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It Figures: The CRI Podcast

S3:E5 – Heads up, Grant Professionals!

Southern Grants Forum is the Southeast region’s premier grants training conference. Tune in as CRI Partner Keith Hundley and CRI Brand Manager Lauren Magli discuss the location and schedule of the conference and what to expect when attending. You and fellow grants professionals can learn about the key requirements for managing awards, the latest developments affecting grant-funded organizations, and the future of grants management.

Intro:

From Carr, Riggs & Ingram, this is It Figures: The CRI Podcast, an accounting, advisory and industry focused podcast for business and organization leaders, entrepreneurs, and anyone who is looking to go beyond the status quo.

Lauren Magli:

Hello everyone and welcome to It Figures, the CRI podcast. Today, we are going to be talking about the Southern Grants Forum. The conference for grants management. You can visit us at the southerngrantsforum.com. My name is Lauren Magli, I’m the brand manager here at CRI and also one of the event planners for the Southern Grants Forum. And today I am joined by a special guest, Keith Hundley, who is one of our partners in our Enterprise, Alabama office, and also one of the founders of Southern Grants Forum.

Keith, tell us a little bit about yourself and also Southern Grants Forum.

Keith Hundley:

Good afternoon, Lauren. Hello, my name’s Keith Hundley, as Lauren told you. I’m a partner with CRI, a part of the firm’s governmental and not for profit practice. I’ve been working with grant funded organizations for the past 22 years as an auditor and consultant. My areas of expertise are focused on the uniform guidance, fiscal operations, internal controls, and really all areas of grant compliance as it relates to fiscal operations.

This is our seventh year of hosting this event and I am one of the founding partners of this event and very proud of it and the content we are able to bring to our attendees.

So the Southern Grants Forum is a three day educational event held annually. The Southern Grants Forum is a boutique conference for grants management professionals. We offer the most current and relevant information in grants management, covering a wide number of subjects.

Lauren Magli:

Keith, tell us when and where this year’s event is, because I do hear that the location is really nice this year.

Keith Hundley:

Yeah, you’re correct Lauren. We’re going to be in Charleston, South Carolina, July 26th through the 28th. And we’re going to be holding the conference at the Francis Marion Hotel, which is located down in the historic district of beautiful Charleston.

Lauren Magli:

So you told us that the event is a three day conference. What can attendees expect when they come?

Keith Hundley:

This is a live event and it’s held over three days. Day one is our plenary sessions offering a wide variety of topics of interest to all participants, day two and three are breakout sessions where we get a little more specialized in our topics.

Lauren Magli:

Could you go into some detail about some of the topics?

Keith Hundley:

Sure. Our topics this year, that we’re going to cover, we’ll have a grants management update. We’ll have a number of sessions on the uniform guidance, around the procurement and auditing, cost principles, property, just to name a few. We’ll also have a GAAP update for both FASB and GASB. So we’ll be covering the nonprofit as well as the governmental attendees.

We’re going to do a session on internal controls. We’re going to have a cyber security update. I have a feeling with what’s going on in the world today, it’ll be interesting to see over the next couple of months, what happens in the cyber security world. So a lot’s going to probably change between now and then. We have an attorney coming in to talk to us about the False Claims Act.

Our own Sandi Guy, our CRI partner on Human Capital is going to be handling a couple of sessions dealing with the great resignation that we’ve all been experiencing if you are in the workforce, dealing with that issue. We’re going to have a session specifically on leases. Not only will we be covering leases in our GAAP updates, but we’re going to have a standalone session on leases because there’s a huge change coming in lease accounting that’s going to affect most every entity out there. We’ll be talking about indirect cost. There’ll be some HR stuff, as I mentioned, and we’re also going to have grant writing, couple of sessions on grant writing and there will be more.

Lauren Magli:

That sounds like an amazing schedule. So really this event is geared for grant funded entities. And those who are interested in exploring the latest developments in grants management. Is that the vibe of the event, Keith?

Keith Hundley:

Yes. Lauren. This conference is designed for grants management professionals, and those are the people that I think will get the most out of this. That includes our CEOs; our executive directors; CFOs; HR directors and their staff; financial staff; program directors and programmatic staff. We get a very diverse group of attendees at this conference.

Lauren Magli:

And can attendees earn CPE credit at the conference?

Keith Hundley:

Absolutely Lauren. There will be 18 hours of CPE available for CPAs. CPE is provided through CRI and we are certified nationally by NASBA.

Lauren Magli:

Keith, can you tell us a little bit about what makes Southern Grants Forum so unique? Why is this the conference for grants management?

Keith Hundley:

Lauren, as I mentioned earlier, this is a boutique conference, so it’s small and it has an intimate feel to it. I think we’ve all been to conferences where there would be 600 to 1500 attendees and it’s overwhelming and for me, it’s just too much.

Something else we have is a very diverse group of speakers, CPAs; attorneys; experts in HR; leadership technology; governance. Probably the one thing that makes this event unique and even special, or even more special, is the accessibility: attendees have easy access to our speakers. And we all try to make ourselves readily available to our attendees throughout the conference.

Lauren Magli:

So not only do they have the opportunity to really connect with the speakers, but also with each other and fellow grant professionals.

Keith Hundley:

Right. So there’s great networking opportunities here. Again, since this is such a small conference, again, we limit our attendance to no more than 150. It makes it easy for attendees to meet each other, to network, so be sure to bring your business cards.

We also have a reception on the first night of the conference, which has always been a big hit with all the attendees at the previous conferences. And that’s another great opportunity to network. And again, in the breaks, after sessions, everything is there at the hotel and usually we’re in an area where it’s easy to mix and mingle and meet.

And I certainly encourage everybody that attends to network and get to know… This is your peer group. This is a great way to make some really good, long lasting contacts that you can lean on down the road, for any issues you have, or just develop some great friendships.

Lauren Magli:

Yeah. And this is my fourth year being involved with the planning of Southern Grants Forum. And I can just say, it’s just a fun event, honestly. We’ve got a great crowd. Everyone is in an excellent mood and we really encourage you guys to come out. As Keith mentioned, attendance is limited to 150 people and Keith, did you know that this year’s conference is already halfway sold out?

Keith Hundley:

Actually I did, Lauren, thank you. That’s interesting. I mean, that’s fantastic. I think Charleston’s going to be a big hit. It’s one of my favorites cities to visit and for the folks who have not been there, I think they’re going to love it. It’s so rich in history and Charleston, I think we forget sometimes that South Carolina is one of the 13 original colonies, so Charleston dates way back; a lot of history; a lot of great food; a lot of great culture, just a fantastic city to hold conference like this.

Lauren Magli:

And the hotel is historic, is that correct?

Keith Hundley:

That’s correct. The Francis Marion Hotel dates back to the early part of the 19th century, I’m sorry, the early part of the 1900s, they just did, I think a pretty serious renovation within the last few years. And so while it’s got that early 1900s charm to it, also has 21st century technology and amenities and features. So it’s a really neat hotel.

Lauren Magli:

The real question is, do we think it’s haunted?

Keith Hundley:

We’re going to find out. I’ve got some crack ghost hunters on our team, I know, and I think you are one of them.

Lauren Magli:

Oh yes, I am very excited about that aspect of it.

Keith Hundley:

Yes.

Lauren Magli:

Keith, can you tell us, since you have been involved with the conference since the start, a success story that stands out to you?

Keith Hundley:

Wow. A success story. Wow. That’s a tough one Lauren, as I said earlier, accessibility is a big part of this conference. I, myself and the other presenters, we get a lot of interacts with attendees after a session or during one of the breaks or even at the bar. People come and say, hey man, I enjoyed your session, I got an issue I want to run by you. And you’ll get into the conversation. Or sometimes it’s even a whole group from the organizational will surround you with a problem or an issue they want to talk about.

And sometimes they’ll pose a question that drifts into somebody else’s lane, it may be more legal than financial, and in that case, I look for our friend and co-sponsor, Brian Tipton and bring him into the conversation. Brian, being the attorney in the group. Or it can lead more toward an HR issue, in that case I’ll track down Sandi Guy who is CRI’s Human Capital partner.

The one story pops into my mind that I think is a good one, is, we had an attendee back in year two I think, at one of the Atlanta conferences, he was a CFO with a large not-for-profit. He had several HR issues. I think he had actually just inherited the HR department and it had fallen under him. And this was a large organization and he had several pretty major issues to who worked through and he was seeking some help. And so I know we were able to put him together with Sandi and they talked at the conference, but his issues were probably a little more advanced than could be handled in just a quick conversation outside the conference area. And so it just happened that he was based not too far from where Sandi’s based. So they were actually able to hook up, do a lunch after the conference and work through his HR issues. And I still keep in touch with him quite a bit. And it was very successful, he got his issues resolved.

Lauren Magli:

Awesome. So lasting relationships and partnerships sounds like are a regular thing for Southern Grants Forum.

Keith Hundley:

Absolutely.

Lauren Magli:

Keith, what are you most looking forward to with this year’s event in Charleston?

Keith Hundley:

Oh, that’s easy Lauren. Getting back in front of a live audience and seeing a lot of familiar faces from prior events. I think we’re all Zoomed out and ready to get back to live events.

Lauren Magli:

I know that I am, and I am definitely looking forward to networking with grants professionals in person. So just to recap, anyone here who is interested in learning more information about the Southern Grants Forum, how to register as well as viewing session details, and CPE details can visit us at the southerngrantsforum.com. The event this year is July 26th through the 28th in Charleston, South Carolina. And we really would like to invite everyone who is funded by grants, or just really interested in the space to come on out to the event. Keith, tell me a little bit about the affordability of the event.

Keith Hundley:

Well, Lauren, I think it’s a really good deal. The conference registration is 599 through April 30th, and then it will increase to 699 from May 1st on. We’ve also obtained a great rate for Charleston at the Francis Marion Hotel. The rooms are 139 per night, and I do want to let everyone know that the room block will cut off June 24th. So as Lauren mentioned, we’ve already, I think, about halfway filled up. We have limited seats and limited rooms. So please go ahead and register as soon as you can because once we sell out our rooms, I can’t guarantee you we can increase the block. But I think a great deal for our conference like this.

Lauren Magli:

So we’ve got early bird registration going on right now, so you can save a hundred dollars if you register before April 30th and the hotel deal 139 a night, that’s lower than the government per diem. Is it not?

Keith Hundley:

I believe so. I mean that’s in the historic district of Charleston. To me that’s a great rate and you’re within just a few blocks of everything, literally walking. I think it’s on the Marion Square, the hotel is, and just a great location. Great location.

Lauren Magli:

Well, I know Keith and I are very much looking forward to this conference. And everyone listening here today, thank you so much for joining us. We hope that you’re also able to join us at this year’s Southern Grants Forum.

Again, go to southerngrantsforum.com for more information and you can also visit cricpa.com as well for more episodes of It Figures a CRI podcast, as well as additional insights and information about the Southern Grants Forum or nonprofits, or governments and how we can help you guys.

So Keith, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate your time. Again, my name is Lauren Magli and thank you. We’ll see you in Charleston.

Keith Hundley:

Thank you.

Outro:

If you want more CRI insights or are interested in learning about our firm, please visit our website at cricpa.com. Thanks for listening to this episode of It Figures: The CRI podcast. You can subscribe to It Figures on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you prefer to listen to your podcasts. If you liked what you heard today, please leave us a review.

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