Wednesday, June 10, 2009

90th IMA Conference: Day 4 and Out--Leaders in Government and in Business

The final day of the IMA conference started with a presentation by Lindsey Piegza on Economic Outlook: Foundations for Recovery. She looks at the present situation and says that the primary reason for slight improvement in the economy is a massive increase in government spending; unfortunately, she warns, this is not sustainable unless the private sector gets healthier. She believed that the deficit and debt may be a political issue in 2010 and must be addressed no later than 2011. She pointed out that housing prices were still weak and that this would dampen realistic short-term prospects for consumer spending growth; even more damaging would be a increase in long-term interest rates in the near future. She sees deflation as possible in the second half of this year and believes that inflation is a danger in 2012 (about two years after my projected risk of inflation). While holding out some hope for a solid recovery; she seems to believe that a short recovery would be followed by a return to recession. During question period, she seemed to support an investment tax credit or similar stimulus to investment and encouraged businesses to try to effectively pursue exports.

The final IMA conference session was on developing leadership. Peter Brewer and a panel of three: young professional Paula R., mid-career accountant Audra (sp?) M. and "seasoned" financial manager Paul C. Paula emphasized development of "soft skills" such as interpersonal relationships and teaching/mentoring as a great aid to her career. Audra, the middle panelist, focused on determining and prioritizing responsibilities and on being perserverant in a hectic workplace while Paul focused on being a "change agent" and having and articulating a vision. There was plenty of opportunity to ask questions of the panelists, but I waited until after the session to ask Paula about the lack of blogging in managerial accounting. She said that the Young Professionals in Chicago (her hometown) had developed a Linked Up (similar to Linked In) page and provided that as evidence that young managerial accountants were taking electronic communication outside of their business responsibilities seriously.

In my opinion, best sessions of the conference were: [1] Why Smart People Do Really Dumb and Unethical Things by Marianne Jennings, [2] Cowboby Ethics by James Owen and [3] Economic Outlook: Foundations for Recovery by Lindsey Piegza. The CMA and its value (Monday) wins a close three-way battle for best concurrent session. Biggest strength of the conference were the general sessions (with the brown bag lunch close behind); biggest frustration was no direct notification that tickets to the U. S. Mint Tour ran out before I came up. Good luck to the IMA next year in Baltimore.


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