“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you are, whoever you are, you need one!”
– Jane Howard
BUSINESS networking has emerged as one of the “must have” soft skills necessary for finance professionals to succeed in the competitive marketplace of today.
Given the unprecedented “equalization” of global skills and competencies, and the competitiveness of the finance job in the marketplace, one aspect where finance professionals contribute uniquely is their distinctive professional network, the “informal chain of contacts usable for mutual assistance and support.” In today’s world, it is not just “what you know,” and “where you learned it,” but also “who you know” that counts increasingly in one’s professional progress.
Why do finance professionals need to network?
Venda-Raye Johnson, author of the book Effective Networking, says it best, “We live in the age of knowledge and change. The right information, the best resources and the strongest support are needed to keep focused in the midst of change. Effective networking helps us keep our balance and perspective in a world of change.”
Finance professionals benefit from networking in myriad ways, and some key advantages are: access to information, ideas and contacts; opportunities (job, career, business, personal); and friendships and professional relationships.
FINEX and IAFEI
Joining organizations and actively participating in them are the best ways to come in contact with a multitude of people in the finance profession. In the Philippines, the national level association for finance professionals is the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX). FINEX provides finance professionals a platform to stay informed, build relationships and participate in advocacy, which are not available in any other forum.
At the international level, an organization that can bring unprecedented global networking and information opportunities at the door of finance professionals is the International Association of Financial Executives Institutes (IAFEI).
IAFEI is a private non-profit and non-political international association, which (as its name suggests), is an international association of finance associations–an “association of organizations.” Founded in 1969, IAFEI now has 23 member institutes, with a total membership of about 14,000 financial executives worldwide. As a powerful force in the financial community, it is recognized and respected in accounting, financial and governmental circles around the world. Its purpose is to promote networking opportunities for member institutes in order to:
– build and improve mutual understanding internationally among financial executives through the exchange of financial information, experiences and ideas;
– provide a basis for international cooperation among financial executives toward making financial systems and regulations more uniform, compatible and harmonious worldwide; and
– promote ethical considerations in the practice of financial management throughout the world.
FINEX shares the honor of being one of the founders of IAFEI (to include the Financial Executives Institutes of Argentina, Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Spain, United Kingdom of Great Britain and the combined Institutes of the United States of America and Canada). As members of FINEX, professionals in the Philippines have immediate access to the networks and opportunities of IAFEI, including information access, global networks and opportunities to participate in global congresses and advocacy.
As a founding member of IAFEI, FINEX continues to be one of its core members providing strong support to the global organization’s programs. At present, the IAFEI vice chairmanship is held by FINEX past president Eduardo Francisco. There are two FINEX past presidents who served as IAFEI chairman namely, the late Romeo Co who was chairman in 1974, and Dr. Conchita Manabat, in 2004 and 2005. Dr. Manabat has been the first and so far, the only woman head of IAFEI and has been serving as chairman of IAFEI’s Advisory Council since 2012.
FINEX served as IAFEI service provider for IAFEI’s secretariat from September 2007 until December 2015 during which time, FINEX past presidents Alfredo Parungao, Abelardo Cortez and Victor Lim were the IAFEI secretaries in succession, giving oversight to the outsourced services. Thereafter, the Italian member institute, ANDAF, has been providing the IAFEI secretariat services.
Out of the 47 annual world congresses of IAFEI, FINEX has hosted four:
1. 1974 at the Hyatt Hotel under the watch of FINEX past president Romeo Co with past president Alfredo Parungao heading the World Congress Technical Sessions Committee;
2. 1988 at the Manila Hotel under the watch of FINEX past president Renato Valencia with past presidents Corazon dela Paz-Bernardo and Alfredo Parungao serving as chairmen the World Congress Organizing Committee;
3. 2005 at the Shangri-La Manila under the watch of FINEX past president Melito Salazar Jr. with FINEX past president Edgardo Limon heading the World Congress Organizing Committee; and
4. 2014 at the Shangri-La Manila under the watch of FINEX past president Edmundo Soriano with former FINEX director Carmen Serina heading the Organizing Committee.
All the Philippine-hosted IAFEI World Congresses were successful in terms of international and domestic participations as well as financial gains to FINEX and IAFEI.
The FINEX and IAFEI linkage is a good reference point for mutually beneficial relationships. FINEX, thru its nominated leaders to IAFEI, successfully established new IAFEI member institutes in Japan, China, Vietnam and Cambodia. The pro-active stance of FINEX in the only global premier society of financial executives has demonstrated its professionalism and leadership in the international scene.
As FINEX past president and past IAFEI secretary Abelardo Cortez says, “FINEX and IAFEI are two organizations trusted and relied upon by finance professionals here and abroad particularly those who need to stay current with industry trends including others who are locked up on their financial goals to remain ahead of the pack.”
As FINEX celebrates its golden anniversary in 2018, IAFEI will have its celebration of its golden jubilee in 2019.
Dr. Conchita L. Manabat is the president of the Development Center for Finance, a joint undertaking between FINEX Foundation and the UP Virata School of Business. A past president of FINEX and past chairman of the International Association of Financial Executives Institutes (IAFEI), she is now the chairman of the Advisory Council of the organization. She is also a member of the Consultative Advisory Groups of the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board and the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
BY DR. CONCHITA L. MANABAT