The 2013 International Factoring Conference in Miami Beach, FL is almost upon us. Beginning Wednesday, April 24, professionals from all over the world will be gathering together to learn tips, hear from speakers and take information back to their businesses and companies to build and improve. Being held at the beautiful and newly renovated Fontainebleau, industry experts may even have time to experience some fun in the beautiful and exciting city of Miami Beach. One doesn’t even have to leave the hotel with all of the guest accommodations, including the Lapis spa, the free-form “walls of water” pool and, of course, the six restaurants and two bars.

On Wednesday there is the option to attend the “Best Practices for Portfolio Management” seminar, which will focus on sharing best practices employed by seasoned factoring companies and providing tools that have helped build and manage portfolios. Anyone with basic factoring experience who wants to learn more about how to manage a successful factoring relationship should attend.

Between the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay, just minutes from South Beach, sits the Miami Beach Golf Club where the conference golf tournament will take place on April 24 as well. At the same time, the 5K Fun Walk for Charity will take place on the Miami Beach Boardwalk. Not only is the money contributed to a worthwhile cause, but it is an excellent chance to network, meet fellow conference attendees and view the boardwalk and scenery in South Beach.

By invitation only, new IFA members will be treated to a special reception at 4:30 p.m. This warm welcome provides new members with the chance to learn about the conference, meet the IFA Advisory Board members and our conference sponsors. That evening, the Welcome Reception, sponsored by RMP Capital Corp., is designed to give factoring conference attendees an opportunity to socialize and reconnect with their peers. This event is open to all conference attendees and their guests.

The full conference kicks off with the IFA update given by IFA director Bert Goldberg on Thursday morning, followed by Warren McDonald, who will discuss the “Challenge of Change and Finding Opportunity in Adversity.” Warren’s first book, A Test of Will, is an Australian bestseller and the subject of the “Trapped under a Boulder” episode of the Discovery Channel series I Shouldn’t Be Alive. His film, The Second Step, documenting the epic four-week journey to Federation Peak, Australia’s most challenging mountain summit, has been acclaimed worldwide, screening on National Geographic Television and winning eight international awards including Grand Prize at the prestigious Banff Mountain Film Festival.

Next on the agenda is “The Art of Deception” with speaker Kevin Mitnick. With more than 25 years of experience in exploring computer security, Mitnick is a largely self-taught expert in exposing the vulnerabilities of complex operating systems and telecommunications devices. As the world’s most famous (former) hacker, Mitnick has been the subject of countless news and magazine articles published throughout the world.

Thursday afternoon offers six different sessions ranging from the ever popular “Factoring 101” and “Legal 101” to the highly anticipated “Point/Counterpoint.” Those interested in European factoring and import/export to Latin America will be delighted to attend the sessions tailored specifically for these topics. Finally, industries important to factors will be represented in an “Industry Experts” forum wherein factors will have a chance to engage in dialogue with these target industries and learn directly from these experts what their needs and requirements are.

Thursday evening, Bibby Financial Services hosts a social that is open to all conference attendees and their guests. Later in the evening, Tax Guard sponsors a dessert reception with sweet treats to end your day.

Friday morning’s program begins with speaker Daniel Gross, global business editor for Newsweek and The Daily Beast. Gross, a widely read financial author, will speak on how the economy will affect factors. Also that morning, Bob Zadek Esq., one of the premier attorneys at Buchalter, Nemer and an expert in the field of factoring, will speak on “Lessons to be Learned From this Year’s Court Decisions” and “How the Courts Treated IFA Members.” Throughout Friday are roundtables and discussions regarding factoring in Canada, China and Latin America, not to mention a special roundtable just for small factors.

In addition, a legal panel is on the agenda featuring the counsel of John Beckstead, Esq., Steven Kurtz, Esq. and Michael Ullman, Esq. The new business orientation session brings together a panel of individuals representing five successful companies and is designed to be of interest no matter what the size of your organization. The “Resolving Problem Situations” session will feature methods to resolve issues — with the goal of returning your capital — by a panel of seasoned factoring veterans who will share their topical stories with attendees. If that isn’t enough, we also have “Current Topics in Transportation” with David Jencks, Esq., which last year ranked as one of the best sessions of the overall conference due to the spirited conversations among the group.

The closing event on Friday evening will be held in Fontainebleau’s nightclub, LIV, which recently made Reuters list of “Worlds’ Top 10 Nightclubs.” The evening will begin with a cocktail reception followed by dinner and entertainment. All conference attendees are invited and additional guest tickets may be purchased.

For three full hours beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday is the “Idea Exchange.” It has been said that this meeting is like icing on a cake because attendees are provided with the opportunity to get together in small groups and explore common interests. An alternative to this meeting is the chance to tour the Everglades.

Whether exploring the beaches, art or fashion districts, relaxing in the sun or attending each of the presentations, the IFA Conference 2013 will be an unforgettable journey. The tips, lessons, networking and activities provided will have you marking your calendars for next year’s conference the minute you arrive.

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Heather Villa is communications director for the International Factoring Association.