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Are You Financially Fluent?

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For the past several years, there has been a lot of talk about meeting professionals getting a seat at the table. If you are on the planning side of our industry, there is an expectation that you are well versed in both the strategic and tactical aspects of planning meetings and events. Likewise, for those of you on the supplier side of business, the expectation is that you possess the requisite skills to perform your job with competence. You may excel at your job because of those proficiencies. However, will they get you that seat at the table or the next level up within your organization?

For the most part, finance sessions at industry meetings focus almost exclusively on some aspect of budgeting. There is no doubt that budgeting is an important function for all. CIC, through its signature event CMP Conclave, however, is raising the bar this September and challenges attendees to participate in Financial Fluency for Meeting Professionals on Sunday, September 7, 2014, from 2:45 p.m. to 4 p.m. Those who attend this session have the opportunity to expand their knowledge of business finance, a key asset when communicating with organizational leaders. 

Consider the following true story: A hotel promotes its well-respected Director of Sales to Executive Vice President of Sales, filling a void left by the sudden departure of her predecessor. She is a bright, well-educated and an experienced hospitality industry veteran. Assuming her new role just two months before the property's annual budgeting process becomes problematic, as her predecessor has left no information on budgeting processes. The property itself holds all of its financial dealings close to the vest, sharing only with those at the executive level. For the first two months in her new position, her steep learning curve means long days and nights gaining an understanding of areas of finance previously unknown to her. She did it, she is excelling at her job, but on reflection, she wishes she had had somewhere to turn to help in her upward transition.

Fast forward to a conversation between two industry professionals, lamenting that most people in our industry are neither exposed nor understand why it is so important for meeting professionals, particularly those interested in career advancement to understand more about finance than just budget preparation and maintenance. Thus, the Financial Fluency session was created for the 2014 Conclave. Conclave attendees have many quality choices. Finance is a dry topic, but this session promises to be anything but boring. We will move at a fast pace and will ask you to come to the session having downloaded and at least skimmed the contents of the handouts.  

For those who are responsible for planning meetings and events, ask yourself the following:
  1. Can you explain to the C-suite in your organization the monetary value that the meetings and events you are responsible for contribute to the organization’s bottom line?
  2. If you believe that a current meeting or event has outlived its purpose, could you demonstrate to the C-suite (or the CFO), using financial data to support your position?
  3. If you wanted to purchase a new software for your meetings department that was not included in the current year’s fiscal budget, do you know that there is more than one type of budget in many organizations and funds may still be available to make your department more efficiently?
For those involved in any type of venue sales – facilities and lodging – ask yourself the following:
  1. Does your knowledge of your organization’s operations lie solely in areas affecting sales?
  2. How well do you comprehend how other departments operate and how each contributes to the overall success of your property or organization?
  3. Do you know the difference between horizontal and vertical analysis? Which would you use to analyze trend data?
If you are able to answer the questions above, then the financial fluency session is not for you. However, if you find yourself unable to answer any or all of them, then join us on September 7, 2014, participate fully, and leave with confidence that you are well on your way to financial fluency.

In the time allotted for this session, we cannot possibly deep dive in every area we think you need to know about.  However, we do hope we can move this conversation beyond budgeting and towards a learning experience that aids you personally and professionally.

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The Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) is a
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