BROADVIEW, Ill. — The Unified Group kicked off its inaugural Virtual Financial Forum with a virtual trivia cocktail hour, to break the ice and give participants a sense of normalcy.

More than 36 attendees from 22 member companies logged in for the virtual event from October 4-8. The first full day began with a presentation from Ted Janusz, titled “Like Herding Cats on Zoom? Leading a Virtual Team.” The group learned about managing different personalities, setting goals, and using the success formula: Event + Reaction = Outcome, where people are encouraged to change their response to different events to achieve more desirable outcomes.

On the second day, Shane & Melissa Dick from Atlas Accounting and Consulting shared a review of The Unified Group’s Financial Benchmark to see how the group and individual members compare year-over-year, then broke out into smaller groups for discussion and screensharing.

“I loved hearing the story they told using numbers, then looking at our numbers in comparison,” said Cheri Lurvey of VHV Company. “The KPI breakout was great to share ideas and struggles. I don't feel like I’m on a desert island trying to reinvent the wheel, and I'm excited to look at the spreadsheets that were shared and develop more KPIs for our company.”

Cashflow and forecasting were the topics on the third day, with Shane Dick leading the group in a discussion about forecasting models. Many members shared what they were using to monitor workload, revenue, margin, income, and cashflow.

“If I didn't attend this meeting, I would have missed the camaraderie that develops when we realize that we’re all struggling with the same thing,” said Gretchen Riddle of A&G Services. “I love that so many companies were able to send different participants to the meeting this way. It’s always good for me to hear how other departments are using information.”

The meeting wrapped up on the final day with a group software discussion since software issues have become commonplace.

“The information shared in the software session was encouraging,” said John Garvert of Glassman Corporation. “I’ve learned that others are struggling with pieces of their software like I do with mine. It’s good to have a ‘backup group’ to share both problems and successes with.”

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