I started attending CFMA’s Annual Conference & Exhibition in 1997 and noticed something from the very beginning – there were few, if any, sessions applicable to subcontractors or sub-specialty trades. I always referenced this on my Conference evaluation, but to my disappointment, things did not change over the next few years.
When I joined the Conference Planning Task Force in 2006, I asked what percentage of CFMA’s membership was classified as subcontractors. To everyone’s surprise, the number was close to 40%. With this new information, the Task Force made the decision to actively seek and choose more sessions focused on the unique issues facing subcontractors.
With any CFMA education product, if a new topic or direction is identified, a Task Force will usually be formed, and such was the case for sub-specialty. It started with sessions at the Conference, including an early morning Roundtable and one or two sessions led and facilitated by CFOs and CPAs that specialized in this area. At each session, we asked for volunteers to help us form the Task Force, and we were gratified that several raised their hands. Some leaders in the early days, besides myself, were Tammy Potter, Lisa Autino, Pam Hepburn, and Kevin Booth. Though we were a small group, we worked hard and accomplished a solid foundation for the Specialty Trade Committee, which currently has 16 active members.
As we grew in membership, our activity also grew. Our original purpose, session suggestions for the Conference, became our focus. We were allocated a track at the Conference and provided 6-8 sessions every year. We also made topic suggestions for CFMA Webinars and contributed to CFMA Online Courses, while increasing the profile of Talking Trades with the addition of a quarterly article from Anirban Basu, CFMA’s Chief Economist.
Our goal is to provide information to CFMs of specialty trade companies that can be used to assist them in their jobs and thereby help lead their company to further success.
There is always room on this committee for new members. If you are interested in joining the Specialty Trade Committee, please complete the Volunteer Form on CFMA’s website (available by clicking “Join” at cfma.org/committees). We would love to have you!