I love working online. It gives me the freedom to work when, where and how I want. However, I know the power of connecting in person too. I love working with Accountants and Bookkeepers. So I started researching going to Accounting and Finance conferences.

Serena Dot Ryan - Attending Accounting ConferencesI soon discovered I was in an unusual position. I’m a marketer and business owner wanting to attend Accounting and Finance Conferences. A bit like a square peg in a round hole.

Most Accounting and Finance Conferences are for Accounting Professionals only. Yes I’m interested in Accounting professionals being my clients, but more than that I want to be debt free and build my financial literacy. I want to live and breathe numbers and I want to ask the right questions of those who are helping me with my money.

The funny (not funny) thing is I’ve been laughed at more than once, ‘Why would you want to go to an Accounting Conference?’ has been said jokingly to me by Accountants!

My simple answer is I want to ask better questions of those helping me with my finances so I can get better outcomes. I’m a reformed spender. In fact I get sick at the thought of wasting money. Now when I discover I could have saved money or even made money, the nausea is replaced with anger.

This determination to get better outcomes for me and to understand my clients challenges, led me to start following Accountants and Bookkeepers on Twitter. It was through this I discovered and  registered to go to the ReceiptBank Roadshow in Sydney. And then, one thing led to another and I took the plunge fully, jumped on a plane to Melbourne and attended QuickBooks Connect, an Accounting Conference.

I hadn’t heard too much about QuickBooks until I started listening to Cloud Accounting podcasts. Listening to Rob Brown’s interview of Alison Ball is what compelled me to want to learn more about the Quick Books. The interview opened my mind to more than one cloud accounting platform. I grew up with my parents being on MYOB (they have been in business for 35+ years) and when I started my business 5 years ago, apart from using Invoices2Go for 6 months, when it comes to cloud accounting I have only ever known Xero.

Alison Ball is heart centered, curious and passionate. I believe the people of a company are a reflection of the company culture and beliefs. I figured if someone like her could be so passionate about the company she works for, I owe it to myself to explore and find out more about Intuit and QuickBooks.

Attending QuickBooks Connect I truly wanted to know:

  • What were the challenges of 2019 (and beyond) for Accountants and Bookkeepers
  • What did Accountants and Bookkeepers care about
  • What Cloud Apps could help me personally and professionally

When I started in business October 2014 I quickly sought a cloud based solution for invoicing and based on price (free!) and convenience I started using Invoices2go. However I quickly outgrew the free option and started looking at what else was on offer. Based on my Accountant’s recommendation I went with Xero and I’ve been on that platform since early 2015.

What I Learned At QuickBooks Connect:

The Ripple Effect of Being Becoming Paperless

Lielette at QB Connect Melbourne 2019
Lielette Calleja from All That Counts talking STP at #QBConnect 2019

Lielette Calleja from All That Counts presented an informative session on what you need to know if you haven’t already embraced Single Touch Payroll (STP). Single Touch Payroll is coming in for all Australian based businesses who have employees on 1st July 2019. There are some exceptions to this rule, but, in saying this, my take on this is, eventually everyone will have to be on it, so start as soon as you can get it implemented. Don’t hesitate to speak to your Accountant and/or Bookkeeper and get it sorted now.

I met with my Accountant last week. And at my Accountant’s recommendation I am also speaking to my Bookkeeper about it as well.

It makes sense for efficiency sake to be on a Cloud Accounting Platform.

Learning about STP, a government initiative to report all payroll activities every pay cycle, it simply adds to the list of why and how cloud accounting can help be efficient and ultimately keep overheads low and increase the likelihood of small businesses staying in business.

Automation — The App Market

Heather Smith at Quick Books Connect Melbourne
Heather Smith talking cloud based apps for business at #QBConnect19

Incredible apps are available. Getting the right apps based on your niche to integrate with your Accounting Platform will save you hours and enable you to scale your business. I love how there is opportunity to discuss which apps suit your business based on your circumstances and your niche.

My biggest take aways from Heather Smith’s talk on getting the right apps for your business are:

  1. Be clear on your niche. Each niche has their own strengths and requirements, the clearer you are on this, there are a multitude of benefits. As a marketer I understand this, but to view it through the accounting lens was refreshing and added more reasons to why clarity of your niche that you look after makes good business sense.
  2. There is literally an app for that. The multitude of apps available is exciting and fascinating.
  3. If in doubt ask. Start the conversation with your accountant. If they don’t have the answer, connect with Heather Smith or get your accountant to connect with Heather to find the apps to get you cloud based and running as efficiently as possible.
  4. There are no stupid questions. Get informed and set up properly.

AI — Understand Artificial Intelligence

It’s important to understand the trends in the future of work, money and lifestyle. Blockchain is not here yet, but understanding the process and value now will help you prepare for the future. Keep being curious and asking questions.

Human Connection — The beautiful people you meet

Serena Dot Ryan - Quick Books Making New Friends
Selfie fun with Lielette Calleja at #QBConnect

I also discovered beautiful empathy from those I met. I was attending a conference alone. This is overwhelming in itself. Attending an Accounting Conference. I truly didn’t know what to expect. Everyone I spoke with was incredibly welcoming. In fact the friendliness is what has stuck with me even now. Forming connections and new friends ready to catch up at the next Accounting conference I attend had me in awe.

Serena Dot Ryan and Kathy-Maree Bartle
Connecting with Kathy-Maree Bartle from Books Alive Bookkeeping at #QBConnect

I was attending as a Business Owner with a vested interest in understanding cloud accounting opportunities.

I believe training and education should be a 2 way street. To educate Accountants and Bookkeepers is important, but it is equally important to educate Business Owners as well.

This is what I loved about QuickBooks Connect, Business Owners were invited to attend the event to hear the same information as the accounting professionals attending.

Attending Accounting Conferences and becoming immersed in the Accounting Industry is more than running a business, it is my mission to gain and share financial education.

Connecting with Amanda Hoffmann
Connecting with Amanda Hoffmann from My Office Books at #QBConnect

I don’t want anyone to go through what I have been through with money and finances. And for that matter, I don’t want to work with clients who don’t have strong understanding of their numbers.

Marketing is an amplification and growth tool for business. If it is done before there is a clear understanding of your business numbers and clear goals are defined, it is a waste of your time and money.

When clients have a clear understanding of their Business Growth Target and can relate that to their Cost Per Acquisition (CPA), Cost Per Lead (CPL) and expected ROAS (Return On Ad Spend), and the right tracking is in place to measure these key metrics, we are in the box seat to be set up for success.

It’s okay if a client doesn’t know what all these business numbers are when we start working together, much the same as knowing how to read a profit and loss statement (P & L) the important thing is that they are open to learning what the numbers are AND how those numbers will help them take action to achieve their business targets.

Conferences like QuickBooks Connect are valuable to spark conversations that are numbers based between Accountants, Bookkeepers and Business Owners. The longer I am in business I see just how vital it is that all business conversations even those surrounding the creative side of business must be embedded in numbers, otherwise the risk of wasting time and money is significant. The knock on effect is too many go out of business.

I look forward to attending QuickBooks Connect again next year and to attend more accounting, bookkeeping and business conferences that talk numbers and business sustainability.

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