Keeping CFOs on Their ToesBy Garry Bartecki
Article Date: 06-01-2008
Copyright(C) 2008 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.
From taxes and accounting to economy, fraud and health care, AED's biannual conference is a lively, productive meeting for dealer peers.
I once again had the privilege of presenting AED's annual CFO Conference sponsored by BDO Seidman, LLP. We have been offering this program over the last five years with two presentations a year, one in Chicago and one in an alternate U.S. city. The program is geared to industrial and construction equipment dealer CFOs, but we also welcome dealer CEOs and COOs. The meeting content is such that most upper management levels will take away valuable thoughts or material to help improve dealer results. This two-day program offers 11 to 15 CPE hours (for the CFO types) and also provides the opportunity to network and openly discuss dealer tax, accounting, financing, operations and other material areas of concern such as health care cost, fraud, operating costs, and general insurance. We limit attendance to between 25 and 30 participants to stimulate discussion and group interaction. So far, the conference has been a very rewarding experience with plenty of repeat business, hopefully returning for the experience and not to just get out of the office!Just so you don't think the participants just sit around talking about accounting and auditing, let me provide you with a brief description of how the program works. We start early and go late, although I do have to admit there is a cocktail hour at the end of the first day. This year, we provided three workshops as part of the program to keep everybody on their toes. We do these either individually or by dividing the group into teams.We started with a tax workshop specifically geared to dealers and one of the IRS's latest hot tax topic: a dealer's 263a inventory adjustment. The 263a adjustment is one of those issues where you want to prepare your own calculation to provide to the IRS and not the other way around. We went through the exercise and discussed ways to reduce the adjustment. We will also provide a template that CFOs can use to help reduce their time commitment regarding this issue.AED is also investigating dealer simulation workshops as a means to educate dealer management on ways to properly manage the dealership to maximize operating results and return on equity. We had the group participate in a brief introduction into this program, which included two quizzes featuring electronic response mechanisms to record attendees' answers. A one-day pilot program to introduce the full program is scheduled in Chicago on May 16, which will have occurred before you read this - if there is interest, however, we could provide another.
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