Well, QuickBooks Connect is over and by all accounts, this year’s sold-out conference was the best one yet.
With an overarching theme of staying true to your vision, and more inspiring speakers than you could shake a stick at, there were so many great takeaways from the event, but we’ve narrowed them down to four.
1. FIND YOUR INTENT
One of the keynotes came from Chris Pan on finding your intent; that is, finding your purpose and committing to that purpose. That may seem like a hefty message for an accounting conference, but much of the social buzz around QB Connect ‘17 referred to it as “life-changing” and “amazingly moving”.
Shonda Rhimes offered up some similarly stirring words, saying, “Any room that you enter, know that you belong in that room.” Indeed, a number of the speakers discussed the importance of being confident in the vision and plan you have for yourself. This of course refers not only to your personal vision, but also your professional vision – lay out a plan for your firm and stick to it.
2. WOMEN MAY BE UNDERREPRESENTED, BUT THEY ARE KEY INDUSTRY PLAYERS
Although women make up approximately 50% of accounting and bookkeeping graduates entering the workforce, only 19% of firm partners are women. That being said, KPMG and Deloitte both have female CEOs and there are a number of schemes and awards, such as ICAEW’s Women in Leadership programme, to inspire and motivate women in the industry.
One of these such awards is CPA Practice Advisor’s Most Powerful Women in Accounting Awards, held at QuickBooks Connect. This year saw Receipt Bank partner, Dawn Brolin, CEO of Powerful Accounting, win for the 6th year in a row!
She said of the win: “So honored and humbled to receive the award as one of the 2017 Most Powerful Women in Accounting for the 6th year in a row! I am in great company with these smart and amazing women.”
Shoutout to all of the winners, including:
- Jennifer Warawa, Executive VP of Partners, Accountants and Alliances at Sage (who stopped by our London office the other day)
- Geni Whitehouse, Countess of Communication at Even A Nerd Can Be Heard
- Gail Perry, Editor-in-Chief of CPA Practice Advisor
- Amy Vetter, Global VP Education and Head of Accounting at Xero
- Arianna Campbell, Consultant at Boomer Consulting
- Sandra Wiley, President of Boomer Consulting
3. CHATBOTS ARE THE NEW BATTLEGROUND FOR ACCOUNTING SOFTWARES
Intuit used QuickBooks Connect as a platform to unveil their new interface, QuickBooks Assistant. The software acts as a virtual financial advisor, working with the QuickBooks Self-Employed mobile app to update clients on their financial status and help them with forecasting and strategizing. Given that the self-employed are forecasted to make up 43% of the U.S. workforce by 2020, it comes as no surprise that Intuit is pursuing the gig economy in this way.
The announcement comes only months after Sage released their own chatbot, Pegg, which won Innovation of the Year at AccountingWEB’s 2017 Software Excellence Awards. Although, Pegg can only converse via written communication, whereas QuickBooks Assistant is similar to a financial Siri – you can talk to it and it will reply.
QuickBooks now enters the fray next to Xero’s Messenger add-on Hey Xero. As chatbots take on more and more of the traditional role of the accountant, the industry will be forced to react creatively. Accountants and bookkeepers must develop skills that fall under category of EQ, rather than IQ, so as to provide a higher quality client experience.
4. WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER
The conference ended on a high, as attendees walked away with bracelets inscribed with ‘Together’. The sentiment seems apt, as ‘togetherness’ seemed to be the flavour of the day. Our partner AIS Solutions took out Global Firm of the Future 2017, in part for their fantastically streamlined cloud processes but also for their initiative Kninja Knetwork.
Kninja is an online community for accountants and bookkeepers to learn and grow together, with a wide range of webinars, forums and more. “We started Kninja Knetwork to create the one place for all around training for bookkeepers,” says Steve Loates, VP of Business Development. “If no one else was going to do it, it had to be up to us.”
It’s easier than ever for people to connect with and learn from each other with the vast array of social networks available. Kninja is for accountants and bookkeepers, but we’ve gone one step further, and created one purely for Receipt Bank partners: Orange Select. It’s a community of like-minded innovators, with whom you can share your thoughts and advice, and from whom you can learn and grow.
Though we’re sad that Quickbooks Connect San Jose is over, we had such an amazing time that it’s hard to feel too melancholy. Thank you to all our partners, old and new, who stopped by the stand, and of course thank you Intuit for having us – see you next week in Toronto!