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Big Conferences

Are they worth attending

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I notice there has been a few big software confernces lately in London with QuickBooks doing one Few weeks and Sage doing one in April.

They seem fairly big events as QuickBooks had Alan Sugar as a keynote and I think Sage also have a big line up of speakers. 

Are these worth attending for 2 days, not sure what Sage would have to present for 2 days, even less for Quickbooks. Sage does seem to be as popular as it was years back so wondered how well attended these are and if they are worth going to.

I like Accountex as everyone you need to meet is under one roof and you can also pick up some CPD, but not sure what you would get from 2 days with Quickbooks. 

Did any AWEB members go to the QuickBooks one or is anyone planning on going to Sage Summit first week in April.


Replies (13)

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By marks
21st Mar 2017 22:54

I went to QBConnect a few weeks ago in London.

We use Xero and wanted to learn about QBO and what it has to offer.

Was a waste of time attending and was just really some seminars from the likes of Alan Sugar, James Caan and Mary Portas telling how they made it in business. Didnt really pick up anything re QBO.

As you say much better going to Accountex where all various providers from software, apps, autoenrolment, cloud providers etc are there and you can learn what is happening in the industry. Also as you say you can pick up some useful business development ideas.

Not going to SAGE summit next month.

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By FirstTab
22nd Mar 2017 00:18

Big conferences are not relevant to me at all. I can get all the information I want in my own time without the need for wasting my hard pressed time in pointless conferences.

Accountex is so damned overhyped. Soon they will be an overdrive by Sift on Accountex for self-serving reasons.

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By sarah douglas
22nd Mar 2017 08:31

I am going to the sage summit . Quite a few of colleagues in the business went to Quickbooks and really enjoyed it and found it very useful.

Last year I went to accountex and I was very disappointed. I had seen many of the stands before and the theatres for talks were terrible. You could not hear a thing. I don't think the big companies are putting in as much money as they are keeping it for their own summits.

Glen you have the North business expo in April . I have heard good feedback.

Accounting live will be held in Glasgow in Nov.

My favourite one last year for been informative and extremely useful was Venturevest Scotland . I came out inspired and blown away by the amount I learnt . The talks were fantastic and not your usual. This is on the 20th September Glasgow SEC

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By sarah douglas
22nd Mar 2017 08:33

Double post

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By lionofludesch
22nd Mar 2017 09:47

They're not for me.

Alan Sugar has nothing to say that would help me run my business. We're not even in the same game, let alone in the same league.

I met Richard Branson a couple of times when he was at London Broncos but we never talked about business - well, not outside rugby anyway.

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By Maslins
22nd Mar 2017 09:49

I went to Accountex last year. Overall I wasn't that impressed.

If I went again I'd ensure I made it into more of the high profile talks. I ended up not booking those, many were full, so I just wandered round lots of trade stands having people try to flog me stuff I didn't want.

I'm not going this year, but have got a few of the more junior staff to go. Mainly just as a day out for them. I've encouraged them to see as many of the talks as possible, and will task them with each reporting back at least one interesting thing they learnt that we should consider implementing in our firm...!

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By Paul Scholes
22nd Mar 2017 12:11

I can't speak for the QBO or Xero(Con) but, for me the closest I got to a fulfilling software conference was many years of Iris World in that it was low on marketing/hype and high in roadmaps and valuable sessions on relevant topics, either concerning impending legislation (eg RTI & AE) or in best use of the software, and it was free.

To my mind there's a world of difference between multi-faceted, accountant focussed software like Iris and near single-issue cloud accounting software and so I'd need to see something on the agenda worth seeing before I'd consider going (and I certainly wouldn't pay for it or a meal afterwards).

There is however a need by some (including me in the old days) for an excuse to get out the of the office plus (and this certainly was the case with Iris) you get to mingle & moan with old and new mates.

Accountex? Don't get me started, it's refreshing to see some other doubtful comments on this hypefest. I have attended as a punter and as an exhibitor (with ClearBooks) and punters have to keep in mind that they are there to be sold to, whatever they hear on the stand (assuming they can hear) is not guaranteed to be what they experience when they sign up and so, unless you are say starting out in practice and have no idea what's out there, you are better staying at home with a coffee and the internet.

I can't remember now whether CB lasted 1 or 2 years there but they rightly recognised that the huge sum they paid to stand there waiting for tyre kickers and existing users was better spent in developing the software, after all that's what I pay them for.

The irony is that it's become a self-fulfilling con, in other words, as told to me by a major exhibitor, they were only there spending tens of thousands of pounds because they were expected to be there.

It wasn't all bad news however in that, in earlier years the Business Show took place at the same time with a wealth of varied exhibitors there to support small businesses, ie me and my clients, and so I'd spend most of the day in there. This year I see they are on separate weeks.

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Replying to Paul Scholes:
By sarah douglas
22nd Mar 2017 13:43

Unfortunately the business show is not on at the same time this year. So I have been told.

I actually enjoyed that and spent more time there then accountex in the end . Otherwise I would have bee totally fed up after paying for flights and transport from Glasgow

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By Glenn Martin
22nd Mar 2017 12:34

I agree Accountex was flat year as AE had been done to death, and MTD was still pretty much a total unknown so not a lot happening and the big boys were pretty quiet last year.

I suspect there will be a lot more to see this year as things are hotting up an I imagine there will be a flurry of new software updates/releases that will no doubt be announced at Accountex. I am looking forward to it, even from the point of view its 2 days out of the office in the smoke and the chance to catch up with a few of my accounting pals. ( i hope FT makes the effort to attend the night drinks sess, even if he cannot understand what I say).

I am going to the North Expo when its on as its only a 1 day event i can just pop in for a few hours. I will go as a punter this time then maybe look at a stand in September if I feel it worthwhile and worth the investment of time and cash.

I went to the 2 day paid for event with Digita last year and all it confirmed for me was that they were not going to be what I needed going forward, as the good stuff was not going to be available for 2 or 3 years which was not much use to me now. it was like the game show when they announced "well here is what you could have one"

I just don't get what Sage would have to talk about for 2 days, but they must feel its worth it as it must cost huge amounts to promote and stage. I am from the home of Sage and many accountants close to me are still Sage die hards but I don't know anyone who is going.

I enjoyed the Xero roadshow last year in Edinburgh as it was just an afternoon event and I tied it in with viewing a hotel a client was considering buying. It was the right amount of time to give you the product update road map you needed with out it being a massive sales pitch.

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Replying to Glennzy:
By sarah douglas
22nd Mar 2017 14:01

Hi Glen
Some of the talks look quite good in the sage summit and they are in auditorium. I rang to check as being hard of hearing accountex was a waste of time.

The same way as Venturevest was run. It makes a huge difference. The 1 st day is targeted at the sage accountants and partners and the second day is for the sage consumers . Sage solutions as a group as a lot to offer, so I am going just for 1 day. I agree with you in general about 2 days . Xero edinburgh roadshow was excellent. I particularly enjoyed the talk from Apple but their were loads that said they did not like that bit. I guess we all gave different interests but it is good to get away from the office and meet fellow accountants and bookkeepers.

I believe Xero will be speaking at accounting live as well . It looks as if it could be a good event in November as they are using the auditorium as well for speakers

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Jennifer Adams
By Jennifer Adams
23rd Mar 2017 11:09

I'm going to Accountex as its a good way to look at all software providers under one roof. I'm looking at whether I need to change now we know MTD is definitely going to be as bad as we all think (know) it will be.
I'm going to spend a few weeks testing out all the providers software free in the office, choose the one (s) I like and work for me and then attend to see what deals I can get for myself and clients.

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By Red Leader
23rd Mar 2017 11:24

I'm not going to Accountex, even though it would only be a local journey for me. Went to IRIS's conference once I think. As others have said, in the time a conference takes including travel, you could find out an enormous amount using the internet and phone sitting at your desk.

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By pauljohnston
24th Mar 2017 14:14

I am going to Accountex this year. Many of the smaller companies did not attend because of the size of the (increase in) the fee for a stall. There was large area of the arena at the back that were empty so I felt it was cr*p compared with previous years. Hopefully this will change this year but if not I will cross it off my list for future years.

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