DFK International, North American & Latin America Conference 2020

6 – 11 July 2020 Conference The Westin Playa Bonita Panama
At this time, we are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation, and are thus delaying the release of registration until further notice. We will inform the membership ASAP on whether or not this meeting will be held. We suggest holding off on making any travel arrangements until further notice.
 

Save the Date!

Date: 6-10 July 2020
Location: Panama
 

Estimated* delegate fees:
Delegate Fee: $1100 USD
Accompanying Person Fee: $500 USD
Children under 16: $300 USD
*Subject to change at time of release

Early hotel booking is available HERE
We do have very limited rooms available pre and post conference dates at the hotel. If you are extending your stay (either by arriving early or staying late), it is my personal recommendation that you book a room at the American Trade Hotel. This will allow you to diversify your experience in Panama and see a bit of what Old Town Panama has to offer!

Full Conference program and registration will available in March 2020

Preliminary Pre-Conference Program
(these events take place before the official start of the conference and additional fees may apply)

Monday July 6th:
Full Day – DFK International Board Meeting and Council Meeting
Evening – International Board Dinner

Tuesday July 7th:
9 – 17:00 DFK Canada Meeting**
9 – 17:00 DFK/USA ExCo & Board**
9 – 17:00 DFK Mexico Meeting**
19:00 – 22:00  Canada/USA/Mexico dinners**
**By invitation only

Wednesday July 8th:
9 – 17:00 DFK/USA Managing Partners
9 – 17:00 DFK Champions
9 – 17:00 International Tax Seminar
13:00- 17:00 Accounting & Assurance Seminar
9 – 13:00  Optional tour for APs/Early Bird Arrivals

History and Shopping in Old Town

You will visit to Casco Viejo (known as the Old Quarter)
founded in 1673, it was the second Panama City and is one of
the most attractive Spanish colonial destinations of the
Americas. This beautiful area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
and has several attractions. It can easily be covered in a walking
tour.
At the Old Town you will find a variety of products including:
fine pieces carved in Tagua (vegetable ivory), Cocobolo exotic
wood carvings, baskets and masks woven in the Darien, the
famous molas from Guna Yala, among other crafts.
This will be the opportunity to learn more about the history of
Panama, have time for shopping souvenirs and have time relax
on your own inside Old Town.

Includes:
Transportation
Tour Guide
Bottled water
Snacks
$45pp

Preliminary Conference Program
19:00 – 21:00  Welcome Reception & Dinner

Thursday July 9th:
9 – 13:00 General Session/Plenary Sessions
Words Build Our Worlds: How Language Shapes Our Lives – Lera Boroditsky

There are about 7,000 languages in the world, all with different vocabularies, sounds, and alphabets—but how do these structural differences influence how we interpret the world? Studying these complex contrasts in human communication is the work of cognitive scientist Lera Boroditsky. Understanding differences in how we think—through the lens of language—is a powerful tool to learn how we connect with one another, build communities, and share common experiences. In fun, memorable talks, Boroditsky shares stories—like an aboriginal tribe who uses directional orientation as a greeting, versus “hello”—that illuminate how languages are more than words to describe our surroundings: they actually change the way we think. How does language evolving affect other aspects of human evolution? How is the digital age disrupting and reshaping those pathways? Boroditsky uncovers how better understanding languages can make us more creative, relatable, and fluent in conveying our intentions and ideas—and sharing our stories—with the incredibly diverse world around us.
Sponsored by DFK USA

Local Firm Spotlight/Doing Business in Panama – Alfredo Cuadra, Cuadra y Asociados

Learn about our local DFK firm Cuadra y Asociados from their Managing Partner, Alfredo Cuadra. Alfredo will also share a bit about doing business in Panama, cross border opportunities, and their firm specializations.

William Johnson, Openside

Session description coming soon

13:00 – 14:00
Group Lunch
14:00 – 16:00

Afternoon Workshops
Sessions are subject to 15 delegates pre-registering, so please be sure to preregister for your workshop of choice to ensure it will be held. 

IT Workshop – Jeremy Hyman
Microsoft Update

1.) Differences between Microsoft 365 and Office 365
2.)The right choices of Microsoft technologies for smaller and larger firms
3.) A new technology to learn about: autopilot
4.) Best practice tips for using teams
5.) To-Do – a key app to have on your radar

Security Essentials
1.) Phishing and what to have in place to minimize the risk
2.) Security awareness training
3.) Portals and other ways to communicate
4.) Multi factor authentication
5.) Microsoft defenses vs 3rd party systems

Training
1.) Take training seriously
2.) Recent experiences at some clients
3.) Learning & Development: Professional, technical & contextual
4.) Training in user polices

System Selection & Implementation
1.) Building “use cases” and stories
2.) Factors to consider when assessing true cost of ownership
3.) Achieving consistency through a technical procurement framework
4.) Looking outside the sector for solutions
5.) Building an adoption life cycle

Data Analytics Workshop – Brett Mach & Patrick Mulroy

Accounting Firms in the Age Digital Transformation

In this course, we will be providing an introduction into moving accounting practices towards an ‘Intelligent Enterprise’, providing the key concepts and data tools available to allow a firm to make their digital transformation. We will discuss the future of the accounting practice as it relates to new data technologies, including Robotic Process Automation (“RPA”) tools, and how those technologies are being utilized within the ‘Big Four’ environment to gain efficiencies in profit margin and accuracy/ quality. Real-life examples will be provided to illustrate potential time savings. Overall, the discussion will be broken down into the following:

  • Intro: Accounting Firms and Digital Transformation
    • Key Concepts
    • Current Data Tools in the Market
  • Benefits of a Highly Data Leveraged Firm
    • Time Efficiencies
    • Profit Margin
    • Accuracy/ Quality
  • Real Life Examples
  • Open Discussion/ Questions

Spanish Speaking Workshop
Topic and agenda TBD

17:00 – 21:00
Group diner at Miraflores/Panama Canal

Enjoy all the sites and history that the Panama Canal has to offer while enjoy dinner and drinks with your DFK colleagues. Our dinner includes the Panama Canal IMAX movie, admission to the canal museum, and dinner on a private terrace where you can marvel at this feat of engineering while you dine al fresco.
Sponsored in part by DFK Canada & DFK USA

Friday July 10th:
8:30 – 9:00 AGN PM Free time/golf
9 – 12:00 General Session/Plenary Sessions
Cultural Presentation on Panama – Yvonne Loehr

William Johnson, Openside
Session description coming soon

Bridging the Gap: Using automated valuation software to bring business owners and their advisors together, Trevor Greenway

In this session, Trevor will dive into how disruptive technology and artificial intelligence can change the way a firm brings value to their clients.  Discussions will explore different ways to automate client discovery, the impact it can have on a firm’s capacity, and its ability to combat the “commoditization” of advice, using valuation as the starting point.
Sponsored in part by Davis Martindale

Optional Activities (additional fees apply)
12:30 – 18:30
DFK Golf Tournament

Tucan Country Club is a 180 acre beautifully wooded private community located a few minutes from downtown Panama City.

A beautiful golf course bordered by lush tropical forests and masterfully designed by the most prominent experts in golf course development around the world. The golf course borders the rainforest close to the Panama Canal and offers panoramic views of the Canal and the skyline of the City. Designed to preserve the integrity of the surrounding tropical flora and fauna, the course at Tucan is a paradise of its own. The par-72 course boasts a layout that stretches 6,618 yards.

Includes:
Round Trip Transportation: Hotel – Golf
Course – Hotel
Bottle of Water and Soda during transfer
Boxed Lunch
Snacks
Moist Towels
Logistic and Coordination Staff
What to Bring:
Comfortable Shoes
Hat
Sunblock
$165 pp
Club rentals are $80 pp

12:30 – 16:30

Taste of Panama

Visiting the Old quarter of Panama offers a great variety of activities that will paint a picture of Panama’s rich history, architecture and culinary delights.
On this tour we will enjoy the flavors of Panama.

Starting with a stop at a quaint chocolate factory where you will learn firsthand about chocolate and coffee production in Panama, and of course indulge in the different types of chocolates they offer. Each participant can even be involved in the creation of chocolate bars.

The next stop will be at the Coffee House, a cozy place created to offer one of the finest coffees in Panama. Though Panama produces one of the best coffees in the world, it is not easily available to the public. Here you will be guided through this amazing coffee experience.

And the final stop takes place at a local rum bar, where you will taste the different rums that Panama has to offer. Salud!

Includes:
· Transfer
· Guide
· Bottle of water (2) per person
· Chocolate Tour
· Rum Tour
· Coffee Tour
$155pp

*Tour is subject to reaching a 10 person minimum
** Only 24 spots available

Biomuseum

Guests will visit the famous Amador Causeway, where you will find the Biodiversity Museum, now known as the Biomuseo. Designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, this is his only work in Latin America. The Biomuseo’s 4,000 square meters contain eight permanent exhibition galleries designed by Bruce Mau Design. The permanent exhibitions are a combination of art and science that promise to fascinate guests both young and old.

Minimum: 8 people
Includes:
Transportation
Tour Guide
Bottled water
Snacks
Entrance fee for Biomuseo
What to bring:
Comfortable walking shoes
Hat, Sunglasses & sunscreen
$60pp

19:00 – Midnight
Farewell Gala (on hotel property)

Saturday July 11th: (Optional days)
Post Conference Tour Option 1
Rainforest Tour with Sloth Sanctuary (6 hours)
After a 45 minute bus ride through the Rainforest, we will arrive at the gorgeous Gamboa Rainforest Resort, located in the Soberania National Park. This area has been designed for you to do as much or as little as you like as you explore the many treasures of the Panamanian rainforest. Once there, we will experience nature in a whole different way. A boat tour will take you through the Panama Canal into secret waterways to find islands where white-faced Capuchin and Howler monkeys can be seen leaping in the trees above. Occasionally, they become curious about visitors and venture down to take a closer look. The boat ride passes through the Gatun Lake of the Panama Canal, giving you the chance to see the different vessels during their transits through the Canal.
Afterwards, you will take the Aerial Tram through the rainforest and ascend approximately 280 feet from the shadowy forest floor, through the dense undergrowth and up to the sun drenched canopy with its thousand shades of green that are only interrupted by the vibrant colors of flowering trees. Once at the top, you will have the opportunity to walk up our Observation Tower (also accessible for wheelchairs) from where you will have an uninterrupted view of the vast rainforest of the Soberania National Park while at the same time watch the vessels maneuver through the Galliard Cut (the narrowest part of the Panama Canal).

Minimum of 10 participants
Includes:
Round trip transportation
English speaking Tour Guide
Activities (Aerial Tram/ Gatun Expedition
Sloth Sanctuary)
Water bottle and sodas during the tour
Snack
Moist towels
Lunch Buffet with 1 non- alcoholic drink
$150pp

Post Conference Tour Option 2 
Visit to the Indigenous Embera Community (6 hours)

Our adventure begins with a trip on the river in “piragua”, the traditional Embera hand-carved boats. As you arrive in the village you will travel back in time, as you watch the indigenous people immersed in the ancient traditional Embera dance and music they have treasured for hundreds of years. These indigenous people invite visitors to explore the area with its abundant variety of birds and wildlife, showing the pristine landscape they inhabit. The Embera women are known as some of the finest manufacturers of baskets. You can watch them create these beautiful objects made from palm fibers stained with dyes from nature. You will also have the opportunity to have your body painted with ink made from natural fruit called Jagua, used by the Embera for both decoration and for its health benefits. Before returning to civilization, the indigenous people offer a traditional meal of fresh fish with banana. You will have the opportunity to buy some of their original artwork before you depart.

Includes:
Round Transportation
Tour Guide
Activities at the Embera community
Bottled of water and soda
Traditional Embera lunch in the village
Moist Towels
Snacks
What to bring:
Comfortable shoes
Sunglasses, sunscreen
Hat
Comfortable and easy dry clothes
Cash to buy Handicrafts
$155pp 

Post Conference Trip – Overnight to San Blas Islands