Another week, another different location for me. This time, it was to head down to London for the opportunity to attend the Export Credit Forum – my first event with Forums International, with whom Esker have recently partnered.
Seems to be a recurring theme at the moment with me and issues when travelling places for work, and this trip was no exception.
All fine, albeit with a 5:30am start to catch the train and the customary delay on the railways, arriving into London a little behind schedule.
No matter though, the venue was a mere two stops away on the underground, so an easy connection one would think………
Signal failure on my line at the next station meant that the trains weren’t leaving on time, or not at all and the ones that were, meant that each train was absolutely packed full. Just what you want to start your day off!
Eventually though, I had made it and one thing I will say is that the event location was absolutely superb. Literally a minute walk from the Barbican underground station and I know a few of the attendees took the opportunity to walk from various other stations across the city, given it was an easy location to find.
It was great to meet Laurie Beagle and Lynn Christon (Directors of Forums International), who were there to greet me and help me setup for the day. The other attendees/speakers then soon started to arrive, (some of which had similar travel troubles to myself) and there was a great array of different companies and industries in attendance – all with great input on the various discussions that were in the morning’s workshop sessions.
I was able to have some really insightful conversations with some of those attending the forum, discussing various challenges they face in collections management and potential reasons behind it – which were very useful to use with my own experiences.
Dealing with export territories on a day to day basis from a technology point of view, you do get a feel of where certain challenges may lie, but it was great to learn more about the issues/concerns from other areas/viewpoints. The presentation given by #Marsh was particularly enlightening, in terms of the different locations and risks on trading in certain countries – a few of which seemed to be a common theme across different industries – which is always useful to know.
#Baker-Ing delivered a great session to kick-start the afternoon session, highlighting the various challenges when exporting & trading with different and “difficult” territories and why we need to be aware of these – but also how we can look to combat them. It was actually a really good segway into the session I was to deliver afterwards, approaching these challenges from a technology point of view and highlighting why we need capabilities that companies like Esker can offer, in order to have a successful collections process and to be able to trade with different countries – some of which could be hard to reach and culturally unique.
It was very useful for me to convey the reasons behind why technology is required these days to begin the collections process, with particular emphasis of the compliance element, that is required by law in many European countries, in order to invoice legally. This means that collections is now at the point where it effectively is reliant upon technology in some parts of the process – which is a key message and something I hope was clear during my session.
I like to think that the group saw benefit in what I was presenting and that there was some useful take-home messages that could be applied to help improve their own processes plus other benefits that they can look to implement in order to overcome certain challenges they are facing. It was great to get such positive feedback and share thoughts/ideas, particularly as it’s my first time speaking at one of these events.
All in all, my first time attending the forum was very insightful and I met with some great people, who I intend to stay in contact with. Excellent event that was well run by Laurie and the team at Forums International and I’m very much looking forward to attending and/or presenting again at the next one on 24th September in Warwickshire (assuming Laurie allows me back if my football team, Liverpool F.C. beats his team, Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League final) .