For the past 4 years I have been lucky enough to attend the Institute of Financial Ops annual Fusion event. This year it’s in Dallas and besides the great weather, it’s already shaping up to be a great event. For those of you who don’t know Financial Ops, this is how they describe themselves: “The Institute of Financial Operations is a membership-based professional association serving the entire financial operations ecosystem, with a particular focus on the accounts payable and accounts receivable disciplines and the related fields of information management and data capture. The Institute grew out of the merger of four associations: International Accounts Payable Professionals (IAPP), International Accounts Receivable Professionals (IARP), the National Association of Purchasing and Payables (NAPP), and The Association for Work Process Improvement (TAWPI).”
Financial Ops has some 60,000 members within the finance community and this particular event is a really exciting get together for the group. I like to come for two reasons. First, the quality and variety of the educational sessions is impressive. Each day of the 3 day event has educational breakout sessions with multiple options (and by multiple, I mean 10-15 different options for each session slot). So regardless of who you are, there is always something interesting to see. This year my focus has been on payments, electronic payment options and how companies are engaging the different options to support their payment strategies – lots of really interesting sessions so far. The second reason I like to come to Fusion is the people. You would expect I’m primarily interested in Fusion as a lead generating event and it’s true, that is in part why any vendor (such as Basware) sponsors such events, but Fusion is great because you also get to meet other vendors. It’s actually a great networking event and there are opportunities to chat with companies who would be potentially partners, companies that are clearly competitors and of course, those who could be customers.
If you go to Fusion for a number of years, you start to see trends. The trends are in the market but of course, the vendors make them highly visible in the form of banners, messages and various promotions. The hot topic this year is electronic payments and more specifically, how virtual cards are being used to streamline this part of the process. The fact that Basware and MasterCard have teamed up to provide buyers and suppliers a new way to pay and get paid means our customers will get a complimentary service that really extends the value of our AP automation solutions and the Basware Network. It’s an exciting solution space to be in and I look forward to writing more blog posts on the topic.
At the moment of writing this, it’s late and I need to go to bed as I have a busy day tomorrow. Many interesting sessions to sit in on and learn. In addition, I’m delivering a session with Vincent Lapras (MasterCard) on epayments and supply chain finance options – it should be good.