Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Collaborate, Innovate, Grow

Collaborate, Innovate and Grow form the theme of the Maryland Business Expo sponsored by the Maryland Association of CPAs (MACPA) taking place today and tomorrow at the Baltimore Convention Center. The Expo features speakers on current regulatory topics as well as many sessions aimed at answering the question: "How do you position your business and career to grow during the recession?"

NOTE: In related news, see the recent report published by the Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF), the research affiliate of FEI: M&A Plans and Other Strategic Growth Initiatives, which found that financial executives appear cautiously optimistic about the future, and have identified opportunities to gain market share amidst the recession.

FEI Baltimore Chapter, (see this map of all of FEI's chapters) the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, and the Maryland Bankers Association are among associate sponsors of the MdBizExpo, see the MdBizExpo brochure, with further details at http://www.mdbizexpo.com/, including live video, photos and twitter feed.

A number of FEI members are speaking at the MdBizExpo, including Ken Kelly of McCormick, Bob Laux of Microsoft, Tom Foard of Publishers Circulation Fulfillment, and Bob Tarola of Right Advisory LLC. I will be speaking on a panel on Web 2.0 and Social Media tomorrow.

Pictured here L-R at a MACPA dinner last night are MACPA Chairman Art Flach, Partner-in-Charge of Grant Thornton's Baltimore Office, myself, Tom Hood, Executive Director of MACPA, and Bob Tarola, MACPA Rep to the AICPA Council. Tarola, former SVP and CFO of W.R. Grace & Co, and now President of Right Advisory LLC, has served on the PCAOB Standing Advisory Group, and is an FEI member. (See Tarola's 2006 speech to the graduating class of the Fox School of Business at Temple Univ., for his advice to students on lessons learned.)

From Baltimore to the Bellagio
A perfect example of MACPA's cutting edge role in bringing together a diverse group of thought leaders was the virtual program they hosted in Second Life (SL) yesterday. Most of the speakers logged into Second Life from a conference room at the Baltimore Sheraton, and the program was beamed live to the AICPA TechPlus conference taking place at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas.

SL is a virtual platform in which you can create an avatar, interact with others in virtual meetings, conferences, or simulate many kinds of networking, education and interaction you do in every day life. Interest in SL is boooming among young people and educators in particular, as well as professionals interested in an experience that more closely approximates the ambiance of face to face interaction with peers vs. a webcast or conference call.

Also beaming in live to the MACPA program in SL was featured speaker Philip Rosedale, Chairman of Linden Labs, and founder of SL. Others participating in the program included Eric E. Cohen (Otto Chin in SL)- one of the founders of XBRL, Mark Jankowski, (Mark Wizenheim in SL) cofounder and president of the Shapiro Negotiations Institute, and Gail Perry, (Glal Landar in SL), editor of AccountingWeb. I participated in the SL program as well (Edith Osterham in Second Life), here I am pictured next to Francine McKenna, author of the Re: The Auditors Blog, and Skip Falatko, Dir. of Finance and Admin, MACPA. We recently started an FEI group in Second Life (mainly some FEI staff getting acquainted with Second Life), feel free to join the FEI group in Second Life. Read more about yesterday's MACPA-AICPA TechPlus SL program and learn more about SL in MACPA's CPA Island blog. If you are a new visitor to the FEI blog, visit us again at www.financialexecutives.org/blog, and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/feiblog.

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