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Key Takeaways From CFMA’s 2023 Annual Conference

The CFMA’s 2023 annual conference offered insights into issues affecting the construction industry. Read on for details.
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The Construction Financial Management Association’s (CFMA) 2023 Annual Conference drew record attendance at the stunning Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center in Aurora, Colorado. The five-day event in July had a “mountain of opportunities” for participants to connect with others and learn from many speakers on issues ranging from human resources to leadership. There were weekend sessions for potential candidates to learn about different topics on the Certified Construction Industry Financial Professional (CCIFP®) certification exam. The opening general speaker was author Cheryl Cran, who had some very interesting insights into the future of our work. COVID-19 has left a permanent mark on our everyday life as individuals reprioritize. It’s caused leaders to re-evaluate what “work” looks like to be successful in the future.

Anirban Basu, Associated Builders and Contractors’ chief economist, led us through his jam-packed presentation on the current economy in his traditional themed manner, titled “Show Me the Money (Supply).” He covered various economic topics within the construction industry along with discussing the potential impact of the recent banking crisis.

Here are some of our takeaways from the event:

  1. Anirban Basu – The construction industry is still going strong, but caution should be heeded as there is a labor shortage for work. There is potential for a recession in 2023.  
    1. There is a shortage of male workers ages 16–34, while more women join the workforce. 
    2. Inflation declined to 6% for all items, but it remains high with energy leading. 
    3. The demand for remote jobs is hurting construction’s efforts to attract younger talent. 
  2. Panel Discussion: Managing the Challenges of the Modern Specialty Trade CFO – The role of a CFO in a specialty trade organization can vary greatly. The panelists—including a CFO from an electric, mechanical, plumbing, and roofing subcontractor—shared their experiences and challenges, as well as tips from their own success stories.
  3. Panel Discussion: Succession Planning for Specialty Trade Internal Accounting Group – In a tight hiring market, it’s wise to start looking for your replacement sooner than you may think. As discussed in this session, continuity in the internal accounting department is critical. It must be done through a thoughtful and thorough process, either by recruiting from the internal team or the external market. The panelists discussed their experiences as they walked through their own succession planning process.
  4. Panel Discussion: Income Tax Essentials for Construction Companies – Construction companies can face an extremely complex federal and state income tax environment. Unlike other industries, construction companies have many planning opportunities by way of accounting methods, deductions, and credits. It’s critical that companies and their advisors understand the legislative and regulatory requirements and updates to help ensure efficient and effective compliance, minimizing taxes and maximizing the bottom line.
  5. Making Your Conversations Memorable – Speaker Anthony Huey had some great points to consider when delivering a message. Typically, people are likely only to remember 20% of your message, so end with what you want them to take away. 

Networking opportunities were abundant, allowing construction company representatives from across the country to connect with others in the industry and form meaningful business relationships. We look forward to attending next year’s conference.

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