Digital Finance Conference

Category: Conferences

Artificial intelligence in finance: Are you ready?

From improving customer service, through to enhancing fraud detection, boosting compliance and forecasting more accurately, AI has the potential to disrupt and enhance the role of the finance function. But where should CFOs start? And how do senior leaders cut through the hype and leverage digital technologies to transform the role of finance as a business partner?

Supercharge your finance strategy
The centre for Financial Leadership and Digital Transformation’s first ever Digital Finance Conference has been designed to help you answer these questions – and more. The half-day, online event brings together finance leaders, technology players, scientists and data practitioners. You’ll hear from leading speakers and have opportunities to talk to finance leaders and experienced academics. You’ll dive deep into examples from companies including Microsoft and Volvo – and you’ll gain important insights into the leadership issues surrounding AI implementation.

1 June 2021
2:00 - 7:00 PM
Online, hosted via SwapCard
Finance leaders

Get inspired by keynote speaker professor Michael Kearns

We’re delighted to announce that professor Michael Kearns will be delivering the conference keynote speech titled 'The Ethical Algorithm', shedding a light on the newest science of socially aware algorithm design as a response to the raised alarm bells over antisocial algorithmic behaviour.

The concerns include leaks of sensitive personal data by predictive models, algorithmic discrimination as a side effect of machine learning, and inscrutable decisions made by complex models. While standard and legitimate responses to these phenomena include calls for stronger and better laws and regulations, researchers in machine learning, statistics, and related areas are also working on designing better-behaved algorithms. Kearns will survey these developments and attempt to place them in a broader societal context. This talk is based on the book The Ethical Algorithm, co-authored with Aaron Roth (Oxford University Press).


2:00 - 2:10 PM

By Francesca Vanthielen (Event Host & Moderator)

By Vincent Van Peteghem (Minister of Finance of Belgium) and Kristof Stouthuysen (Professor in Management Accounting & Director of the Centre for Financial Leadership & Digital Transformation, Vlerick Business School & KU Leuven)

2:10 - 3:00 PM

Keynote 'The Ethical Algorithm'
By Michael Kearns (Professor, University of Pennsylvania)

Professor Kearns is an expert in machine learning, AI, algorithmic game theory, and quantitative finance. He will be delivering the conference keynote speech titled 'The Ethical Algorithm', shedding a light on the newest science of socially aware algorithm design as a response to the raised alarm bells over antisocial algorithmic behaviour. 

3:00 - 3:10 PM Break

Parallel tracks
Each track features three, highly-experienced speakers – as well as opportunities to share insights with fellow delegates. You’ll explore the risks and benefits of AI – and develop an even deeper understanding of how it can help you deliver on your strategic goals.


The full line-up of our expert and inspirational speakers will be announced soon!

Starting with AI for finance leaders

Cutting-edge AI applications in finance

Finance leaders in a digital world

Find out what you need to know as a finance leader to get started with machine learning and AI in your finance department, focussing on relevant technologies and the deployment process. Delve into innovative AI applications that will help you to make better strategic decisions with your finance department and for your whole organisation, all the while getting inspired by the illustrated use cases. Discover the importance of leadership when going on a digital
transformation journey, exploring the necessary management skills and different facets of the modern finance role.
3:10 - 3:50 PM Real life finance transformations with Microsoft, what did we learn throughout transformations at large complex organizations within the Automotive & Utilities sector
By Stein Vermeulen (Manager Data & AI BeLux, Microsoft)
Boosting risk analytics
By Bart Baesens (Professor of Big Data & Analytics, KU Leuven & University of Southampton)
In technology we trust: determinants of trust in the human/system interaction
By Karlien Vanderheyden (Professor People Management & Leadership, Vlerick Business School)
3:50 - 4:00 PM  Break
4:00 - 4:40 PM Automated machine learning in the finance department
By Dick Sterk (Regional Sales Manager Benelux, DataRobot)
Will the real slim shady please stand up?! Capital allocation powered by AI
By Samir Rath (Chief Executive Officer, Blue Fire AI)
Microsoft’s journey evolving to modern finance
By Vinay Gupta (Finance Lead, Microsoft Partner & Small Customers Business Belux)
4:40 - 4:50 PM  Break
4:50 - 5:30 PM Machine learning as an enabler of the finance transformation at Workday
By Philippa Lawrence (Chief Accounting Officer, Vice President at Workday)
AI for tax management
By Robert Risse (Professor, Chairman of the board of directors of the Transfer Pricing Center at the WU Vienna, Institut for Austrian and International Tax Law at WU Vienna)
Working across divides
By Smaranda Boros (Professor Organisational Behaviour, Vlerick Business School)
5:30 - 5:40 PM Break
5:40 - 6:30 PM

CFO round table
At the closing round table, moderated by Francesca Vanthielen, (inter)national CFOs will share their views on the game-changing role of AI and will take you along in discussing the major challenges to becoming a digital finance leader – and the role AI can play in developing the finance function.

Joining us at the table:

  • Marc Vankerckhoven (Senior Director Finance JBS BeNe, Member of the Board of Directors, Janssen Pharmaceutica),
  • Alexandre Pouille (Vice President Finance Europe, Anheuser-Busch InBev), 

  • Anna Agafonova (Chief Financial Officer, SWIFT),

  • Erik Van den Enden (Group Chief Financial Officer, Telenet),

  • Marjolein Frederickx (Chief Financial Officer & Board Member, Lidl Belgium & Luxemburg),

  • Judy Romano (Vice-President, Chief Financial Officer, Commercial & Technology, ‎InterContinental Hotels Group),

  • Brian Montgomery (International Finance Director, Workday),

  • and others to be announced soon!

6:30 - 6:40 PM Closing
By Francesca Vanthielen & Kristof Stouthuysen



Centre for Financial Leadership & Digital Transformation

The Centre for Financial Leadership & Digital Transformation conducts action-oriented research involving the finance function of tomorrow. It also serves as a knowledge platform. Finance leaders who want to develop a competitive and effective finance department or accounting office, embrace the technology dimension, and stay up-to-date with the most recent technological developments impacting the finance function could benefit from our unique knowledge platform and research. Learn more about this centre!

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27 May

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08 Jun

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08 Jun

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