February 1, 2021

Finance and Valuation at the Annual Conference

Executive Director

I'm hearing from a lot of our member companies that as we start getting a clearer picture of the coming post-pandemic era, their planning horizons are starting to get longer again. Perhaps in March they were trying to get through the day or the coming week; by fall they were thinking a couple months ahead; and now companies are working to rethink their strategic plans and long-term goals. We've seen this pattern many times over our 40-year history, and in this year's conference we built on that long-term perspective to create sessions that fit this economic moment.

Part of the restructuring of our framework for sessions means that the 2021 conference has a whole track on finance and valuation. We combed through dozens of fantastic speaking proposals to select a suite of offerings that range from core technical knowledge about how ESOP-related accounting entries work to cash management to repurchase obligations, but we also included sessions that will stretch your thinking. You'll learn ways to think about the capital structure of your business so that the financing world we are in now sets you up for the long-term sustainability of your ESOP and some smart ways to tie measurements of employee engagement to ESOP value creation.

Whether your company shrank, grew, or maintained during the last year, we've designed sessions in the upcoming annual conference to help you with some of the key issues that will shape your long-term success, from managing cash flow to projecting your repurchase obligation. Based on the feedback from attendees, we'll also cover a topic inspired by one of the sessions at our 2020 conference, Seven Ways to Increase Your ESOP Stock Value. In that session, Patrick Schmidt of the Value Consulting Group and Stephen White of Onyx Partners Group raised a number of holistic issues about how to focus on value creation. After covering the core measures of value creation—including the often-overlooked issue of risk management—they pointed out some ways that companies can make better use of a value-creation framework by focusing on measurability, communication, and accountability. See it for yourself: