Another year, another amazing national conference for the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA). CFMA’s 2018 Annual Conference & Exhibition, held June 23-27 in Miami Beach brought members from CFMA chapters across North America together for five days of valuable educational and networking opportunities.

For me, CFMA’s annual conference is one of the highlights of the year. A longtime supporter of and collaborator with the CFMA, I was honored to be named the organization’s secretary earlier this year. The CFMA and Viewpoint share a common goal: transforming the construction industry and supporting its continued growth and success through continuing education, collaboration and innovation.

Those themes were well represented at this year’s national conference, as CFMA members demonstrated strong, collective dedication to technology and collaborative processes to improve their organizations.

Collaboration

This year’s conference theme, “Reach Out, Branch Out, Top Out” speaks to the heart of the construction industry’s collaboration efforts. More and more these days, contractors are working together, sharing ideas and innovations, helping each other grow into leaders and achieve new successes. That’s where organizations like CFMA play a vital part – connecting these forward-thinking minds together to help drive the industry’s future growth.

Internally, collaboration is a huge deal for contractors as well. By improving project collaboration across entire teams, contractors are building bigger and better projects, quicker and more efficiently. To do this, contractors are recognizing that they need to standardize the data they work with across all departments, put the right collaborative tools and processes in place to keep everyone informed and take advantage of modern technologies like cloud computing and integrated software in order to easily work with large, extended project teams in real time – with access no matter where work takes them.

One of the challenges to improving collaboration that contractors still face is how to wean their workers off manual processes and familiar, but limited software programs or spreadsheets. These tools and processes might have allowed them to get by and get work done (in compartmentalized silos) but they are not sustainable as today’s business environment changes around them.

Technology

When it comes to technology, changing the way something has always been done can be hard, but when folks realize just how much better their lives and their work can be, it can be like turning on a light in a dark room. Sometimes, it may take a little push or two – a forward-thinking contractor effectively communicating the benefits to its workers and enforcing using new technologies once changes are made.

Thankfully, there was no short supply of forward-thinking attendees at this year’s conference. Contractors were very interested in implementing the latest project and financial management software solutions that exhibitors had to offer, with cloud-based technologies getting the most attention.

Viewpoint’s own Construction Technology Forum during the conference was especially well attended. Both clients and prospective clients were happy to hear about all of the advancements we’ve made with our Viewpoint Team™ and Viewpoint Field View™ products. The ability to share data seamlessly between the field and office, and across entire project teams in real time are really helping clients boost productivity and profitability.

Our Keystyle portals, which include interactive HR management, project financial solutions and intuitive tools to share data between the field and office, were also a big hit, as attendees noted these were the types of solutions they were eager to adopt to further drive real-time collaboration.

Leading Industry Education and Initiatives

The CFMA, now in its 37th year, is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the educational needs of today’s construction financial professionals. Both at the national level and with the many regional events held each year, education is at the core of CFMA’s mission. From live courses and webinars that offer Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits to the CCIFP certification program, there is no other place where our industry’s financial professionals can receive the education and training they need to advance themselves and their organizations forward.

The CFMA has also been a leader in industry initiatives as well. From legislative work on revenue recognition, FASB and other tax issues to providing key financial indicators and industry benchmarks to the association’s Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention, CFMA and its members are helping to pave a better path for construction’s future.

Calvin Beyer of Lakeside Industries, a Viewpoint client and member of CFMA’s Puget Sound chapter, was honored at the national conference as the 2018 Chairman’s Award winner. His tireless work with the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention since its 2015 inception has helped grow this initiative into one of the most important movements in the construction industry.

If you’re unfamiliar with the work of CFMA, learn more here. Or, if you’d like to learn more about how Viewpoint can help transform your company by connecting your Office, Team and Field with integrated construction technologies, visit our website: www.viewpoint.com.

Philip Zak, CCIFP, CPA, has worked with the construction industry for more than 25 years providing various accounting, project management and advisory services. Out of college, Phil worked as a Well Serviceman, Landman and Financial Analyst in the Oil & Gas Industry. Phil joined Viewpoint in 2013 where he helps clients with Financial, Equipment and Job Cost Reporting along with workflow and process improvement to achieve those reporting goals. He has assisted several hundred companies in the selection and implementation of accounting and project management software. He has spoken at the CFMA, AGC and AICPA National Construction Conferences on Software and IT Strategy as well as Projected Final Costs, DOL Compliance and Reducing Labor Costs on Davis-Bacon Jobs, BIM, Lean Accounting for Construction, Workflow and Process Improvement.

A licensed CPA in Ohio and Colorado, Phil has a Masters in Accounting. Phil is a Past Chairman of ICCIFP (Institute of Certified Construction Industry Financial Professionals) and currently serves as Secretary for CFMA.

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