Episode #045 Amy Hooke's Review Of Accountech Live 2019 For Bookkeepers

Accountech review from Amy Hooke, The Savvy Bookkeeper

Accountech Live is a relatively new convention for companies to showcase their software solutions, and promote their services to bookkeepers and accountants. It's free entry, but is it worth the time and effort? Accountech Live promises great speakers, 16 hours CPE, and plenty to see-and-do for those in the profession.

In this episode, Amy shares her honest opinion and recommendation, as well as her highlights and disappointments from the 2 day event in the aim to help you decide if you'd like to go yourself next year.

Podcast Info

Episode: #045

Series: General

Host: Amy Hooke

Guest speaker: None

Topic: A Review Of Accountech Live 2019 For Bookkeepers

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Read transcript
Amy Hooke: Good morning. Hello, happy Friday. Today I'm going to chat to you about the Accountech live convention… exhibition. I don't know what you want to call it. The thing that I went to this week, I was very much looking forward to it and I don't think that, my expectations were higher than they were and that would disappointed or anything like that. Yeah, I do have mixed feelings about, Accountech as a whole. Some of the things were things that I did expect and some of the things were things I didn't expect. Today I'm going to do a quick review and share with you some of the things I love. Some of the things that I hated, what I felt that could be done better and the… and some things that, made me grow as a person through my experience of going.

I had planned on recording the podcast from down there and I did actually record a couple of different short five minute episodes with various people, but for a couple of different reasons I'm not able to play those recordings. Which is a little bit disappointing but, I think if I just give you guys a summary of what happened, this is just going to be my high level overview. I'm just letting whether I guess what I'm going to share my opinion about whether I think it's worth your while, ongoing and just give you my feedback and thoughts on a couple of different things. I did post in the Facebook group yesterday saying that I had mixed feelings and I got some great feedback on that post and I know you guys have really probably hanging out for me to put it all out there and be very blunt and open, which I would love to do.

At the same time, I still feel like I'm processing some things, so I feel like it's not fully, formulated in my head so that I can articulate it. Hope you're not disappointed today in what I am able to share, but I'll make a start on doing that, but it might take me a little bit of a while to, be able to fully express what I want to say. It’s a funny thing obviously the podcast is called the Bookkeeper's voice and, part of the podcasts is really about… for me it's about having other Bookkeepers and myself being able to have our voices heard, in the industry to try and bring different perspectives on various things that are happening and going on in our industry.

I think that's really important. It’s nice to have a place where you can come and you can talk about those ideas without getting interrupted, without getting shut down and without, having your voice silenced or I guess spoken over the top of by voices that might be ladder and things like that. For me, there's also like quite a personal element in why I started the Bookkeepers voice and why I called it the bookkeeper's voice in the first place. That's really to do with my own personal journey of finding my own voice. I think regardless of whether you've had a similar life or background to me or whether you've been… whether your experience in life has been completely different. I'm sure on some level we can all relate to, needing to find our voice.

I think for a lot of us, especially when it comes to being able to communicate our value and speak to clients, especially around money and boundaries and the rules that we want to implement in their business and things like that. Being respected and things like that. Sometimes, I think we have a difficult time articulating, our vision or what we really want in our business. Being able to say that directly to our clients, I do think it's a female thing. I don't want to stereotype talk, but I do think that women find it more difficult to articulate what they really want. I think it comes down to, I guess… maybe it’s a cultural and social thing where, women and not supposed to be direct or really speak their mind and things like that. It's caught quite an old fashioned view I guess. It’s not really held as much these days, but I think, it's still there.

I know it is for me and I guess depending on which different environments we grew up in and that, kind of, thing we may have different levels of being able to express ourselves and speak Elmont. I know for me, like part of my journey has been… I haven't been able to find the balance, it's not about not being able to speak or being able to speak, but it's really about finding the balance between, I don't know, being able to be honest, but not to have to go too far the other way. Like I feel in my life, I've gone on this journey of either not saying enough or saying too much and, sort of, trying to find that happy medium.

I don't know how many of you guys have heard my personal journey and I won't go into it here because I do want to focus on Accountech. Part of my journey and part of my history, includes, abuse and… so for me it's being able to… when I feel that I've been taken advantage of or being mistreated or, yeah, like abused in some way. I find it very difficult to speak up for myself, as a young person. That has continued into my adult life and through the journey that I've been on in business, which I always say is the best because being in business is one of the best personal development courses that you could ever do because you've got to live it. You're not just learning it from a textbook.

Business is going to push every button that you've got. It’s going to challenge you in so many ways that you will be forced to grow as a person or otherwise you end up having to quit. If you want to keep going, you have to actually face your demons. You have to face up to the things that cause you difficulty. You've got… a good way to put it is like you've got to deal with and sort out and even heal your own heart. Every one's had their heartbroken at some point in time. It might've been from a relationship, it might have been from a friendship, it could have been… of course we've all been hurt by clients some people have been hurt to the point where it's very difficult to trust other people.

I think part of being business owners, is that I believe there's a bigger purpose behind being a business owner and being a Bookkeeper. It’s not just about making money. I don't know many Bookkeepers who are all about the money. Do you know what I mean? Like, most Bookkeepers that I know, including myself, the money like, kind of, tends to take a back seat actually. I feel that the reason for that isn't just because, we're not confident to charge what we're less than that, kind of, thing. I think it's also because, we value other things and there are other things in business aside from money and it's just about finding that balance. We need the money to keep the business going, but at the same time, it's just the money on its own doesn't motivate.

It doesn't motivate me, that's for sure. I know for many of you, you will feel the same way. I think, finding your voice is really important and it is a long journey and it can be really painful and sometimes the situations that you end up in that caused you to recover those parts of your voice and being able to speak honestly and speak your truth is, sometimes you've got to go through things that really hurt in order to show you that those places exist. That's the journey that I'm on. I feel that, as someone who is a community level leader, and in our industry and somebody who… at the end of the day, like once you're leading people, you are responsible for those people. You're not obviously responsible for their entire lives.

I believe that I am responsible, the people who follow me and put their trust in me, the ones that purchase my services or use my templates or take my advice, like whatever level that you're looking at, whether it's just downloading a free race or whether it's, spending 12 months with me, I feel that I do have a level of responsibility towards that person. In there… to that person's wellbeing, like I obviously each person's responsible for themselves and their own choices, but also I feel that, when you're leading other people, whether you're leading them as their parent or whether you're leading them in a business, when you're in a position of responsibility, you're responsible for people's, wellbeing, you're responsible for the… even I wouldn't even go as far to say as the, their spiritual and their emotional wellbeing.

Even though I might just play a very small role in the lives of the people who, you come and spend time with me and listen to what I have to say, I still feel that there is an impact made there and we all contribute to one another. Yeah, so, I believe that it's really important to be aware of that and to not take it lightly. Even as Bookkeepers, we are in businesses and we are putting in a trusted position where business owners open up to us about their finances. we are also in a position of trust where they have a certain expectation from us and they are putting some areas of their financial, emotional and spiritual, even wellbeing in us because money is something that is so tied into… I think it's even becomes tied into our identities.

People find it very difficult to separate… when someone gets challenged in the area of their finances, it does cause it an emotional reaction and it can cause pain for people. I think sometimes that's why as Bookkeepers, we can actually end up in a position where we end up being a punching bag for the client, which is not cool. I think part of the journey as well as getting to really know and understand our own position as leaders, and whoever we are leading and to examine ourselves and to be on that journey of growth and being willing to go through the process and to learn and embed the things in us that we're going to be teaching to others and the knowledge that we're going to pass onto them.

I think it's very important that we do everything we do with integrity. Of course, we're not all going to get it perfect the first time. No one could have perfect integrity, but at the same time for me integrity is about practicing what you preach. It's about like, do I implement or do I use like, the teachings that I teach you guys and the templates that I developed, do I use them in my business or do I not? I always make sure that I share with you guys things that I actually do. I'm already in my business and I've seen that it works. Or sometimes I'll be in the process of developing, some various templates that might do something that I haven't done before, but then I then test it out on my business and things like that.

I like to be able to, give you things that I also do myself. I think it's important for us to do that with our clients as well. I think that being able to communicate with them and know that we're doing that, that we've gone on that journey our self and not everything we're going to be on the journey with. For example, if you've never had an overdue bank statement, you might not know what that feels like to get behind in your ATO requirements and stuff like that. Of course, I don't expect you to go and put yourself through that so that you can… then, say that you've gone through that experience. At the same time, there's different levels of being able to, understand where the client's at, but then when we're giving them advice to be able to be willing to… I guess like, what we are showing on the front to be, what's really… how we are.

Anyway, that was a little bit of a long winded in chart into what I'm going to talk about, but I wanted to lay that foundation and just to let you know like, yes, am I taking the long road to just coming out there and saying some things? Yes, yes I am and that's just where I'm at the moment so, I don't feel fully confident to come out there. Today I will share a couple of things that I have experienced, that I think are not right. I might not be fully out there and blunt as you might hope to be. I definitely won't be naming anybody's names or anything like that because that's not the point. I don't feel that it's helpful to do that. Also I don't want to get sued, so, I don't know, maybe if I knew for sure that I couldn't get sued, maybe I'd come out there and say it all.

Then at the same time, I don't want to bad mouth people. I don't want to hurt anyone on purpose. I just, yeah… I want the best for the people in their industry, whether they're leaders, whether they're community members, whoever they are. I just… I want people to come together. I want us to work together for the best of small businesses for the best of our country and for one another as well. That's it that's me three things. I'm going to go 12. I'm going to share the 12 things with. I'm going to go three things. I loved three things I hated three things that I that could be done better about Accountech and three things that I felt made me go.

Those are the other three things that I love so, the number one thing that I would have to say that I absolutely loved about going to Accountech was being with my husband William so, you guys might know Will from the Facebook group. He is the guy with the same surname as me. Actually it’s his surname, he gave it to me. He post in the group lots of helpful things about some of the technical stuff and the type of equipment that you might want in your office and things like that. Anyway, for those of you who don't know, Will is my husband. He is my business partner and he came to Accountech with me for the two days. He got all spruced up in a nice shirt and work pants and stuff like that, which is cool. We work from home. We're not like… look, we don't sit around the house like slobs during the day. We make sure we dress up for work and that kind of thing.

It was just really nice to be out with my husband as professionals and as business partners. I've been to lots of Bookkeeper things on my own, but he… it was nice. It's the first time he's ever come to a Bookkeeper event with me. It was really cool. William doesn't really love socializing, but he's good at it. He's good at having conversations with people and that kind of thing. I said to him… I said, “Look, when we go out, I do want you to speak to people.” I didn't want him to just sort of be quiet and that kind of thing. I said to him, “Bookkeepers love talking about Bookkeeping, if you're not sure what to talk to someone about, just talk about bookkeeping and then you have endless conversations.” The cool thing about William coming with me was to see how much he's grown and how much he's learned about the industry. He's just been absorbing it from me like a sponge. A couple of people made that comment, that how cool it was for him to be there with me.

I was like, “Yes, I finally brainwashed him because I talk about the Savvy Bookkeeper so much.” I talk about… Well, I don't just talk about business stuff with him, but I talk to him about all of you guys. I talk to him about my clients. I talk to him about our community. I talk to him about my experiences. I talk to him about our services and I guess over the years he's absorbed a lot from that. Also obviously, he's had a couple lots of conversations with me about the Bookkeeping business side in dealing with the business owners. He's seen some of the stuff that I've been through and everything. He doesn't know exactly what I know, but he knows a lot now because he does all that SCR now. He's learning a lot about more about the industry, doing lots of research and things like that as well. He'll be discovering things that I don't even know.

That was really cool, like say he even went out to lunch with one of the Bookkeepers who were hanging out with… [Melissa North 00:18:16] caught up with us. She was there with her partner as well. I had to do a couple of things and catch up with a few people. I just said, “Well, you guys just go out for lunch.” They went out for lunch together and that was on the second day and yeah, it was just cool. We got our professional head shots done. We just kind of hung out. Sometimes we did things together.

Sometimes he went off to listen to his own talks and things like that. Then sometimes he'd step in and be my camera man and sort of take some photos and things like that. Anyway, it was just really cool to pay that. It was good that he drove. It was cool that he's sort of the person who's willing to run back to the car if I forget my charger and stuff like that, just all around. I just love being there with William and I would… any other events that we go to, I'm just really just so cool to be able to go there with him together. That was it.

The second thing that I really loved about going to Accountech was meeting Maia. Maia is our client project coordinator and she started out as a web developer. She's still our web developer, but we kind of had to give her a new job title because what she does is, she delivers all of our client work, not just websites now. She sets up all the practice ignition and PandaDocs, sets up all the pricing catalogs for the client. She does all the correspondence between the client. She sends people their homework and their pre-work and make sure that they've got all the resources that they need. Collect things that she needs to do to set up. I've never met Maia in real life. Maia has been working with me since January and she's now my longest standing team member.

We've had a few new team members come and go and things like that. Maia has been with me the longest so far of the current team that is. Yeah, I've never met any of my staff in real life. There's eight of us… well, there's now seven of us on the team. Yeah, that was really fun because I was like, “Hey, do you want to come?” She came along on the Tuesday and it was really nice to meet in person. Just before we left I said, “You're exactly the same as you are online.” It's funny when you see someone so often on Zoom meetings and things like that. So funny when you see them in person, but you kind of wonder, are they going to seem the same as they do on the video calls? She was exactly the same as what she is on the video calls, which is really cool.

We chat to each other every day, talk on the phone and work together quite closely. She's working with all of our clients. Yeah, it was just really cool to catch up on, really caught that I forgot to get a photo together with her. I just wasn't as organized on the day as I would've hoped to have been. That was a bit annoying. I realized after we left that we didn't get a photo together. I guess that's a good excuse for me and her to catch up. Yes, meeting Maia, that was the absolute highlight of my day. I haven't met any of my other staff in person. I'm really looking forward to maybe meet them as well.

Then, my third highlight of the day was the free coffee, Ariken. Ariken, that's pretty good. I can't take, do free coffee. I have two different coffee cups that are sponsored by whoever decides to purchase that package whereby you get their branding on the coffee cup. That's the way that Accountech works. What they do is they sell sponsorship packages. For example, I think you pay like $12,000 and you can get your logo on the coffee cup, the baristas where your T-shirt and you have your branding on there and that kind of thing. One of the coffee carts had a wheel and you could spin the wheel to try and win prizes. I gave this thing quite a few goes and I didn't win anything. I think because the guys felt sorry for me, I need a drink bottle for free. That was nice.

Then Maia won a $500 voucher for a company set up or something. She said, “Do you want that and I'll have the drink bottle?” I was like, “Yeah, cool.” I gave her the drink bottle. I'm not sure exactly what it is, but anyway, I'll get an email through I guess. The thing I really wanted to win was the MASA tech Scott and the tax handbook. The only reason I wanted to win it is because it was the only prize there that I thought was even anywhere close to relevant to what I actually do. Although I would probably never use it.

I remember the tax textbook… I remember having those textbooks way back when I was working in the accounting firm and also part of my degree, they were required textbooks and I remember they are real expensive. I thought, okay, I want to win these books because it's really the only thing there and what I could probably do is maybe sell them on eBay and get a couple hundred bucks or maybe sell them to some accounting students. I'm just being silly, but I wasn't really that excited about them, but I just sort of… Oh, well, it's sort of fun to get excited about something. I thought, yes. I kept coming back to this wheel. I bought my coffee and then I'm like, “Yes, I get another spin.” I'd spin the wheel and every time it would land one away from winning something and I'm like, “This is rigged.” Anyway, Maia and William both won something. William won the Superannuation Handbooks. I was like, “Okay.” I said to the guy, because I said, “Do we take these now or do you send them to us?”

He said, “No, we send them to you.” I said, “Okay, well, if you accidentally post the tax cards, I won't [inaudible 00:24:05]. If we get the tax handbooks, that'll be handy. I'll probably just give them away to some accountants or someone who wants them. All good, but anyway, I did love that. That was fun, completely random, anything, I would consider to necessary. I wouldn't just go to Accountech for the free coffee and the spin of the wheel, but it did make a highlight of my day. Yeah, that's pretty much it.

Now, I can go the things that I hated, probably the same things that you hated as well if you were there. The first one is really just like… its salesy. It does have a bit of a salesy feel to it. What happens is, you walk in and you're in this giant room and kind of like there are stands everywhere. They're all in the middle of the room and each stand has its branding. Then there's people standing at the stands. Then all the way around the outside of the room are kind of like these little theaters that are set up with chairs and slide screens at the stand and chairs on the stage and stuff like that. That's what it looks like if you haven't been there. They've got music going and they've got a little screen where you can get your photo taken with people and stuff like that.

The reason I said that it was salesy is because the people standing at the stands are salespeople. When you think about it, it is a technology. These are all software companies mostly that are coming along to set up their stands. It's like, well, who else are they going to send? They're not going to have the CEO at every single stand clearly, but at the same time, the people who they send as representatives, they are salespeople. Some people that I spoke to at the stands were quite nice and very easy to talk to. You can start a conversation with them and when you want to walk away you can actually leave the stand, but there were a few stands that I found where you go there and you kind of think, I wish I didn't start talking to this person. If you do go, just be really careful which stand you go to.

Don’t go to a stand unless you want to have a conversation because, yeah, I sort of felt like there were some salespeople who are really pinning us down in lights, doing the sales pitch. Even though they knew we're not… they determine at the start that we're not the right size or fit of clients. Yeah, that's basically it. Be salesy and it wasn't just the stands, but also probably quite a few of the talks, of course they're there to sell products, but I think that a lot of talks are really thinly, thin vials for sales pitches and… look, I understand they've got to sell their products, but it's like, okay, the content can come across as very… yeah, not really that meaningful if it's really just a secret sales pitch. Yeah, that's kind of how it felt there. That's the first thing that I hated.

The second thing that I hated is that I felt it was quite impersonal. I didn't really feel… except for the table talks where I was leading a talk. There wasn't really any way that was kind of had a community feel. It just very much felt like, I am in a giant exhibition room full of stands and salespeople. That's the feel that I got, sort of, around the theaters and things like that. You've got people congregating there to come and listen to the talks and things like that. To me, it felt very disjointed. There was no sort of central anything. There's not one big central stage that is really apparent. Even though the Receipt Bank stage was the main one, it's kind of like it's off on the side and it's not really… there's nothing that brings the whole room together.

From that perspective, I felt that it is impersonal and no community. You don't really know, as you're looking around the room, you can't sort of go, “Oh, that's the Bookkeepers.” You just sort of like, yeah, you can't see, where are the bookkeepers? Where are the accountants? Yeah, there is no real thing there. In the middle, they had a lounge, so obviously people who already know each other can catch up there. Maybe I should've organized something myself in this. I did on the second day.

I organized… for us to catch up with a couple of people, but just in that little area. I think, yeah, in the future I would think something that kind of brings a bit of a sense of community and make it not just feel like an empty hole full of salespeople and stands of course. If you already know a lot of people there, then it's probably fine. I guess I'm thinking of people who go and they don't know anybody. I don't know… probably just felt a little bit kind of like, I'm here by myself. I'm just walking around by myself. Yeah, that's the feel that I got there.

The third thing that I hated was some negative experiences that I had with some of the people that I would consider leaders in our community. As I said at the start, I'm not going to name anybody's names, but I had a couple of experiences that made me feel very uncomfortable. One of those experiences is actually a reason why I'm not playing the recordings that I made for the podcast because I didn't really know how to say this, but the behavior of one of these people was actually highly inappropriate. I felt that this person made inappropriate comments. Maybe they were just trying to be funny and I know I'm already trying to make excuses for them, but this person said and did some things that made me feel very uncomfortable. I don't know… I was very hard on myself afterwards because I didn't speak up. I didn't stand up for myself.

I didn't say anything and I laughed it off. I have the whole thing recorded on video and I'm just like, “Whoa, I don't want to play this,” because even though I'd love for people to see how this person actually spoke and acted towards me, but at the same time, I feel ashamed. Yeah, I don't know… It wasn't a good experience. I had another sort of… there's a bit more of a sort of experience around that with having not a good experience with some of the leaders. That is, there's a whole bunch of different people who are leaders in our community who I've never met in person. They've never met me in person and that kind of thing. There was one particular person I felt that when she met me. She walked over. I was in the middle of a conversation with someone else and she came over and gave me this sort of like, who are you kind of vibe.

I said my name and the reaction was like, “Oh, okay.” Highly unimpressed, like I know you, but okay. She knew who I was and yeah. Anyway, then proceeded to cut me out of the conversation with the person that I was having a conversation with and I'm talking like… didn't put her back to me, but physically body language, stepped into the conversation and started badmouthing other people and swearing and I'm like, “I've never met this person in my life.” I just… to me, I don't know. I was shocked. Maybe, I don't know if you… like I don't have a problem with people who swear, sometimes I swear if I need to, but like I don't use it as part of my regular everyday vocabulary.

Do you know what I mean? I think swearing is part of expressing them. It might come out as part of an expression, but I wouldn't go around just swearing for the sake of it, especially in front of somebody that I'd never met before. Somebody who knows that I'm a leader, like I don't know. I just felt that it was highly inappropriate. It gave me a very negative experience and I just thought like… the thought was that came to my mind is like, “What a toxic person.” While I was just like grossed out by it. I was like, I felt so uncomfortable. Then the person asked me, they turned to me, they asked me a specific question, like a specific question. I can't even say the question because I just don't want to go into what actually was that the question.

Asking me a specific question and then when I answered the question, the response was, “Oh, I already know how this works.” I was like, “What?” As if… but you just asked me. If you already knew, why did you ask me? It was really weird, but it was like she set me up to go… give an answer and then made me look or feel like an idiot. I was just like, “What on earth.” Anyway, that was a negative experience that I had with another person. I had a bit of a similar experience with another person, but it's so similar that I just… I'm not even going to say it because it's the same. It's the same thing just with a different person, maybe not as rude, but really just like… I don’t know.

Made me feel like I'm just like wasting their time and space, kind of thing. I just thought, I don't know. For me, I just feel that, like not everybody has to like everybody, but I just think there's no need to be rude or like have to act like you're better than other people or to try like embarrass them or cut them out of conversations or whatever. Anyway, I had a good chat, I had to have a bit of a debrief with our marketing manager and she just said, “Look, that's about them. It's not to do with you and so that's fine.” I accept that, but really it's just added to what I was talking about the other day. I posted it in the Facebook group and I said… I shared a couple of personal things. There are some people in the leadership in our community and I've been like seriously and in situations where I don't believe I've done anything wrong. I just felt that I've been treated unfairly and for no good reason.

Just really… it makes me really sad because I just think, “Oh gosh, we deserve better than this.” We as a community… like the people who are supposed to be leading us and the people who are supposed to be role models like we deserve better. I run the feedback also by Maia our project coordinator and she gave me her feedback on a couple of people that she had sort of had a similar experience with and she said, “No, I don't think it's anything to do with you, but this is the perception that I got about this person.” I'm like, “Okay, okay.” It's good for me to validate that information that I think… because sometimes I think I'm too sensitive and I pick up on things that other people don't pick up on.

Anyway, that was the third thing that I hated. I really hated that. I hated it. It was just, Yuck. It left me away with a sour taste in my mouth and that's nothing to do with the Accountech. That's like completely… that's not a review of Accountech. I mean obviously they invite the guests and stuff like that or I mean they just sell their packages as sponsorship packages and then whoever comes. I just think man, like yeah. Three things that I think could be done better like by Accountech and their organizers is the first one's obvious more stuff for Bookkeepers. Look, I hate to break it to people, but Bookkeepers get tacked on to the end of accountants all the time. Someone's marketing some thing to accountants and they add and Bookkeepers on the end because a lot of people think that Bookkeepers and accountants are similar.

Yes, it's all accounting, but you've got very different types of businesses, very different business models and like you've got very different personalities, very different outlooks. You've got different types of relationships with clients. Bookkeepers are not accountants. Okay, like we all do accounting, but Bookkeepers and accountants are very different. Like yeah. Just it's so different and I think that there needs to be more that's dedicated just for Bookkeepers. Rather than just, “Hey, bookkeepers come along and listen to this thing for accountants is probably going to be relevant to you.” No, it's not going to be relevant. Yes, we use some of the same softwares, but we use them in a different way. I just think we need to start recognizing the bookkeepers and accountants are different. They're entirely different. Different demographics, different psychographics, different… like as someone mentioned, we work from home. A lot of Bookkeepers work from home. Most accountants or a lot of accountants work from offices and there's just so many differences that I can't really even begin to list them.

I think there could be more for Bookkeepers. I think that it could be more personalized for Bookkeepers, but at the end of the day, it's a software conference and accounting software. It's not a conference, it's an exhibition. It’s a place for software companies to show their stuff, showcase their work. That's fine. I understand that. The other thing that could be done better… and this is quite a simple fix I guess, but it just needs to be in a smaller room. The room is very big and not all of the space was used like this few spots where there's empty spaces. I felt that the… like it was, the room is unnecessarily large. It doesn't really feel very… like there's no intimate feeling about it.

This ties back into what I said before that I hated. It just contributes to that impersonal feel of the room. It's just this huge broad room and yeah. Just I don't know. To me it's like too big and too open and it just makes it feel a little bit like… yeah, I don’t know. I think like a smaller room would probably be better. But obviously the bigger they can make it, the more money that they can make. The bigger the room, the more stands you can offer and things like that. I just felt like no, it doesn't need, the room doesn't need to be that big. Also it really highlighted that there weren't that many people there. I don't know how many people actually attended, but it felt like a very sparse crowd the whole time.

The first morning the Tuesday morning there was a couple of packed out, talks like they were flowing out. There was a few… on the Tuesday there were a few times where there was like people standing because all the chairs were taken, but you didn't say that on the second day. There was a lot of empty chairs on the second day. I don't know. I just feel they could have done that better. Smaller room, like you've more, have the people bit closer to each other. Obviously you don't want it to be crowded, but I just feel… I don't know. Maybe they overestimate how many people are going to be that, but you'd think the room that size is for like quite a big crowd. So yeah, that's just my thought, small room. The other thing was the sound and the noise.

All of the theaters are right next to each other. We were doing the table talks like in between two different theaters, there's no roof on the top, there's no sound barrier, so it does get quite noisy there. If you've got people talking at the tables and it's a little bit difficult to hear what the other people are saying, you've got to talk quite loud. I felt like the noise probably could have been handled a little bit better. I had like a bit of music pumping. Someone said they trying to play Xerocon or putting the music pumping out there. Yeah, which is fine. Put music on to create a little bit of atmosphere… I don't know. I didn't have a problem with the background noise. Once I got inside, you just totally get used to it, but when you're trying to listen and try and concentrate on something, like the noise is a little bit unnecessary. They probably could do that a little bit better.

They kind of logistical things I think could be improved and I'm sure like no one from a Accountech would ever listen to my podcast. They're probably not taking this as feedback. It's more for you guys to know whether you're going to bother to invest two days of your life in this… attending this event or whether you would fly into state for it, for example. I'm going to end up on something a little bit more positive. Three things that made me grow. The first one that made me grow was just going there. I guess most of you probably know now that, I'm a mom. I've got two little kids. I've got a four year old and two in January year old and they both go to childcare. They're not home with me during the day, but being a young mom and being… yeah. Obviously being pregnant for 18 months of the last five years and then not sleeping and recovering from having babies and stuff like that.

I haven't really felt like going out to conferences. People always ask me, “Oh, are you going to Xerocon, you're going to the road show, are you going to this conference or whatever?” I'm like, “No, not yet. I'm not ready. I may be next year.” I'll stop going to things, but I really wanted to get out and about. I would go to coffee clubs and different little small meetings, but even them I haven't been to for a while. Since I had my second baby… I was fine after the first one, but after the second one, I just, “Oh man.” I was so tired and just not feeling confident about myself. I lost my confidence, I think during my pregnancies, I didn't drive.

I lost my confidence even driving my car. And then, obviously like putting on weight when you're pregnant and stuff like that. Just everything felt like not good. I hurt my back when I was pregnant and I had back pain, stuff like that. Obviously you don't want to hear about all of my medical problems or anything like that. For me, I sort of felt like I'm not ready. I'd love to be out and about mate Bookkeepers in real life. I've met a lot of people online. I do know Bookkeepers enroll real life. Like obviously I've been to the smaller settings, so this quite few people keep us that I do know in person. To get out to the bigger events, so I just thought, “No, I'm not ready.”

That was one thing that made me grow because last week I thought to myself, “You know what? Like I don't really care about Accountech, but why not?” It's just an excuse to get out and it's a good one to practice on because it's not too serious on you. It's not as full on as Xerocon and it's free. I don't really care at the end of the day like how good it is or whatever. I just want to want an excuse to get out and sort of like practice going at places again. That was really good. I felt that that was a huge step forward for me and I feel that, yeah. I'm ready to get out there and start to do more things in person again. I used to lead Bookkeeper groups, monthly groups and things like that. I haven't done that for ages. I did that after my first son was born, but after the second son I was like, “I can't do this anymore.”

The second thing that made me grow as a person was the table talk. Then I did cracking down on unavailable times. That was just a huge privilege to be able to do that. I love the fact that I saw, I put my hand up… no, I sorry, I decided to go to Accountech and then on the morning of Accountech I was like, ah! I said to William. I did actually say to him like, “Do you think we should go? Because it sort of seems like two days. Seems like a bit of a… like we could be working on other things during those days. Do you think it's… we should wait until the need to focus on this?” I tried to chicken out and someone had contacted me… No, sorry, that was the day before. Then someone contacted me that day and said, “Can you fill in for me because I've taken on too many things.” And so she said, “Can you speak on the QuickBooks table talk on pricing.” I was like, “Yeah, of course I can.” Then I found out the topic is cracking down on unavailable time.

I thought, “Okay, this is awesome.” I didn't even need to prepare so I can just rock up. That's a cool thing. Once you get used to teaching on a specific topic, you get better and better at it and you don't need your notes anymore. Whereas when I first started out like doing any kind of teaching, whether it was a webinar or anything like that, I'd have to write down word for word what I was going to say and I'd be so nervous. Then I started to realize like, “Hey, I actually know what I'm talking about and I don't need to really prepare.” It was a discussion group type setting, I thought, “Well yeah, this is the perfect way to stop because it's not a presentation. I don't need to make slides. I don't need to stand up in front of people. I don't have to impress anybody really. I just have to facilitate a discussion.”

And so, yeah. When I found out I had the opportunity to do that, I was like, “Yes, definitely.” I was very excited about that. Did have a bit of a funny situation like when I first started leading the table talk, I was sitting there with the group before we started and then knew I was leading the group and we'd been having a bit of a chat and then just as we're about to start, this guy comes over and he's all like very obvious. He sat down and the chair and he said, “Get up everyone, I'm Steve Mott.” I thought he was trying to be funny.

I was like, okay. Then I thought, oh, this will be an interesting person. Because sometimes you get someone who's like a bit out there where they are always cracking jokes. I thought maybe that's what he was doing. Then he said, “All right well, we've only got 45 minutes. Let’s start off by going around the table and everyone introduce themselves.” I'm like, “what?” Everyone looked at me, everyone's turn to look at me. He said to me, “Oh, do you want to start?” I said, “Well, I'm leading the table.” He said, “I'm leading the table.” I said, “Right, okay, that's funny.” We’ve had to work out, okay. He said, “What table is this?” I said, “Cracking down on billable time.” He goes, yeah, that's the one I'm waiting.

I'm like, “Oh, that's so weird, I'm yeah, they organized that with me yesterday.” He said, “Oh, I just got a call 15 minutes ago on saying I still hadn't found somebody.” I was like, “Okay, well, they did organize.” He said… I said, “Well, we could lay the table together.” He said, “No, no, no. You go ahead and you take it.” I said, “Well, obviously feel free to stay, feel free to contribute to the discussion.” That was good. I was glad that he didn't want me going ahead and, leading the talk. That was quite funny. Then I told that story at the start of the other groups just to break the ice, kind of, thing. That was quite funny.

Yeah, leading the table talk was really good. I wouldn't be able to do it justice, to talk about it now. What I'll do is I'll do another episode on that where I'm going to go through all of the awesome things that I learned. Even though I was leading it and I did share some examples from my business or the things that I'm doing with Bookkeepers. I really… got the table talking about how they do it or what their issues are and, what actually causing and billable time and things like that. I think that would justify a full episode. I'll do that maybe next week. Next week might be good. That was good. Then leading that talk just, that made me grow because it's a stepping stone out there to, being able to… yeah, you start getting out there and doing some in-person leading again.

I'd love to start up my in-person groups again. I used to run the groups and then that thing back when we were called create, build, love, create, building and love your business. That's what I used to be called before I was called this Savvy Bookkeeper. Anyway, that's something that I'd love to do, but it's just… I feel it's taken me a step towards that now even though it was a little step. It was really cool privileged to be able to do that. That was fun. The third thing that made me grow is the feedback that I got on the post in the Facebook group. When I posted that I had mixed feelings about Accountech. I did mention that off the back of the posts that I did the other day saying that I hadn't had a great experience with some of the other ladies in the industry.

I just said, “Look, I went to Accountech and it was okay, but I have mixed feelings about it and I want to share that.” It was really encouraging for me to hear the feedback that I got from the rest of the people in the group. Just going to actually find the post in case you haven't seen it. I just said, “Well, I have mixed feelings about my two days at accountech definitely no I wouldn't bother going again.” I enjoyed my table talks, met some lovely bookkeepers and land a lot. I will share some of my key learnings on the podcast this Friday. Well, that's today and no, I'm not sharing my key learnings from the table talks, but I'm sharing my key learnings from the conference as a whole. I will give you the key learning six week.

Then I said, “To be truthful, I've come away with mixed feelings about a few things off the back of my long post last week.” I'm left with extreme discouragement about our industry leaders conquering today. Tell me about, honestly I think as a community, which is a better than some poor attitudes and behavior that I've seen from senior people, just got to figure out the best way to say this without lowering myself to their level. Being truthful about what I'm experiencing. I need wisdom, but first need sleep. I wanted to share this because some of the comments that I got back were just from people saying that they're really wanting to hear my perspective. Basically what I got from this and the reason this made me grow is because I have not grown up as someone who has had the opinions valued.

That’s part of the reason why this is the Bookkeeper's Voice because I want my voice to be heard. I know I have good things to say and I know that I have a different perspective to a lot of people and I do think that my perspective is valuable and I do like to be able to say it without being interrupted or being told to shut up or whatever. To be able to hear that like, okay, so Lauren actually said, “I'm really kin to hear your perspective too.” Amy, I'll keep an eye or an ear out for the podcast. I'm really curious to hear about what you're saying in our industry that you're so disappointed about. I think you have good judgment personally. I value your insight, especially on the subject of leadership. Thank you Lauren.

I'm sending you a big hug and kiss right now. Because for me, being someone who has not been valued in the past and has not had my voice heard, to me that is a huge compliment because, I would love to be somebody who people consider to have good judgment and to have valuable insight on a subject that I'm very passionate about, which is leadership and for people to, reinforce the fact that they do want to hear what I have to say on the topic and to also… I feel, through these posts I could see that people know that I'm not just being a bitch, I'm not trying to be negative. I'm not trying to be rude or complaining or cause any kind of division. For me I want to be able to talk about some of this stuff.

I don't know for me, that really made me grow as a person because… just to get that feedback, after my last couple of parts in the Facebook group, I did feel a bit insecure, after I posted it, I thought, Oh, was I over emotional? Did I share too much? And, I did worry that, like I'd given away too much information and I don't want it to make people feel sorry for me. At the same time I'm like, “I'm holding all of this inside me and I have nobody to talk to about this.” I've told my husband, obviously, and I do talk to our marketing manager, but there's nobody else who's actually in our industry like another Bookkeeper, a colleague I feel that I can talk to about some of these issues.

Part of the reason would be like, I don't know who to trust. Being someone who's relatively new in the industry even though I've been Bookkeeping for over 20 years, I've only been part of the bookkeeping community for about five years, because prior to that, I didn't know that there was a community. I was just a Bookkeeper on my own. I don't have, some of these really long term relationships that other people have. I don't know who knows who or who's friends with who. If I want to open up and say, “Hey, like I need a talk.” I guess I would feel nervous about that because I don't know that information that I would consider personal might go back to someone else. I just, sometimes you just need to talk about those things to someone who's in the industry who understands.

For me, I'm feeling like I'm not a high level leader or anything like that, but I am a community later and, I do lead people. I guess the requirement to be considered the leader is that you have followers. I do have followers. Therefore, I'm a leader and fantastic followers, I must say. I really love you guys because since I did this post in the group, I got a lot of feedback, a lot of encouragement, a lot of people just giving me their perception on me because it's hard for us to see ourselves exactly the way that we are and how we come across. It's really good to get that feedback from other people, but to also see that people do really care. They care that I'm struggling and I don't have to be positive and encouraging all the time. I don't have to be strong all the time and I don't have to know all the answers.

I thought, well, I'm going to post this in the group even though it's not positive and even though it's me struggling. It’s like, well, I'm just going to share it because I do trust you guys to a level… I don't feel that I could say this person did this and this is what I'm going through, but I feel that I trust you guys on a level where I can actually be open and go, “Hey, sometimes I feel like I want to quit. Sometimes I feel like…” Not because I don't think I can do the job, but just because of some of the dynamics and the politics and some of the challenges that I come across running the business. I just sometimes feel it would be easier to be an employee and not have to worry about all the responsibility, but it's like, well no, because that's what it's all about.

I don't think I could've worked for somebody else. You just got to find a way to make it work. It's like this is what I'm here for. I do feel that I'm connected to my life purpose. I'm still seeking specific direction in how that's going to play out of course. I feel like I'm in the right place. I just don't know if I'm on the right trajectory within that place kind of thing. Again, I'm trying to build my own support network and it's quite hard when you're starting from scratch. I thought, well, you know what, I don't feel that I can trust the leaders in our community, but I can trust you guys and I can open up.

I tell you so much about my business that many people wouldn't share about their business. Like share my stuff ops. I share the things I did well. I share my resources. I'm just like oh, well, what have I got to lose, kind of thing. Yeah, that's it. Basically, I've grown as a person. There were things about Accountech that I loved. Things that I hated, things that I think they could do better. Overall, the big question is would I go again and do I recommend it to Bookkeepers? I would say overall, no. I would not go again. Even if they made some of those changes that I shared, I probably wouldn't go again.

Well, no. I don't think I would go again. Do I recommend it for Bookkeepers? Not really. I think there's a lot of better stuff out there that you could do if you're going to fly into state or if you're going to take two days off work. Even though it's a free thing, I don't really recommend it. I think that a lot would have to change for it to be worthwhile. Being a free convention, a free exhibition, there is a saying that if there's no ticket price, you are the product kind of thing. I have been on the sales in of their process, which is the last year I was considering doing the coffee cart for Savvy. Having Savvy along there, I don’t know if it affects… They have the carts because it was they hadn't sold their last couple of stalls, but I know they're really expensive.

It was going to be 5,000 instead of 10 or maybe originally 12. One of the selling points for them was, hey, there's going to be 800 Bookkeepers and accountants coming through the door and this many, they're going to buy coffee and you can scan their badges and get their email addresses. I was thinking, you want to take people's email addresses without opting in, isn't that illegal? Yeah, and they're like, “Oh yeah, but don't worry about it.” Which I felt was a little bit unethical actually. At the end of the day, the selling point for me was like, there are going to be this many accountants there and Bookkeepers there and this is what you should pay us, the $5,000 and the beat stage is $30,000 each.

I think the small booths are like 10 and the bigger ones like 15 or maybe 20 or something like that. I don't know. It's very expensive to go. It's not really suitable for small business to go set up a stand. I thought, I'm not going to pay $5,000 to get a… What do you call? I'm not going to pay $5,000 to get a couple of email addresses. It's going to be worth something else. What else would you go there for? Will you go there for CPA? Now, I did receive some good feedback on some of the talks. I've got quite a few notes from the talks that Maia went to. She took a whole heap of notes, so we're going to put them together in some blog posts. It was quite interesting. In terms of CPA, you can self assess that say they promoted the day as CPD or CPA points per day.

I would be a little bit skeptical about whether maybe 50% of those talks could have been considered as CPA. I definitely think the table talks would have counted. There was a couple of specific talks on my gov IDs and that kind of thing that could be counted. Then there's other things in there like… I guess this things where you're balancing on the edge where learning about advisories at CPA maybe, maybe not. They have got ones about getting your processes down for offshoring. That's related to your business, but is it related to delivering your best agents service? I don't really necessarily think so. Obviously you know, you are allowed to self assess those things. I'd be very hesitant to say yes, you will get 16 hours of CPD from that day, but you would have to attend sessions all day.

You wouldn't have any breaks in between sessions or anything like that. I'd be very skeptical that you're actually getting that much CPA to put down on your register. Yeah, that's my overall recommendation. Don't waste your time. Unless you're going to Melbourne for other reasons and you got a whole bunch of people you want to catch up with. If you want to just go and network with other Bookkeepers, organize something ahead of time, don't expect to get all your CPA that they're promoting, to tell you again. I guess, yeah, it's a free thing. It's a free event.

If you're happy to just have two days off work, go check it out, but I would probably say you wouldn't go to [inaudible 01:02:14] maybe. Anyway, hopefully that's been helpful. Obviously, you can't apply this knowledge until next year, but hopefully you'll remember what I've said. Maybe I can give it a boost next year. Yeah, by all means go, but if you'd rather invest your time and whatnot in something else, then I wouldn't feel bad for not going. I can't say that you would feel that you've missed out on anything. Anyway, hopefully that's been helpful and I'll catch you guys next week. Have a great weekend. Goodbye. See ya.