NA International Tax Conference is big online success
Praxity’s North American International Tax Conference was the most successful to date, attracting record numbers of delegates from around the world. The prestigious event – held online for the first time to protect the safety of delegates – demonstrated that there are significant benefits to be had from online conferences despite the absence of traditional networking. The digital delivery meant more people in more countries could take part, both as guest speakers and attendees, providing greater diversity of thought.
Conference host Kellie Becker, partner at US firm Plante Moran and chair of Praxity’s North American Working Group, said: “It was different but I really enjoyed it. I missed the connection of being able to talk to someone in person but we had an opportunity to talk across the globe. People in any time zone could join in, listen and take part.” She added: “In the past, attendance was restricted by how many people could fly to the US for the event. This time, we had panellists that we had never had before, and we even had people joining us at 1:30am in Asia.” Held over five days from November 16-20, the virtual event attracted over 1000 delegates – more than double the previous attendance record. Attendees included professionals from Praxity member firms, non-member firms, and clients worldwide. The focus was on the changing international tax and business landscape and planning for a post-Covid world, with practical examples and discussions from a US and global perspective.
International specialists from around the world presented pre-recorded sessions and took part in “live” Q&As with participants to encourage greater interaction. Content included updates on global tax, North American trade (USMCA), tax planning in Western Europe (DAC6) and emerging issues in Asia Pacific, as well as developments in transfer pricing, foreign tax credit, M&A and due diligence. “The virtual conference showcased how we collaborate,” Kellie explained. “There were different members in different countries and it all appeared seamless.” She added:
“I had a bunch of emails from people afterwards saying the event was fantastic and very professional and that they enjoyed the different range of speakers.”
Feedback from delegates included:
“This was possibly the best video conference on this type of subject which I have experienced this year.” “This is a great conference…it gets better each year!” “It was very well done!”
What the conference lacked in terms of in-person networking opportunities, it more than made up for in content and global engagement. Indeed, online sessions could be here to stay for delegates unable to fly to events in-person due to distance or personal commitments. Looking ahead to next year, Kellie said:
“I think virtual conferences, or at least a virtual element, will be more common in future. You get a broader group of people, and in 2021, it may be possible to combine the live element with video.”