Conference Summary

Allinial Global Istanbul Global Forum 2023 - Winning Together with AI

With recent—and rapid—advancements in artificial intelligence, it’s more important than ever for accounting firms to understand the risks and rewards of AI.

This year Allinial Global focused on the timely theme of Winning Together with AI at its eighth annual Global Forum in Istanbul, offering especially warm hospitality in welcoming members to the hometown of Executive Vice President of Global Commerce, Ozgur Demirdoven.

The 2023 Global Forum saw record attendance, drawing 235 participants representing 85 firms and 60 countries to one of the association’s most-attended events outside of the combined Global Forum and Summit in Las Vegas, last year.

Special Chapter for Commerce

Commerce continues to be a top priority at Allinial Global events, and the Global Forum was no exception. The conference included the launch of several new commerce-focused initiatives, including a Driving Global Commerce (DGC) Collaboration Room, a Commerce Booth, and Commerce Co-Lab sessions, which allowed Allinial Global members to share success stories, highlight recent collaborations, and showcase their firms and services through engaging mini presentations.

AI-Driven Content

With sessions on everything from the economic impact of cybersecurity breaches to global advisory services, the Global Forum was designed to help firms develop the future-ready mindsets and skills they need to lead and thrive in the new era.

The 2023 agenda included three keynote sessions featuring speakers from North America, Europe, and the Middle East. 

Reshape the NOW

Make Megatrends Your Business: Hack Future Lab Founder, MIT Visiting Professor, and global-disruption thinker Terence Mauri, helped kick things off with a look at the AI megatrend. As AI, automation, and sustainability combine with the pandemic and the war for talent to create an era of unprecedented volatility, firms must find ways to make megatrends work for them, rather than against them. This thought-provoking session showed members how to capitalise on one of the biggest reframing moments of our lifetime, by asking the right questions to unlock value while mitigating risk. 

Global Economic Update

Winning together in a world of uncertainty requires new forums and forms of communication and collaboration. In her keynote presentation, renowned global financial commentator and international broadcaster Susannah Streeter identified the ‘animal spirits’ driving financial markets and the beasts we should beware of in the midst of dramatic shifts in the economic and political landscape. She also touched on the deflationary risks of AI, current inflationary pressures, and the effect of prices on consumer behaviour. 

AI for the Non-Technology Partner

Our third keynote speaker Jeremy Hyman, an independent expert in technology for accountants, explored the topic of AI from the perspective of how firm leaders can set expectations for innovation, experimentation, and risk management. After sharing practical examples that anyone—even non-technical partners—could put into immediate use to deal with day-to-day challenges, Jeremy took questions and provided practical answers and insight to participants.

The 2023 Global Forum also included two very popular CEO panels. The first, focused on Driving Global Commerce, featured an interactive conversation on future readiness led by Ozgur Demirdoven. Panelists Craig Stanmore of Enspira Financial in Australia, Kip Plowman of Cherry Bekaert in the US, Neil Hughes of Azets Ireland, and Kurt Gresens of Wipfli in the US shared firsthand experiences and tips to help firm leaders embrace transformation, leverage technology, and equip people with future-ready skill sets.

The second CEO panel moderated by keynote speaker Susannah Streeter centred on strategy, as four Allinial Global CEOs shared their experiences and visions for the future of the profession and their firms. EisnerAmper’s Charles Weinstein, Bentleys’ Tony Sacre, Blick Rothenberg’s Nimesh Shah and BPM’s Jim Wallace took to the stage to pinpoint what matters most when setting a firm’s strategy, sharing insights on how AG member firms can align with the Allinial Global 2026 strategy to grow and win together.

Maintaining a strong technological focus throughout the event, the Global Forum included an in-depth cybersecurity session, an AI “Fact or Fiction” panel, and Lunch and Learn programmes on successfully leveraging data analytics and driving green reporting. Allinial Global strategic partner Avalara also hosted a session on identifying opportunities for automation and technology, with an emphasis on effectively blending the right people, processes, and technological solutions.

Social Activities to Enhance Networking and Foster Collaboration

To enhance networking and foster collaboration while celebrating the unique culture of our host city, the Global Forum featured a variety of memorable social activities. In addition to a welcome reception with authentic Anatolian fire dancers and a gala dinner at the historic Esma Sultan Mansion on the Bosphorus, the conference programme included opportunities for members to learn how to make baklava and predict the future using Turkish coffee demitasse. Attendees also had the option to tour Topkapi Palace and experience an unforgettable James Bond–style rooftop excursion at the city’s Grand Bazaar.

Fundraising Karaoke Night

Perhaps the most meaningful social event was the association’s first-ever karaoke night fundraiser in support of the local charity LÖSEV, the Foundation for Children with Leukemia. Together, conference attendees raised $5,000 to help LÖSEV continue its mission to provide care for more than 70,000 children with leukemia and cancer. It was an honor to support such a wonderful cause and exciting to discover some surprising hidden talents during the karaoke performances!

Heartfelt thanks to all who attended for making the conference such a memorable experience. The 2023 Global Forum was a testament to the magic that happens when diverse and dynamic firms join forces to Win Together.

Main image: Allinial Global Forum 2023 group photo.