The Association of Financial Professionals, AFP 2022 Annual Conference, ended just about a week ago, and it is still fresh in our minds. Six people from the iCG team attended the conference this year and engaged with finance professionals from various industries. We shook hands with finance and accounting leaders of the biggest corporations in the world and had an excellent opportunity to understand their perspectives on the latest finance trends.
The iCG Team Had Fun!
Networking and business were not the only things on our minds, and we sure had our share of fun too!
Alex, our Head of Strategic Partnerships, looks back at the conference fondly. She said, "One of my big takeaways was the ability to connect with professionals in a unique and exciting environment compared to other conferences. This allowed me to keep the energy going and connect with as many people as possible! The puppy park was a great example of how they took an atmosphere that can be very overwhelming and put a bunch of professionals together playing with puppies while talking business in nice suits and sitting on turf. Everyone was there to do business but was in a good mood and engaged."
The Future is Frictionless
The team observed a lot of buzz around frictionless and alternative payments. We confirmed things we already knew: digital payments are the future. Digitization and automation in financial processes will affect all industries, especially on the payments and reconciliation fronts. The team engaged with professionals from manufacturing, banking, financial services, nonprofits, communication, education, insurance, retail, and several other sectors. Everyone wanted to hop on the trend and adopt the latest and greatest innovative payment technologies.
Keia Nouse, our CRO, said, "A frictionless future is not only exciting, but it is also inevitable. The need for low-cost, faster payment processing technologies that started with the banking and financial services sector is popping up across all industries. iCG is uniquely positioned to serve several industries simultaneously with its set of innovative payment solutions. I am excited to see the massive impact we will drive in the not-so-distant future!"
In Q3 2022, we saw our Payments Index lag behind the Nasdaq, as FinTech and BankTech stocks were hit hard, driven largely by recent monetary policy expectations and macroeconomic uncertainty. Key growth drivers and trends have developed throughout 2022 and are expected to continue to include the lasting impacts of industry-shifting sentiment around the digital transformation trend as payments technology begins to offer omnichannel commerce strategies to meet customers at every step of the payments journey. In addition, the B2B market remains one of the last major global opportunities for payment digitization. Not only is the market still plagued by widespread manual processes and inefficient payment methods, but it is also a massive market estimated at nearly $29 trillion in the U.S. alone, with checks accounting for nearly 50% of B2B payments.
Open Banking is the Way to Go
Fast and efficient money transfer is the ultimate goal. It is the endgame when powered by automation technologies and innovative payment solutions. But that is not where we start. We start with the open exchange of critical information. Open banking structures and standardization of communication supported by ISO20022 form the foundation of collaboration we have already started seeing.
Jason pointed out, "We saw that everyone is facing the same challenges, and none of them can solve it independently. It will require collaboration across multiple segments of the industry. Unlimited opportunity for iCG if we execute with speed and efficiency. The market is begging for the strategy and solutions we focus on."
Collaboration Is Going to Be Key
iCG is at the epicenter of the massive changes the industry is watching unfold. We recognize our distinct advantage and the opportunity to collaborate with several stakeholders across different business verticals. We are heavily focused on developing a channel partner program to support our ISO and ISV partners reach big and small businesses.
Here's what Nate, our Head of Global Engineering, had to say about the conference, "I was impressed by the sheer size of the conference – it was massive! The conference represented several different vendors and people from so many industries. What was fun for me was going to each booth, and while visiting and talking, the other person and I would try to be creative and think of partnership opportunities and the different ways we could help each other out."
Fraud Detection and Prevention Was the Biggest Concern at AFP 2022
We saw a lot of conversations around the need for safer payment technologies. It is evident that we cannot take a backseat in fraud detection and prevention while adopting instant payment technologies.
Sallie, our SVP of Sales Operations, rightly said, "The AFP conference was filled with amazing professionals from every industry, and the amazing conversations were my main highlights. The connections I made brought many different perspectives, and I welcomed the education. Although the word I heard most throughout the conference was 'instant payments,' I feel everyone had something even greater to offer each other. Collaboration and Partnerships are not only inevitable but extremely necessary now!"
How Does iCheckGateway.com Fit In?
What distinguishes iCG most is our ability to help merchants accept ACH and credit card payments on a single platform. This ability is further highlighted by the fact that we have an entire suite of next-generation payment technologies that automate payment processing to a great extent.
Nikki, our SVP of Marketing, highlighted, "Walking into each session, my focus was learning upcoming trends and how we could develop our marketing to reach these financial institutions more effectively. Every current challenge the speakers exclaimed pointed to one thing. The pain points of making transactions, whether pay-ins or pay-outs, account receivables and accounting payables, or the commercial accounts of banks and software-integrated solutions of increasing security - everyone wants less friction, more security, and simple processes for their consumers."
We operate on a customer-first business model while leading with technology.
Nikki further said, "What is our brand promise? Empowering businesses with technology and knowledge. I realized I had a lot of work ahead to educate others about who iCG is and what we can do for them and their relationships. Does it sound salesy? I don't intend for it to. When you become completely sold on the solutions your business offers, the team automatically does a better job of creating brand awareness to spread the word more globally. I know we have some ways to improve, as every business does, but our SaaS already solves several needs of the leaders at AFP. We can help them by automating their payment processes."
The Challenge That Lies Ahead of Us
Without a shadow of a doubt, the goal ahead is lofty. But it is very much possible. iCG is not going to slow down any time soon, and the conference just reaffirmed our faith that doubling down on our technologies and partnerships is what will help our customers win big.
Jason said, "The AFP 2022 Conference was an excellent opportunity to network with industry professionals and dig into content presentations highlighting the direction of treasury, finance, and payments. Many of the challenges and opportunities consistently identified through the sessions, emphasized that a collaborative, innovative, and concerted effort is required to solve complex problems ahead."
Nikki further added, "It was apparent when I got home our team needed to roll up our sleeves a little further to penetrate the minds with more FinTech education. We will work with thought leaders in different verticals to help them feel more prepared and acutely aware of how they will accomplish their BHAGs, big hairy audacious goals."
iCG is on a mission to help all businesses accelerate payments simply, securely, and reliably. We work with big and small organizations directly, as well as ISOs and ISVs, to help their customers leverage the best payment technologies. Become a partner, or schedule a call to learn more about our payment solutions today!
Headquartered outside of Washington, D.C., and located regionally in Singapore, the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) is the professional society committed to advancing the success of treasury and finance members and their organizations. AFP established and administers the Certified Treasury Professional and Certified Corporate FP&A Professional credentials, which sets standards of excellence in treasury and finance. Each year, AFP hosts the largest networking conference worldwide for more than 7,000 corporate financial professionals.