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Pinnacle Awards: Five Ways to Make Your Submission Stand Out

  • By Staff Writers
  • Published: 4/24/2015

In their 16-year history, the annual AFP Pinnacle Awards for excellence in treasury and finance have received many submissions—some good and some not-so-good. Many fall somewhere in between, with a good story obscured by a problematic entry.

Here is a prime example of a good submission. In this exclusive video, Sassan Parandeh, CTP, Global Treasurer for ChildFund International, explains how his treasury team rolled out a custom mobile payments program for handling payroll in remote and dangerous areas. ChildFund's solution won the 2014 AFP Pinnacle Award Grand Prize.



How to Make Your Submission Stand Out

Tom Hunt, CTP, AFP’s Director of Treasury, offers treasury and finance professionals some tips to make their Pinnacle Awards submission as strong as possible. The AFP Pinnacle Awards are sponsored by Wells Fargo.

Be clear and concise. “A good Pinnacle submission is all about good business writing,” said Hunt. “It needs to state the case as plainly as possible. Describe the problem, the solution, your goals and how you achieved them. The submissions also need to fall within the recommended word count and character limit. The judges have told me that submissions that are too wordy don’t impress them. The entries are being reviewed by a panel of volunteer judges so being as clear and concise as possible in describing your situation helps the judging process run efficiently.”

Articulate the impact on your company and treasury department. “You have to explain how your submission made a difference and what makes it stand out from other submissions,” said Hunt. “Sometimes we see submissions that fail to explain how it helped the organization. Results matter.”

Utilize the Official Entry Form. “Only use the online form found at AFP’s website—no additional forms, PowerPoint presentations or follow-up phone calls to expand on your entry,” said Hunt. “That’s not fair to the submissions that followed the rules and deadlines and it makes the judging process more difficult.”

No turnkey solutions, please. “We’re looking for a solution that is not off-the-shelf,” said Hunt. “This is probably the area we receive the most questions about.  A turnkey solution by definition is a product or service implemented with little to no customization internally to the company or from the provider.
What made your solution unique? Why was it right for you? You probably had other options; why did you choose this particular path and how did you customize it?”

Highlight the innovation. “Check to see if this solution has been done before elsewhere,” said Hunt. “If it has, your submission needs to be different in some way or the judges will notice. Ask yourself: ‘Does it elevate the profession or identify your company as an innovator?’ If so, it’s probably a strong submission.”

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