Managing Director Avery Martin Limited
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Accountex 2016: The big meet

12th May 2016
Managing Director Avery Martin Limited
Columnist
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Well back on the train after a day and half at Accountex.

For me there not much of a buzz this year and it seemed quite low key compared to 2015, there was very little in the way of anything new or anybody shouting much about there products.

The stars of show the seemed to be Quickbooks as there stand was very busy both days, there offering was also very good they spent a lot of time with you to help to get going using their software which I must say is very good and priced right for those who build it into an all inclusive fixed fee service. They had marketing people to help you, they had a look at my website and gave me a few pointers on what I could improve which was useful and of value to those there. There is also a marketing pot of up to £900 available to you to get users signed onto QBO which again is useful to small traders looking to grow this combined with TV adverts will certainly make people consider using QBO. Its certainly of more use the 4 drinks coasters I got off Xero.

I also happened passed the Capium stand and I have been interested in its development for some time. They seem to have a lot of features recently and it looks a great bit of kit for the money. I just wonder how far they will get before one of the big boys buys it for the platform. If John is still operating a book on the practice cloud race I might sneak a few quid on them.

I also thought that Practice Ignition and Panelatix looked useful, and something I will get demos of.

I must say I think the xero stand could work better as the add ons are restricted to a podium and 2/3 staff and it makes it very hard to get in to see them unless you stand around and wait for ages. I wanted to see the Crunchboards people but gave up in the end as they were for ever busy.

In general there also seemed to yet more new cloud bookkeeping software here and I wonder when it will end really as I had expected to see some consolidation in the market.

The guys from Exact were quite high profile again the software looks good but significantly better than what else that is available.

I managed to get into 6 or so seminars, some were useful some not so.

Highlights

  • Quickbooks, Capium and Practice Ignition
  • Plus obviously the meet up wth other Awebbers & Sift guys.

I also managed to get out without been zapped by the "myfirmsapp" which is a huge bonus.

 

Replies (12)

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bike
By FirstTab
12th May 2016 17:50

Hi Glennzy

Really well put. Please blog more. I love reading your blogs. £900 for marketing sounds good. Xero charges for XeroCon!

I missed out on QuickBooks offering.

Thanks (1)
By Moonbeam
12th May 2016 20:18

I was there on Wed morning. I'd planned the whole day out earlier this week, but by 10 am I realised I would be bored if I stayed beyond lunchtime, so left about 1.30 pm.

I avoided Sage and Xero stands. I queued up to speak to Nest about the lack of materials for doing presentations, but both people were busy and probably wouldn't have been able to help me even if they had had time for me.

I met Richard Hattersley on the Aweb stand.
I also went to Taxfiler's stand to meet the great Prakesh. It is his personality that drives his company I think. He was explaining that his original team at Taxfiler used to work on CCH's products. That explains to me why TF is so professional.
I did stop to speak to a few other exhibitors on business information systems and archive software. Unfortunately I can't justify the expense unless my turnover whacks up.
I won't bother going next year. I think I get much more benefit from asking other users on here about what software to buy next.

Thanks (1)
John Stokdyk, AccountingWEB head of insight
By John Stokdyk
13th May 2016 17:58

Really useful report, Glennzy - thanks! It's like having an extra set of eyes and ears working the show floor for everyone. As we discussed at the meet-up, we may need to start featuring some of your software insights elsewhere on the site. Keep up the good work!

Thanks (1)
Sarah Douglas - HouseTree Business Ltd
By sarah douglas
15th May 2016 11:46

I agree with Glenzy. To me the Accountex show seemed flat not enough variety. I enjoyed the Microsoft stand ,Sage and the Exact and ICB stand my Paye .
I already use exact I was impressed at the ICB inspire tour the digital box is great. Other cloud softwares need to watch them.

I met so many accountex attendees on Thursday that ended up going to the business show and the marketing show. Many of their stands would have done well in Accountex.

I ended up having a great chat with the Institute of Export re my clients and Aldermore Bank re business savings and Commercial Mortgage again for some of my clients and a company called Givvit which allows you to send gifts to your customers using a phone app from your company. He was giving five free coffee on the app. My customers feedback was great. You can send your client a beer on it (good for bad news) quite a choice of gifts.

The problem is these were of interest to me running a accounts practice but they were in the business show and the marketing show.

Accountex needs much more variety. I went expecting to be inspired and I was but by different shows that were held beside Accountex. If they had not been there I would have been really disappointed after travelling from Glasgow.

On a note that did bug me a guy from IPCA came up to me and just tried to scan my ticket with out me even going to their stand I was just walking by. I have to say I was not happy. I had to turn my ticket around so he could not scan.

Thanks (1)
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By Zoe Lacey
17th May 2016 11:49

Hi Glennzy

Just wanted to say hello as I am the new Event Director on Accountex for next years show.

Thank you for your refreshing honesty and also thank you to those others who took the time to comment on a positive and negative level.

As some of you know this was a very unusual transition for Diversified (the new event organisers of Accountex) as we purchased the show from Prysm last year. We have really appreciated all the support, assistance and patience from everyone while we went thorough this transition period.

Moving forward to next year we are really keen to understand what the accounting industry want from a show like Accountex. So please keep you comments (bad and good) coming our way - we are keen to listen and develop the show the best way we can with you!

Thanks and please feel free to email me directly with any comments on [email protected] (Hope you don't mind me adding my contact details Glennzy)

Thank you

Zoe Lacey-Cooper

Thanks (2)
Replying to Zoe Lacey:
Sarah Douglas - HouseTree Business Ltd
By sarah douglas
17th May 2016 12:32

Hi Zoe .

On top of what I said in previous post .

I struggle with my hearing. The Theatres need to be proper theatres. Seal off by marquee maybe in the Scottish start up show the speaking areas are sealed off and the sound does not carry. They were far too small and meant I could not attend any of them.

Thanks (1)
Replying to sarah douglas:
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By Zoe Lacey
17th May 2016 13:44

Hi Sarah

Thank your for your comments. especially on the theatres, we did have hearing loops but as you said if you cannot get in the theatres then they are wasted.
We will be re vamping the theatres, the keynote will be bigger and the smaller theatres will look different - I will also have a think about how we can contain the noise as well.

Thanks for your suggestions!
Zoe

Thanks (0)
Replying to Zoe Lacey:
Sarah Douglas - HouseTree Business Ltd
By sarah douglas
17th May 2016 15:05

Hi Zoey
A hearing aid does not work on a loop if it there is so much background noise so you could not use it. In the Scottish Show they put all the theatres at the back away from the main noise. If everyone is sitting down it is easier to hear as the speaker carries better.

Thanks (0)
Replying to sarah douglas:
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By Zoe Lacey
17th May 2016 16:10

Hi Sarah

Thank you for explaining, I think that it would be really hard to move 13 theatres to the back of the show, but we are looking at building the theatres differently and I will keep all your suggestions in mind.

Thank you again for all your help, much appreciated

Zoe Lacey-Cooper | Event Director
+44 (0)1273 944459 | [email protected]

Thanks (0)
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By pauljohnston
18th May 2016 07:42

I too went to Accountex and also to the Business Show next door. Just too much to do in one day.

I did note that "stalls" were crammed together at the front and that there were larger gaps near the back. At the very back (nearest the loading bay) there a was large area completely empty.

I tried to book a theatre event online but just could not manage this. I had a phone call many months ago from someone representing the organisers so to put me on the ticket list. Nothing happened and I had to request a new one quite near the event date. Looks like Lucy has got some more things to sort.

As to accountex I too felt it was lack lustre and indeed quite difficult to find stalls I wanted to visit. QB was good as was the receipt bank representative. I did not see many offerings of new software and this may be because prices for the stalls/pitches were greatly increased on last year (or so I was told). A pity. Will I go next year. Probally yes but I hope it is more useful than this year. Otherwise it will be a short visit.

Thanks (1)
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By Emmamay106
18th May 2016 10:07

Really interesting to hear the different comments on Accountex. It was my first time to Accountex so didn't have much to compare with but the following highlights:

- Exact stand...we had a go on the race cars- lots of fun and it got you interested in what the product was as we had not ever used Exact (no pressuring sales tactics either unlike some of the other providers)

- Value pricing seminar- really insightful and challenging

- Budget update from Tolley- although we already knew almost all of this info there were a couple of things which made me think of suggestions for clients- was a good round up.

Disappointments:
- We got turned away from the first seminar of the day with the MD of Xero- we arrived a bit early as knew it would be busy but just a shame it wasn't a bigger space as I am sure a lot of people would have liked to have heard from him...perhaps it would have been better in one of the other open theatres. Also they should consider pre-booking of seminars.

- At times we felt a bit lost wondering around- a bit more structure to the stalls and flow of the room would have been better- perhaps with areas focusing on different things so it is easier to make comparisons.

Mixed feelings on the quickbooks versus Xero argument. We spent a lot of time with quickbooks as we wanted to compare them with Xero (currently use Xero) but it did feel quite heavy on the sales technique which is understandable as they are trying to gain market share. For me the most important thing is functionality and I would have liked more time spent showing how it works and comparing it with Xero and other providers. Obviously the price is very appealing but how long before this increases in line with Xero? We actually went to Xero directly after Quickbooks and found the almost complete opposite atmosphere. It was very relaxed and quiet...we spoke about our concerns and asked how they compared to quickbooks and got some responses which were not at all pushy or aggressive. They seemed to genuinely care about us even though we are a tiny practice. Not sure if we just caught them at the right time (quieter in the afternoon) but was very interesting. That is not to say we will only use them as we are looking at the different software and probably offer customers the choice but I was pleasantly surprised. Would love to see a seminar comparing the different cloud providers in more detail e.g. functionality, reporting etc as it is so hard to decide unless you actually start using the product.

Thanks (1)
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By Alex_T
18th May 2016 13:00

Great blog @Glennzy.
I thoroughly enjoyed Accountex last year, possibly because it was my first time to attend the show and I had a lot of research to do on software for my new practice. I enjoyed this year but I agree that there wasn't quite the same atmosphere as last year. Cannot really put my finger on why that was.
I very much enjoyed chatting to my software providers. I even threw a few cheekly suggestions their way.
I particularly like Xero's stand, very Apple like. Their team were relaxed and happy to help, as were the BrightPay team who I wanted to congratulate on their incredible software and support. I still cannot quite believe what I get for £199 a year.
Will I go next year? Yes I think so.

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