Accounting For Life: A blog by Gail Perry, CPA, Editor-in-Chief, CPA Practice Advisor
I go to a lot of accounting conferences. Frequently I'm a speaker, talking as one practicing accountant to other accountants about improving communication with their clients and colleagues. Over the years, I've noticed a few problems with these conferences that I would like to rectify.
First, attendance at national conferences can cost a lot of money. A typical registration fee is in the neighborhood of $1,000 per person.
Second, typically the conferences are located in upscale resort areas or big cities, places that require travel, hotel stays, and purchased meals. While the conference organizers do their best to arrange for discounted room rates and to provide sustenance for attendees, there is still an expense factor associated with getting to and staying at the event.
In addition, we are accountants. While some have better social skills than others, generally we are a reclusive lot, happier to stay in our comfort zones with people we know and trust. Throw us into a room full of 1,000+ other introverts and you have a very uncomfortable situation.
On the plus side, the lineup of speakers at the major national conferences is stellar. The people who are chosen to speak are the leaders in their field. They are successful in their area of expertise, they are influential thought leaders, they are outstanding public speakers, and they are worth the price of admission because the experiences and ideas and concepts they have to share with you will be game-changers in your practice.
On the negative side, I have also noticed that many accountants attend these events alone. Those who bring a few members of their firm with them spread out and they each go to different sessions so that they can report back to each other on what they heard. In all cases, I assume these conference-goers intend to share their new-found knowledge and insights with their co-workers back at the office, but I'm not sure that actually happens, and even if it does, how can you recreate the ah-ha moments and the exceptional learning experiences when you're back home chatting around the coffee maker?
After years of witnessing these conference scenarios, I came up with the idea of bringing the experience of the national conference to the attendee instead of shipping the attendees off to the national conference. What if we were to get these amazing speakers and bring them to a live venue where they can share their vision for the future with a wider audience, perhaps an audience that doesn't normally get to attend the conferences? What if we encouraged firm members to set aside a day for a national conference of CPE sessions, fire up the big monitor in the conference room, bring in food, join together for a day of sharing new ideas and thinking about the future success of your firm? And what if we made this event interactive, so that as you listen to these well-known speakers, you can ask questions and share your own experiences just as if you were there in the room with them?
That is the concept behind Ensuring Success: Strategic Growth for Firms, a one-day national conference event that will be streamed live to you wherever you want to watch it. Tune in from your conference room, watch at your desk, stay home that day and watch from your favorite easy chair, or take your headphones and head to your local watering hole or coffee house. You can watch from your computer, your tablet, or your smartphone.
The conference is scheduled for all day, Thursday, December 4, 2014. Ten hours of 50-minute sessions timed perfectly for you to finish off your annual CPE requirement. We start at 9 a.m. Eastern time and finish at 7 p.m. Eastern time - no matter what time zone you're in, you'll be able to obtain up to 10 CPE credits and still wrap up in time for a nice celebratory dinner.
The cost is nominal compared to what you would pay to see these speakers in person. So nominal, in fact, that Ensuring Success is absolutely free to watch. If, after you watch the event, you decide you need CPE credit for any of the sessions, you will fill out a form online and pay a $20 per session fee for CPE.
I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am about presenting this conference to you. The live streaming event is a concept that is just right for busy accountants who are watching their budgets but who want to share the experience that the large national conferences offer.
Register now and put Ensuring Success on your calendar. Excitement will be building throughout the summer and fall as we add more speakers and round out the schedule, focusing on new ideas and time-tested techniques that are specifically designed to make your accounting practice more successful. And then join us in December as we present to you a fantastic learning and growing event geared specifically toward the small and medium-sized accounting practitioner.