Finance/HR Symposium Recap | Tuesday, June 29

Napa Valley in California Wine Country is one of the world’s famous wine regions for wine tasting, wine tours, eating at Michelin star restaurants, and staying. But that’s not the only thing taking place in Napa, and this year AED hosted its 2021 Financial/HR Symposium, where attendees earned and learned. In-person financial attendees received 8 CPE credit hours (Continuing Education credits sponsored by K•Coe Isom, LLC through K·Coe Isom University), and HR attendees received 9.5 PDCs for the SHRM- CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM. 

The conference kicked off with breakfast and registration, followed by a welcome and announcements from AED’s president and CEO, Brian P. McGuire. Afterward, the day broke out into finance and HR sessions for attendees.  

Finance Education Sessions:   

The first finance session of the day, Maximize Growth: Get Sales and Finance in Sync, began at 9:00 AM and was hosted by Ed Wallace of Relations Capital Group. Wallace discussed the tense relationship that sales and finance departments often have with each other but asserted that the two must work together to better the business. Wallace highlighted his four key strategies to do this, which included: Closing the cultural gap between sales and finance, improving forecast accuracy by looking at relationship strength, focusing on key strategic relationships and investing in sales and development. BKD CPAs and Advisors sponsored the session.  

After a short break, finance sessions continued with an Economic Outlook session hosted by Bob Dieli of MacKay and Company. Dieli discussed the effects of the pandemic and what it means for the future of the equipment industry.  

The following finance session was hosted by Dick Stewart of Stewart Consulting, titled Lessons Learned from 2020: A CODB Analysis. In this session, Stewart reviewed the 2021 Cost of Doing Business Report results to help attendees compare how their business performed compared to others in the industry.  

After lunch, sessions picked back up, with a session with Nick Araco of AchieveNEXT, titled A Year of r(Evolution) for Finance. Araco brought up various discussion topics, including key financial issues like what technological investments are worth the cost for your business and obstacles to obtaining the next level of technology (whether money, talent or something else).  

A short break followed, and sessions continued with Plenty to Wine About; The Tax Debate in Washington hosted by Daniel B. Fisher of AED and Beth Swanson of KCoe Isom. The pair discussed President Biden’s plans to make changes to the tax code and the impact that this could have on industry members and what AED is doing to combat the tax increases that will affect AED dealer members.  

Tuesday’s Final session was Dick Stewart of Stewart Consulting’s second session of the day, Looking to the Future: Revenue Optimization for Today and Beyond. In this session, Stewart demonstrated to attendees how to analyze a dealership’s line of business revenue mix and growth rates. Stewart details how a dealership can gain wallet share from its existing customers and prevent these customers from turning to competitors for business.  

HR Sessions:  

After breakfast, the first HR session began with Nick Araco of AchieveNEXT, titled A Year of r(Evolution) for HR. Araco discussed how to attract top talent, decide what tech investments to make for your company and obstacles to reaching the next level of technology.  

After the first session, attendees took a quick break before heading to the second session, Marijuana Legalization and Your Dealership – Are You Prepared? Held by Mark Kimzey of Kopon Airdo, LLC. In this session, Kimzey focused on complying with laws at the federal, state and local levels and other legal issues surrounding marijuana, such as workplace drug policies and drug testing.  

Who’s Up Next? Seth McColley of Kirby-Smith Machinery hosted bench Planning and Creating Sustainability in Your Organization, Inc. McColley discussed bench planning, including its importance, why it is essential to an organization and how to do it.  

Attendees took an hour for lunch and attended the afternoon’s first session, Expand Your Influence Across the C-Suite, with Ed Wallace of Relational Capital Group, sponsored by BKD CPAs and Advisors. Wallace provided insight to HR attendees on advancing their careers, including information on how to think about relationships intentionally and how to analyze your value proposition.  

The following session focused on How HR Leaders Can Build Coaching Skills in Managers hosted by Marcy Brajkovic of Chatfield Global. In this session, Brajkovic provided methods for HR managers to help coach department managers to lead their departments effectively.  

The last HR session of the day was a roundtable collaboration moderated by Seth McColley. The discussion focused on hot topics involving HR, including challenges and industry trends affecting those involved in the department in this roundtable.  

In the evening, all attendees gathered in the Redwood Courtyard for a reception to conclude the night, thanks to our sponsor, Sentry Insurance. That’s all for the first day of educational sessions at AED’s 2021 Finance and HR Symposium; check in tomorrow for a recap of Wednesday’s sessions!  


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