improving key takeaways. The unique and timely topics matter most to corporate practitioners, as well as the ones that convey value-added propositions for attendees, demonstrate best practices, and identify success stories and stumbling blocks of certain processes and practices, to name some of the criteria examined.
Innovation is another angle from which a proposal is reviewed, as is ensuring a diverse slate of topics and presenters are included within each track — and across all tracks. The role of a task force member is of paramount importance as we strive to best meet the needs of AFP members at the conference.
AFP: What is a common theme or issue within the payments track?
Glass: Ultimately, the most common themes in the payments track are about how risk within the payments category may be mitigated, how best practice solutions or practices may be implemented, how cost reductions may be secured, how payments may be most efficiently processed, how workflow may be best established, and how regulatory changes impact the payments landscape.
AFP: Did you attend last year’s AFP 2020 Virtual Experience? If so, please share your experience or any tips for attending a meeting virtually.
Glass: I did. The virtual aspect of the conference allowed me the opportunity to view both live and recorded sessions. This eliminated the in-person conference conflict of having to choose between sessions of great interest offered at the same time. It also allowed me to view sessions on my own time — one that did not conflict with my busy work schedule. Recorded sessions were even available for viewing well after the conference, which provided an additional benefit. There was no need to rush the viewing, learning and earning of the CTP credentials.
The AFP 2020 Virtual Experience was certainly a unique conference, and one that continued the tremendous tradition of AFP providing attendees value-added learning, best practice awareness, vendor and service provider availability, and networking opportunities.
AFP: How can attendees bring the education they learn at AFP 2021 back to their organizations?
Glass: It is easy for attendees to take notes and share the knowledge they gained at conference with those they work with. They can discuss best practices, and how to implement technology solutions, reduce risk, create efficiencies, and better manage costs. They must discuss current state pain points within their organization and how each may be mitigated or resolved. Attendees will gain a wealth of knowledge at the conference. Share it with others to benefit your organization more greatly than what you could possibly do on your own.
AFP: How has attending these annual meetings benefited you in your career?
Glass: I have strengthened my strategic and operational knowledge of the treasury and financial industry by attending these meetings. I have furthered my understanding of regulatory matters, financial markets, best practices and technology solutions. I have also become a part of a strong network of corporate practitioners. The knowledge and relations that have been gained through my association with AFP, and by attending their annual conference, has greatly benefited my career.
AFP: What are you most looking forward to with meeting in person this year?
Glass: I am so excited about the opportunity to step away from all discussions being held on Microsoft Teams or Zoom calls and actually meet with service providers and other corporates in person! I look forward to furthering my knowledge through the richness of the discussions that occur in each session and in the Exhibitor Hall. Meaningful expertise may also be gained via impromptu conversations held in the hallways, both with established relations and new ones. Attendees generally have a strong thirst to learn and a willingness to share. AFP’s in-person conference provides the ultimate forum for such active engagement. One can meet with banks, other service providers, and fellow corporate practitioners under the convenience of one roof.
AFP 2021, an integrated in-person and virtual event, takes place Nov. 7-10 in Washington, D.C. Attendees will be provided with a diverse education around payments, including faster payments strategy, integrating card and digital payments, managing and preventing payment fraud, the power of ACH payments, and more. Register here. And, coming next week: the AFP 2021 conference brochure, offering you a preview to all the excitement, innovation and education that awaits you in the district this November. Watch for it!