Accounting Business Expo, 2018 is a wrap. And as Mr Samaranch would have said, the vendor-neutral, independent showcase was Australia’s biggest and best ever. (Thanks Juan, cheque’s in the mail.)
The first thing you would have noticed when you arrived at this year’s expo would have been the sheer scale – significantly bigger than 2017. Packed out seminar theatres, a sea of impressive exhibitors, and with close to 4,500 professionals in attendance the expo floor was nothing short of vibrant.
Visitors returning from last year spotted a couple of welcome surprises. The coffee was free – and so was the water, along with loads of great spots to hang out and take a break.
The hit of the expo was the new matchmaking facilitly. (No, it wasn’t Tinder, settle down.) It was a much more efficient way to canvass all suppliers in any category, and to facilitate deeper and more meaningful connections amongst the audience. Thinking about adding advisory? Or trying to decide which expense management tool to use? Instead of waiting at a stand to grab a salesperson you just book an appointment online before the show, swan in at the appointed hour and then let rip.
Thousands of attendees pingponged their way through the expo floor, getting answers to all their questions without wasting a minute of their time. Think of the billable hours saved!
It wasn’t just meetings with suppliers. I saw plenty of groups gathering in the expo cafe, lounge area and bars outside. Bookkeepers, accountants and CFOs from all walks catching up, sharing their thoughts on the best suppliers and talking about the plans for their own businesses.
Some had travelled hundreds of kilometres to join in the fun.
One of the happiest sights for me was the session theatres packed to the rafters. This year we added wireless headsets that blocked out the ambient noise so you could hear everything happening on stage creating a unique silent disco feel to the event.
The BT and FUTRLI theatres pulled strong crowds, particularly to the more practical sessions. “How I won a $100k p.a. client in one meeting”, “How to turn a $3k client into $12k”, and “How an accountant became a growth strategist – with six-figure clients” were each first- hand accounts of practitioners sharing stories of success with their peers.
Tim Reed and Trent Innes from MYOB and Xero respectively talked about the impact of technology on business and the accounting industry. Jo Burston from Job Capital pulled no punches in her advice to the audience on what SMEs want from their accountant, demonstrating the drive that took her to $40 million revenue in five years.
And the youthful Damien Singh spoke about the joys and travails of running the finances for Australia’s second tech unicorn, Canva.
The first Accounting Business Expo exploded onto the scene in 2017 and took a lot of people by surprise. This year the show matured quickly into the anchor that the industry sorely needed.
Thank you to everyone who made it down to Darling Harbour, Sydney. To all those who missed it, the magic returns in March next year. I hope to see you there.