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Public Finance Live 2023 review

CIPFA’s annual conference, Public Finance Live 2023, took place at London’s QEII Centre in the heart of Westminster on 27 and 28 June. The event was attended by hundreds of people in UK public finance roles, as well as industry partners and international guests.

Two days of insight, practical workshops, keynote speaker sessions and networking opportunities – the event was certainly jam-packed full and kept the Embridge team on their toes! In addition to the more finance-specific sessions, other topics under discussion included:

  • developing leaders for the future
  • improving customer service
  • responding to the climate crisis and sustainability
  • stemming the tide of kleptocracy
  • the political context at home and abroad

Caroline Atkinson’s opening keynote set a rather uncomfortable but realistic scene of instability and “disorientation” due to a series of largely unforeseen events in recent years, namely Brexit, the election of Donald Trump as US president, the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the cost-of-living crisis.

However, she also spoke about AI and how it can facilitate innovation, especially in the public sector, by making transparency easier. Describing “sunlight as the best bleach” she made it clear that this transparency is vital for public finance officials to undertake the analysis and accumulations that they need to restore some stability and trust in the system.

She also highlighted that, despite the fears that AI will take jobs away from humans, she was confident that those skills and abilities that make us human, such as empathy, creativity and the ability to communicate and develop relationships, can’t be fully replicated by machines. Therefore, they will remain crucial for effective operations and the humanities subjects will regain importance from an educational perspective.

Transformation isn’t just about tech

This provided a backdrop for probably our most important insight of the event – the way people talked to us about digital and business transformation not being solely about technology and that people were at the heart of it. Those of you who are familiar with Embridge, will know this is something we’ve talked about for a long time, but to hear others saying it to us was a very welcome step change. We heard people acknowledging the need to address early engagement when making changes, user adoption, and continual improvement – all of which will greatly improve the chances of making any transformation project successful.

In addition to talking about the people side of transformation, we also enjoyed lots of discussions on how public sector finance teams could make the most of the tools they had by revisiting configurations or the processes that they were following. This demonstrates that there’s a realisation that the often-reached for rip-and-replace solution isn’t always the answer, especially when budgets are tighter than ever, and small incremental changes can have a real impact over time.

The Embridge team was delighted to welcome so many of you to our stand and hear your thoughts, challenges and hopes for the future. It was great to be out at a live event meeting with you all face to face and having the opportunity to hear about your day-to-day operations – both good and bad! While it was clear that we all continue to operate in challenging times, there were clear signs that people are starting to think differently about their approaches to financial management and the way they use technology. If you’re one of those people and would like some expert insights, get in touch with the team today.

Image via CIPFA

About
Embridge Consulting

About Embridge Consulting

Embridge Consulting is a leading boutique systems integration consultancy, specialising in Unit4 ERP and other partners.

Founded in 2009 and headquartered in the UK, the consultancy works with clients in the public sector, nonprofit, professional services, and other sectors to provide a more personal and tailored client experience compared to other, more traditional global systems integrators. Through professional and experienced consulting, best-in-class ERP technology, training, and a commitment to continual client improvement, Embridge is helping clients achieve faster time to value from digital transformation programs, at lower cost and with less risk.

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Please email Enquiries@embridgeconsulting.com or call 01474 555 505

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