SOURCE: Vengroff, Williams and Associates, Inc.

May 17, 2011 13:39 ET

Fortune 500 Finance Executives at Billion Dollar Forum Express Cautious Optimism

High-Status Group of Prominent Financial Executives Concur: Economy Is Slowly Moving Forward

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - May 17, 2011) - The Billion Dollar Forum (BDF), a bi-annual invitation-only assembly of eminent financial executives from large global Fortune 500 firms, today announced an abbreviated synopsis from the most recent gathering in Napa Valley, highlighting concerns and comments regarding global finance and accounting practices. The April 2011 Forum, co-moderated by Mark Vengroff and Tony Godsen, was hosted by NetApp.

"Tools, Solutions, Success - Find it at the Forum" was the agenda headline at the Forum, where the purpose was to provide an opportunity for global credit to cash finance professionals to network with other key financial executives to discuss current issues pertaining to a range of subjects associated with the global credit environment. Such topics included:

  • Current global economic environment (emerging from recession)
  • Current events impacting credit: Japan, Arab Spring, EU PIGS debt and banking crisis
  • Outlook for specific regional markets - Asia, Latin America, BRICS, EU/EMEA, and US

At the Billion Dollar Forum, members shared their new strategies for recruitment and hiring programs. Discussions of such topics including "Under the Hood" were presented, whereby a Fortune 500 company discussed F&A organizational strategy and lessons learned. VWA led the discussion around best practices of Credit & Collections. The Forum's agenda was set around various round table discussions highlighting today's most relevant challenges and trends as presented by senior financial executives responsible for an active receivables base of $1 billion annually from a cross-section of global companies including EMC, Aon, Fox Twentieth Century Home Entertainment, Office Depot, NetApp and others.

According to Mark Vengroff, chief executive officer of VWA and a founding member of the Billion Dollar Forum, "BDF's members appear to have positive feelings about the general direction of the economy -- we're coming out of the worst from 2008. That said, most BDF members believe that we have a ways to go as consumers are coming back slower than we would like to see, thus growth is not being driven by consumer spending but rather by corporate expenditures. The economy still has a long road ahead, but we're definitely seeing signs of relief as we move further into 2011 and beyond to 2012."

The BDF's mission is to offer worldwide credit and financial executives who oversee the management of credit to cash functions for multi-billion dollar corporations the opportunity to meet in the context of achieving two main objectives:

1. Provide a learning and information-sharing environment
2. Discuss and disclose experiences, best practices and innovate techniques to increase performance and excellence as related to credit risk and AR management practices

Highlights from the 2011 Billion Dollar Forum included:

  • CFO Confidence Factors
    • Technology Sector: Globally improving. Customers are healthier than 2 years ago
    • Credit: Access to credit remains easy
    • Corporations are increasing spending budgets
    • EU should be able to manage through crisis (slow or limited growth prospects)
    • China - Life Sciences , Infrastructure, and Energy are three areas of notable growth

  • CFO Concern Factors: New and Growing Threats
    • Municipal debt, long a stable area, is a newly-emerging source of credit risk
    • New service providers creating restraints on CFO's: post-audits companies jumping up: Post audits and vendor violation claims are on the rise
    • The consumer is still conservative towards consumer spending (high unemployment, continuing job insecurity, lack of wage increases, weak housing market, and increased savings trend, etc.)
    • Automation of credit and collection recovery: higher volume/smaller transactions
    • In some markets, Net 60 is becoming standard for payment terms which contributes to working capital concerns

David Gondorf, Director Worldwide A/R, Credit & Collections at NetApp, a presenter at the Billion Dollar Forum and a contributor at past forums, stated, "The BDF network is a vital source for benchmarking the ever-changing credit and collection standard practices. Who would have ever guessed that Net 60 would be payment terms we would all need to live with? When I need to make sure such a demand comes from a customer, I reach out to the BDF to see if I'm alone or now part of a wave of change. The BDF is also a vital organization to tap into during times of global economic crisis."

A frequent contributor to the Billion Dollar Forum of previous years, Tony Gosden, former VP WW Credit for Intel, is an ardent believer in the effectiveness of the BDF conferences. Gosden commented, "With 30-plus years of experience in global risk and AR management, this is by far the most impactful and value-added forum that I have annually attended."

The next by-invitation-only April 2012 Billion Dollar Forum meeting will be held in New Orleans. Additionally, the BDF Credit Summit will be held in the fall, co-hosted by Google and VWA.

"Bringing together the top minds in global credit accounts receivable and financial management from different industries will be invaluable to the participating attendees," stated Mark Vengroff. "Consistently, our members who have attended the Forum events have walked away with beneficial information that has proved to be critical in future decision-making initiatives within their financial and accounting organizations."

About Billion Dollar Forum
The Billion Dollar Forum is the premier venue for a select group of senior level financial executives with worldwide credit and financial responsibilities for managing account receivables to meet in the context of a positive environment that stimulates an exchange of ideas, to discuss and share experiences, best practices, and innovative techniques to increase performance and excellence in credit risk and AR management practices that identify overall best strategies.

For more information or to inquire about an invitation to apply for membership to the BDF, please visit www.billiondollarforum.com or contact Mark Vengroff at 714-889-6210.

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