What Happens in Vegas Doesn't Always Stay in Vegas: The AICPA National Auto Dealership Conference

Now that I have your attention, several members from the Schneider Downs Auto Dealer Advisors Group attended the 2014 AICPA National Auto Dealership Conference, which was hosted at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 26 through 28.  My top three takeaways from the conference were:

  1. Finance and Insurance Department (F&I) – The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Department of Justice (DOJ) continue to focus on F&I compliance.  Specifically, the focus has been on fair lending policies at dealerships.  Also, many dealerships are beginning to transform to a more collaborative sales approach that incorporates all aspects of the car-buying experience, including the F&I department.
  2. Advertising - In recent years, the FTC has been conducting advertising enforcement sweeps within the industry.  Recent focus has not only been on traditional mediums, but also has shifted to include “modern” mediums (i.e., social media).   As a general rule of thumb, follow the clean and conspicuous standard when it comes to advertising, and be sure to check with legal counsel when in doubt.
  3. DMS Systems - As your DMS systems become outdated, your dealership may contemplate an upgrade.  Making such a switch is a bold statement, but there are some things you may want to consider, as the options have been expanding.
    1. Contract Term - 36 months is usually better than 72-month contracts.
    2. Does the new system contain all the necessary functions, or will I need to purchase other “add-on” applications (for example, a reporting tool)?
    3. System Integration - many of the “new” DMS systems may claim to have the capability to integrate various dealership functions, but to what extent have they been tested?

In conclusion, be on the look-out for other insights related to our takeaways from this year’s AICPA Conference.  And, in case you missed it, be sure to attend or send you dealership’s chief financial officer and/or controller to attend next year’s conference, which will be held October 18 through 20, 2015 in Orlando, Florida.

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