QuickBooks Connect is one of the biggest events in the accounting calendar. To make sure you get the most out of it including Firm of the Future winner Lielette Calleja of All that Counts, Sam Rotberg, CPA of AS Partners, Tim Hoopmann of Spin Business Solutions and Intuit’s Alex Medina.
How to connect
“There’s a reason it’s called Quickbooks Connect,” says Lieletter Calleja. “While the apps are great and the speakers are inspiring, it’s the connections you make and the people and friendships you build.”
And if you’re flying solo, what’s the best way to connect with fellow ProAdvisors? The resounding response was to not be shy, say hello to your neighbour, swap business cards, follow them on social networks.
This matches up neatly with Sam Rotberg’s first experience of Quickbooks Connect in San Jose in 2015. “I went there not knowing anyone, I think the most important thing to realise is that we're all in the same boat,” he explained.
“We all have great knowledge of our industry, and we're all still learning a lot about different areas. Don't feel like you're less a person than anyone else. Whoever you're sitting next to at any of the areas you're gonna go to, just introduce yourself, talk to them, ask them questions, I'm sure they'll do the same.”
Looking behind the scenes
Lielette also uses the conference as an opportunity to connect with the people behind the apps.
“We use a lot of these products and apps, but we don't really know the people who are behind them. So I use it as an opportunity to get to know the people that drive the apps, the people that run Quickbooks, get to know all those people face-to-face.”
This approach can yield real long-term benefits. “Once you build that trust factor, you can always go to those people when you have an issue with the product. That's what I get out of conferences. Just put a face to the name because we live in such a digital, social world, we don't often get those opportunities to really connect on a face-to-face level,” says Lielette.
Tim Hoopman uses Quickbooks Connect to spend time with his app partners too. “They are an important part of my business, and it's great to go and chat with them, connect with them, have a discussion, and see what they are up to.”
Staying ahead of the curve
Every year brings a crop of new technology developments. Being up on the latest tools is now a key part of making sure your clients are getting the best service possible.
We asked the panel for their hot tips.
- Sam is looking forward to checking out Maus
- Some of Lielette’s clients have been asking about Fishbowl, so they’re on her must visit list of app partners.
- Alex recommends checking out Tradify, they’re new on the Quickbooks app.com and focused on that tradie market so well with checking out.
- For my part, I had the pleasure of doing a demo of Chata.ai at Get Connected Vancouver earlier this year, and they’re definitely worth a visit
The must-see talks
For Alex Medina of Intuit, she has a few QuickBooks Connects under her belt, and while Tyra Banks stands out from last year, she’s looking forward to hearing from Intuit’s founder Scott Cook. Plus, he’s interviewing Melanie Perkins, the founder of Canva.
In case you don’t know Canva, it's a company that has achieved, in a short period of time, over 10 million users, and the customer experience is absolutely brilliant. I definitely want to be there and listen to that conversation and get tips from her, (and Scott of course), about how she managed such rapid adoption of Canva globally. That's one in my list, absolutely.
Sam’s celebrity speaker highlight of the 2015 San José conference was the one and only Oprah Winfrey.
“The take home message from her last session was learning to work in a team, to share and delegate and to trust other people, because they've got their roles to do. That probably resonated with me more than anything else. I have brought that back to the practice and made sure that I delegate more to my team. I trust my team, and I ensure that we're all involved together when we make decisions on certain things, and that they need to report back to me on other things, and that's really helped me in my practice.”
Three years later, Oprah sessions remains a stand out, but as Lielette points out, “[Celebrities] are just people too. They all work incredibly hard, quite often fail and overcome that failure to be where they are. So really, they’re no different to me.”
Sam’s number one tip – plan. He’s already downloaded the mobile app and is planning his day using the My Agenda tab. “Without a plan it can be quite overwhelming. I’m building my agenda in the app, and getting my questions, what I want to know lined up, before I go. It’s much more relaxing that way.”
Lielette likes to factor in a few quiet time opportunities for down time throughout the program.
“I think for me, I think it's okay to take a time out and a bit of alone time, and just take it all in. You don't have to be on the go the whole time. Find yourself a quiet space and just take it all in.”
Alex focuses on dressing for success. And by success she means (professional) comfort. So make sure you’re shoes are set for the long haul, dress in layers, and remember to stay hydrated and fuelled to last the entire ride that is Quickbooks Connect.
Tim’s parting words of wisdom, reminded people that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. With plenty of side activities it’s easy to burn out early. So plan your day, know your sessions and which speakers you want to speak to – yes they are very approachable – and like Alex, hydrate (maybe some Berocca) to keep you healthy and alert.
Quickbooks Connect in Sydney promises be an event not to be missed. Speaking of events not to be missed, make sure to come and see us at P1 to get signed up for our events happening alongside the conference. Also, if you're not yet a Receipt Bank Partner, pre-book a demo to see the software in action here.
Not attending Quickbooks Connect? Be sure to follow the Twitter hashtag #QBConnect, plus the live stream, and don’t be shy about coming out to a Receipt Bank hosted party if you’re in or around Sydney.