Day two of the ACT Annual Conference 2017 saw us off to a flyer in a busy talkingtreasury session but the 8am start might have defeated a few people! It was just a taster of what was to come. Anyone who thought that they were in for a couple of quiet days out of the office will have found themselves sorely tested. But then that’s the point: you can’t ever have too many interesting topics, too many knowledgeable speakers and too many bacon rolls. Well, perhaps one too many bacon rolls!
Our opening keynote, Alex Tatham from Westcoast, challenged treasurers to be disruptive in their organisations in order to stimulate innovation. The message was clear: if we don’t someone else will!
Having looked closely at uncertainty, today’s focus was on opportunity. Whether in emerging markets, money market fund reform, pensions challenges or embracing diversity, we were asking ourselves a difficult question: how do we help our organisations reap the benefits of uncertainty? The key issue? Can treasurers deliver strategic leadership alongside keeping the lights on. Our new research, The Business of Treasury, says not only is that happening but in an increasingly wide range of business areas. By visiting www.treasurers.org/treasurytrends readers can register for the full report which is published in June. The ACT’s CEO, Caroline Stockmann, gave delegates direct but straightforward advice on how to make their presence felt:
“[Boards] will respond to treasurers who can explain things in a calm, considered manner, relating it to the business… they want the truth and reassurance. So bring the challenges, but also the solutions to them”
Our ever popular Question Time panel, led entertainingly and with skill and humour by self-styled ‘news anchor’, the BBC’s Huw Edwards, dealt in no uncertain terms with Bexit, President Trump, growth and sustainability, holding our politicians to account.
The tour de force for the day though, was our closing keynote speaker, Leo Johnson. Yes, from that family but no, not one of the political ones. Leo took us on a journey through what the world might look like in the next 10, 20, 30 or even 50 years.
And indeed whether a child born today in Manchester would live to be 150 – albeit in a commune on Mars! All this served up with the trademark male Johnson brushing of a mop of hair from his face! Terrific fun!
Your correspondent isn’t usually given to wistfulness, but in the event this is his last Annual Conference, I couldn’t have wished to have worked with a better ACT team or chaired a more vital conference.