Accountex: worth the time?
XU Magazine speaks to Alex Falcon (Soaring Falcon Accountancy), David Hassall (XU Magazine’s CEO) and James Ashford (GoProposal) about their experiences at Accountex…
Alex Falcon, CEO and founder, Soaring Falcon Accountancy
Alex Falcon is the CEO and Founder of Soaring Falcon Accountancy. Alex was voted ‘Xero’s Most Valued Professional UK’ in 2017. Alex, how important is it for any accountant in the UK to attend Accountex and why?
I usually attend to find out about new products, services and most importantly to connect to people face to face. With the added bonus of CPD!
What have you learned from your time spent at Accountex and how has that helped you grow Soaring Falcon?
Since the vendors are there, it’s a key time to learn who is behind a product. Ask them questions and see if it will be a good fit for your business. Usually, they can help you with areas you may be stuck on face to face rather than via support ticket or over the phone. Building relationships is important to any growing business. The speakers are also important for any key subjects you need more understanding on.
Do you take any of your team to Accountex and if so how has that helped your team grow and advance?
Yes of course! Again, they learn about products and the people behind them. Making staff aware of how the products are there to help improve our workflows and allowing them to build their own network. If they get stuck, speaking to someone over email /phone when you have met them, reminds people that we are humans…
What are your top tips to get the most out of the 2 days of Accountex? How do you implement what you have learned back in the office?
Take the brochure, highlight at least 10 must visit stands you want to see. This is usually made up of the key products such as Xero, followed by new ones you haven’t met. Check the speakers and the times/ locations… plan your day so you don’t miss out. It will be hard to see everyone, so planning the event before hand is my main tip. Arrive early, have breakfast. If you arrive the night before, find out about events to network at. People generally have more time for you… and a beer!
David Hassall, CEO and co-founder, XU Magazine
Accountex is the UK’s largest exhibition and conference dedicated to accountancy & finance professionals, Why is Accountex UK important to you and why is it so important in helping accountancy firms?
Attending Accountex is a great way to find out what is going within the accountancy community. Companies there showcasing their latest technologies and fantastic speakers either inspiring or giving real nuggets of wisdom that can be taken away from the show. It’s also become a great way to catch up with some old friends and contacts that would otherwise be difficult to pin down for a coffee.
I would imagine the conferences are big events within the accountancy community, how important is it for you to attend and take part in conferences and what different challenges do you think comes with this?
As a magazine centered around an accounting software being at these conferences is vital for us. It lets us distribute our content but also gives us the opportunity hear what the accounting and financial professionals are hungry for in their ongoing quest to better their knowledge and skills.
How have you found preparing for your speaking slot? What value does it bring to the delegates and your team?
I’ve always been more of a ‘stand-up and wing it’ type of person but I’ve learnt over the years that it does certainly pay to put the prep work in. This time we’ll be interviewing various people so homework is key! It gives us a great chance to engage with the community and for the delegates a chance to hear in further details what we actual cover in our magazine.
Accountex provides a simple route to market, but what has exhibiting done for XU? Has it helped you understand the industry more?
Yes certainly, direct contact with your target market is only ever going to produce positive results. Whether you have something new or established to exhibit at Accountex thereís always going to be value to be gained. Whether thatís new users or sales to really useful feedback and advice on your produce.
James Ashford, CEO and founder, GoProposal
XU: You’re a big advocate for Accountex UK. Why is Accountex UK so important in helping accountants and accountancy firms?
Accountex was the first event that put me on stage, and the atmosphere at Accountex this year was off the charts.
Accountex was filled with great people, all wanting to be better, wanting to learn, wanting to discover how they could serve their clients better and it was great to be a part of it.
I always find the accounting community to be one of generosity and a deep desire to help and serve. Accountex was filled with people like that who wanted to discover new ways to grow the impact they’re able to have.
I’m looking forward to being on stage at their new Northern event when it comes to Manchester next year.
At last year’s Accountex you had several to speaking slots on different stages. How did you prepare for this and what value did you bring to the delegates?
I’d been preparing for those talks for over a decade.
I’ve been fortunate to have worked with some amazing businesses for a long time now. I have been mentored by some of the worldís leading business experts and have discovered principles that can really help businesses to become unstuck and to start accelerating.
One of my greatest achievements was helping a football academy business for kids, to systemize, franchise and scale. I helped them to go from £75k a year to £750,000 in the space of 3 years.
These principles are simple, timeless and provide firm foundations on which to grow.
Business isn’t complicated. People just make it complicated. What I feel I’m able to do is to make complex ideas and strategies simple so that you can actually take the required action to implement them.
Taking notes wonít change the world. Taking action will.
Now I’m not saying Iíve figured it all out. I haven’t. We’re all learning. But the reason I love to talk on stage is because I think that if I can shorten somebody’s learning curve so they can reach their goals faster, then that’s amazing.
And I’ve learned that you don’t always need to have the answers. You just need the ability to ask better questions and to inspire action and that’s what I aim to do.
So you could literally stick me on stage right now, describe the challenges people are facing and I would help them to take actions that would help them overcome those challenges.
I believe that if you help enough other people to get everything they want, you’ll eventually get everything YOU want.
Can our readers expect to see you speaking at Accountex again in 2018? If so, do you have any sneak peaks on what you might be sharing?
I’m just going to freestyle this time. No… only joking.
A business has one main goal, which is to make money.
As a business which delivers accountancy services and therefore manages the finance function of their clients, if there’s one thing they have to master, it’s their ability to be profitable, maximise the lifetime value of their clients and improve their cashflow.
As finance experts, if you can nail the finance function of your own business, what chance do you have or effectively helping your client.
But when you train to be accountants, nobody shows you how to do this, so you have to figure it out for yourself, learn from others and learn from your mistakes.
So I’m still fully committed to helping firms to improve their profitability, maximise the lifetime value of their clients and improve their cashflow.
Your ability to maximise your profitability and the amount of money you’re making affects everything.
If you don’t get this right to start with, there’s no way you can effectively improve efficiencies, systemise effectively, attract the clients you want to work with, afford to exit troublesome clients, evolve your team and create an amazing place to work.
But the big thing Iím going to be doing it to start challenging mindsets a lot more.
There’s not much of what I’m sharing that they won’t know already. But just because they know it, not many of them are doing it. If if they are doing it, they’re not doing it as well as they could be, and the reason why always comes down to mindset.
Very often, people know what to do, but they’re trapped by an emotional attachment to clients, a legacy of doing things the wrong way, resistant partners, staff who are scared to change, listening to the wrong advice and scared of making a mistake
My mission is to help accountancy firms to free up their thinking and to have the confidence to make the decisions that will help them to grow. But that’s scary for a lot of firms.
Tony Robbins, who changed my life and who taught me so much about business, has a great quote which is:
“The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably deal with.”
Accountants typically donít like uncertainty, but itís the key to growth and I can help with that.
XU: It’s amazing news about Accountex North. You’re a northern guy yourself. How important is it that Accountex is taking a conferences up to the northern part of the UK? What different challenges do you think this might bring?
It’s always a challenge starting a new exhibition conference because it needs people to support it and turn up.
It’s a big investment for a firm to send one or more staff to an event like this and the majority of people who attend events like this, come because of the quality of speakers and what they’re likely to learn.
But Accountex really knows what they’re doing, how to get people there, how to deliver great value to attendees and so I know theyíll make it a fantastic event.
I think it’s really exciting that it’s coming up north and especially Manchester. The BBC have moved to Manchester. We’re based in Manchester. It’s clearly a great place to be.