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cake slice | accountingweb | The Fab FAB event
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Don’t miss the chance for a slice of the action

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With just days to go until the Festival of Accounting & Bookkeeping, Makbul Patel gives a taste of why he’s so excited about the event this year.

7th Mar 2024
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Look, even management accountants need a day off. So this week I’m not writing about finance and the wonderful world I wallow in with my management accountancy. I’ve just gone through preparing a head-spinning budget for my firm. It was like herding cats. Even now I’m still apprehensive about getting a last-minute change.

As we hurtle towards springtime we also ascend to the greatest show on earth, the Festival of Accounting & Bookkeeping, otherwise known as FAB. Those guys in marketing are geniuses. We leave behind our usual haunts of the Coventry City Football stadium and set our tent up at the NEC in Birmingham this year. Shifting it from late winter to March is another clever move from the organisers. Spring budgets, new financial years and all that.

Cakes and accountancy

If you are the one person I have missed telling, I have been writing for AccountingWEB since my appearance on the Great British Bake Off a while back. Cakes and accountancy. Rolls off the tongue like Morecambe and Wise, Cannon and Ball, Cagney and… OK I’ll stop.

AccountingWEB is at the forefront of spreading finance and systems knowledge and bringing the community of accountancy and finance together, which is why I was invited to take part in the AWEB Live Expos, usually held in November or December time.

Aside from the free jute bags, triangle-shaped highlighters and other such merchandise showered on attendees these AWEB-sponsored events bring so much else and I would like to share.

Networking opportunities

The AccountingWEB events have provided me with so many opportunities to connect with people with similar outlooks on life and the profession. Accountancy and finance is so much more than spreadsheets and debits and credits. It is a multi-faceted industry that impacts everyday life and the events have provided me with a means to share opinions with experts with very diverse insights. The people and industry I have connected with provide me with incredible support in areas that perhaps are bewildering. For example, the 2021 AWEB Live Expo connected me with professionals from HR and software development who impart wisdom on issues that affect me in my workplace such as recruitment and development.

Knowledge sharing

Naturally, when avenues open up for networking it creates a channel for dialogue and discussion. When I formed part of the panel to discuss recruitment challenges within the profession I was privileged to hear anecdotes from the trenches from leading experts. I heard about the different aspects of reality to my own sheltered professional existence. 

Then there are the many seminars and presentations. From embracing seismic changes to work culture to building self-confidence, the pearls were ready to be picked up from the street.

Professional development

The AWEB events of the past have changed me as a person. Finance professionals are more than occasionally accused of residing in ivory towers, away from the realities of normal working life. By attending these events I have developed myself, and am continuing to do so, by learning about different skills I can incorporate into my work life. I have become less isolated, communicated in a warmer tone with managers and colleagues, and changed my attitudes around problem-solving.

Learning about new products and services

When I first attended the AWEB Live Expo in 2021 I was expecting a very dry and humdrum experience. It’s only accountancy and finance, I thought, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. There were professional firms offering advice on work-life balance, professional development, formal training and software management, as well as your everyday services such as tax advice, payroll and bookkeeping. Well, come on, it is accountancy and finance!

Long-lasting friendships

This is what I value more than anything – friendships. In this age of remote working, it is difficult to meet people face to face. The charming people at AccountingWEB have helped me so much in my own personal development. The Expo is where I get to meet them all. It is also where I met the incredible John Stokdyk, who sadly passed away last year. In our brief meeting, he left an indelible impression on me and is greatly missed. Life is about friendships and the cauldron of the FAB event is something I look forward to, to renew ties and forge new ones.

Valuable plug

This article was indeed a plug for the FAB event and I do so as I know how valuable it is. The hustle and bustle is taken to the next level at the NEC in Birmingham. It will be incredible. It will be brimming with affable accountants, bedazzling bookkeepers, crazy computer boffins and lots of friendly festival-goers. A definite date for your diary.

The Festival of Accounting & Bookkeeping is on 13–14 March 2024 at NEC, Birmingham. 

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