Accountex - an outsider's perspective

Henry Tapper
Managing Director
Pension Playpen
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Last week I went to a pensions conference (Workplace Pensions Live) and a trade show (Accountex).

The Pensions Conference had a lot of talk but not much action, Accountex was the other way round.

I couldn't help agreeing with Nick Ayton of Friendly Pensions (who like me went to both) that a lot more work was going on at Accountex.

Work at one of these events is defined as "engagement" - using the little grey cells rather than drifting aimlessly from session to session vaguely understanding what is said and retaining enough of it to justify your time out of the office.

The bulk of the people at Accountex were there on their own time- most delegates I talked to had their own businesses and were there to find out how they could run things more efficiently, deliver more to their clients and thereby stay ahead of their competitors.

By comparison, people at #WPL14 seemed less driven- there was little urgency and less engagement.

The memories I have of Accountex were of speakers challenging their audiences to change their ways, to buy into a trade body or adopt new codes of practice or use technology to improve things.

One guy talked for fifteen minutes on how he used his smartphone to run his business. He was projecting what he was doing on his phone onto a screen so we could follow him.

I walked into another session where someone was arguing that accountants should have nothing to do with auto-enrolment, that it was a PI claim waiting to happen, someone in the audience told him he was talking rubbish!

Everywhere I went at Accountex I was bumping into people (and not in that social way)- it was like Brownian motion as accountants and book-keepers rushed from one stand to another keen to get the most out of their time.

Which is why I will be spending more of my time influencing accountants and less of my time smooching with pension people. I want some of that energy!

Thanks though to both, David, Maggie, Laura and Sam - it's a great pensions show- Webb was good - but the party's over.

thanks to AccountingWeb for sending me your way. You guys could teach us a few things about work.

events-workplace-pensions-live-2014 More action -less talk! I get it.

About Henry Tapper

I'm best known for helping small employers and business advisors with their problems with pensions. These are typically over choosing the right pension for auto-enrolment though through my work with First Actuarial, I get involved with big occupational schemes too.

I'm on this site as I see accountants as the missing link between the pensions industry and the business community - especially small businesses.

I've a Cambridge MA and 30 years in finance behind me, but I'm looking forward to the next ten to twenty years (my flexible "corridor to retirement") to help restore people's confidence in pensions.



Director- First Actuarial


Writer- and many magazines and papers,




Manager; Pension Play Pen linkedin group, Pension Auto-Enrolment Linked In Group


Choices Champion; Friends of Auto-enrolment



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22nd May 2014 10:11

Great to hear!

Hi Henry

Just a quick note to thank you for taking the time to blog about Accountex.

We try very hard to be different and bring way more exciting content to our audience than they are used to at the "normal" events they attend and this seems to be working very well.

Accountex has grown over three editions to be the leading event in the industry across Europe and has been nominated for two awards along the way. 

We are not going to slow down and are already planning a bigger and better show for next May.

We are delighted with our new headline media supporter - accountingWeb, and feel that the two products of online and live interaction at the show complements each other extremely well and long may it continue.

Kind regards

Scott Hider

Group Event Director

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