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CFMA 2013 Annual Conference: What’s In It for Me? April 26, 2013

Posted by carolhagen in construction accounting software, Construction Industry, Construction Industry - Software.
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CFMA conference attendees plan their next moveEach year the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) gathers the best speakers, trending topics and resources together at their annual conference and exhibition.  This year is no exception as many will make the trek to San Diego to reconnect with friends, accumulate needed CPE credits and have fun.  For many CFMA members they have yet to experience all the hoopla and it’s because they don’t have a compelling reason to attend.  They ask themselves “What’s in it for me?” and fail to make the case to themselves or their employers.  Let’s change that now.

The 2013 CFMA conference is going to be EPIC.  Much like coffee shops that jumpstart creativity and innovation, the conference offers many of the same benefits.  To quote Fast Company in their article “Why you should work from a coffee shop, even when you have an office“,

A change of environment stimulates creativity. Even in the most awesome of offices we can fall into a routine, and a routine is the enemy of creativity. Changing your environment, even just for a day, brings new types of input and stimulation, which in turn stimulates creativity and inspiration.

Another conference takeaway, also holds true and is taken from Wikipedia’s English coffee houses in the 17th and 18th century,

… with the intellectual and cultural history of the Age of Enlightenment: they were an alternate sphere for intellectual thought, supplementary to the university.

Yes, the CFMA conference will get you thinking differently,  spark new ideas and offer an open exchange or an “alternative sphere” of financial best practices and innovation.  Your CFMA conference experience promises to be much different than going to a stuffy AICPA course or attending your local university symposium.

A favorite place for idea exchanges are in the exhibitor hall where you can visit the technology, business and financial leaders in the construction industry.  You should be scouring the booths for new apps and more uses for the software products you use now or will use in the future.  I’m especially interested in the improvements and new product acquisitions that bring more mobility to the workforce.  FYI – there’s a LinkedIn Group you may be interested in joining “Construction Apps, Software and Technology” where there’s more discussion year round.   It’s not all about GAAP, as this conference delivers value for operations with solutions eliminating silos between project management, preconstruction, estimating and BIM too. Many firms bring their Chief Information Office or IT department looking specifically for answers to mobile device management, cloud computing, and managed services.

There are many opportunities for connecting with your peers, discussing your challenges and learning how others have solved these same problems.  Take advantage of all the social events as this is often where the magic happens.  You make more than LinkedIn connections, you make lifelong friendships while meeting the cream of the crop in construction finance.  Think of it this way, you may pay consultants $250+/hr for expert opinions and guidance.  The CFMA conference lunches, networking and social activities provide time for mini consultations with speakers, exhibitors, CPAs, and Insurance experts from across the country.  It’s also a good place to find possible “good fits” for joint venture projects.

Isn’t it time for your needed enlightenment? Don’t sit home while your competition gets rejuvenated, makes new connections, learns new approaches and sees the most innovative technologies being deployed by the leaders in the construction industry.  As for me I’ll be there networking, learning, teaching (did I mention I’m speaking Wednesday morning? – Taming the Email Monster) and sharing a few of the great moments of the conference live, as it happens on Twitter @carolhagen (with a brief recap inside the CFMA Connection cafe should you not be able to attend).

To encourage more members to attend CFMA’s 2013 Annual Conference and Exhibition I’m calling upon past attendees to share their experiences in the comments either on this blog or inside the CFMA Connection Cafe on the CFMA website (you’ll need to login to post there)  Will I see you there?

Construction Benchmarks: Technology for Financial Health May 30, 2012

Posted by carolhagen in Construction Industry - Cash Flow Forecasting, Construction Industry - Software.
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Construction Financial Benchmarks: Apples to Apples Comparison

The Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) has a hidden gem that outsiders are unaware of. It’s the Benchmarking Builder, part of the CFMA’s Annual Financial Survey. This serves as a measurement of how you are doing compared to the “Best In Class” construction firms across the United States and provides your firm with goals to strive for. These financial measurements are critical to success for Construction Owners while they face new challenges as the economic recovery kicks into gear.

In a recent ConstructionBusinessOwner.com article entitled, “Benchmark Your Financials: Gain a Competitive Edge Comparing Metrics“, Glenn Wattum, a partner with Moss Adams LLP points out how important benchmark metrics are to the success of your contracting firm. Measuring against peers offers valuable insight for setting strategic goals. There are metrics for Highway/Heavy, General Contracting and Specialty Trades to compare apples to apples in the CFMA Benchmarker.

Why is this in a technology blog? It’s because the Benchmarking Builder is available on-line at www.financialbenchmarker.com. And once registered, you’ll have access to many options and these specific metrics:
CFMA Finacial Benchmark Metrics for Construction Business Owners
No it’s not free and while I’m a member of the CFMA, I was not solicited or paid to write this post. I wrote this in hopes of helping the construction industry become more successful and promoting the importance of networking with your peers. The CFMA is a great organization, has local chapters across the country and the members will tell you that “Building Profits” Magazine alone is worth the price of membership.

Have you used the benchmarker? Why or why not?

Past articles you may also find of interest:

Construction Accounting Software Selection is Strategic

Construction PDFs: How General Contractors Streamline Processes

CFMA Conference Winners Were the Attendees May 19, 2011

Posted by carolhagen in Construction Industry - Software, iPhone, linkedin, Social Media Tools, Twitter.
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The Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA) held their 2011 Annual Conference earlier this week and I must say those attending came out ahead. It’s not just the CPE credits and the speakers, but the networking that goes on that makes this such a success. Here are a few takeaways from the sessions, happenings and social events.

The Chapter Summit was great and packed tightly with discussions, feedback and education. Top challenges for chapters are how to get more butts in seats, increase participation, new member attraction and finding speakers with good topics. I’d be happy to offer my presentation to chapters across the country adding a spin into business development if you need a speaker. Sharing is a big thing in social networking so here’s access to my Leveraging LinkedIn and Social Media for CFMA chapters. I invite everyone to ask questions and/or connect with me on LinkedIn if you need a leg up on how to.

The keynote “connections” address with Marc Scharenbroich was a thunderous success in his approach to being authentic, a good listener and appreciative. His closing Boomba Hey CFMA is on YouTube or you can view it here. I’d recommend reading his book, Nice Bike to reinforce his message and his thank you extends the benefits … proceeds help military families.

For those wanting to know if there was a buzz during the conference may want to review the Twitter stream of #CFMA2011 as there were a few people chatting other than exhibitors. You do not need a Twitter account to view the activity. Just go to http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23cfma2011.

As a techie, I also thoroughly enjoyed the presentation on Smartphones and immediately implemented a mobile app for my own business…it takes up to 14 days to be added to the Android Market so I’ll update this post once it’s live. If it is well received an iPhone version will be out before the end of June. I’ll keep you posted …thank you Jim Spellos for sharing Appsbar.com as a free solution! Jim also shared info on augmented reality using the layars app and for those firms or individuals that need to read signs in Spanish you should checkout the iPhone app “Word Lens” from Questvisual.com …it will blow your mind!

I made new friends and connected with controllers, CPAs, and exhibitors from across the country. We danced, sang, shared stories, broke bread and had deep discussions. Special thanks go to Sue Marion and Amy Hanagan for making my stay fun, Diedre Aldous for our Main Street Days activities, Dina O’Rourke for keeping the CFMA engine running, John Corocoran for involving me in Chapter Summit and the exhibitors for sponsoring keynotes, meals, entertainments, etc …as catching up with friends but once a year is made sweeter by your generosity. To everyone I met “Nice Bike”.

I’ve left a few holes for those in attendance to share their experiences, education and networking stories. Feel free to share these construction education gems and also share your own by adding comments and sharing this with others.

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