It’s taken me a week to decompress from my fourth QuickBooks Connect. It’s one of my favorite conferences, not just for the accounting industry, but of all those I’ve attended throughout my career’s various endeavors. As always, the education, networking, swag, and food were top-notch.
Why I Go
Every year I set a goal for my attendance. My first year, I spent my time doing QBO workshops and learning about 3rd party apps in the trade show. My second year’s goal was to network, network, network, and meet as many people as possible. By the end of my second QBO, I decided my goal for year 3 was to be a speaker, and in my third year, yes, I gave a workshop about QBO’s Mobile App for iPad!
For year 4, my plan was to have fun, and deepen my relationships. Over the last five years I’ve had productive bookkeeping conversations on Facebook in several groups including BWAM, Appasaurus Rex, and ABBO. I started my own QuickBooks Training Events group to give Intuit teachers a place to list their classes. Nine people attended from my local Portland Woodard Group, and I was also happy for the opportunity to spend time with those lovely ladies outside our monthly luncheons.
I even met my virtual VA, Audrey Isbell, for the first time after working with her for over a year!
The Calm Before the Storm
In my previous career when I used to make astrology jewelry, my company (Wandering Star) threw a hotel room shindig at every conference, so I brought the idea to our Portland Woodard Group. Together we decided to throw a party! Jennifer Dymond dubbed it “The Calm Before the Storm,” and it was a great opportunity to reconnect with friends I’d make online and at previous conferences. By holding it the night before the conference started, we got quality time with Billie Anne Grigg, Peter Cullen, Steffanie Anderson, Ingrid Edstrom, and a long list of other stellar colleagues. We had a trivia contest for prizes (“Name 3 accounting professionals [not counting me] with rainbow hair.”). It was nice catching up, and meeting new people! Dymond dubbed it “The First Annual…”, so hopefully we’ll get to do it again next year.
At conferences, I myself generally enjoy hard-skills classes, software techniques that I can immediately use back in the office. In 2017, most of QBC’s workshops were soft skills for business growth and development. That turned out to be a benefit, now that my QuickBooks skills are solid and my company is entering a growth phase. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the odd debate within the tech world, why not check out this comparison between Xero vs QuickBooks to give more of an insight into it and what they do.
Wednesday was a long, exciting day. I caught a few of Heather Satterley’s excellent classes about QB Self-Employed, and Zapier for automation. I was torn between Hector Garcia’s YouTube session, which is exactly our business model at Royalwise.com, and Kacee Johnson’s workshop about Year-Round Marketing Strategies. My team asked me to go to the latter, since we already make training videos, and we are developing our first written marketing plan. Although I got great, usable tips from Kacee about marketing research and social media, my heart was with Hector and I wish I could have been in two places at once!
QBC gives us plenty of opportunities to network and gather. Stacey Kildal & Richard Roppa-Roberts’s BWAM/AREX in the morning, an Intuit Speaker/Writer meetup, Carrie Kahn’s CBG Partner Dinner, the always-fun T-Sheets party.
I finished with late-night ice cream for Beth Damis’s birthday with Barry McQuarrie, Cindy Moore, and Heather Satterley. We even ran into Rich Preece and got him to taste our delicious locally-made dairy-free mint chocolate chip! It’s those delightful silly moments that create lasting impressions.
QuickBooks Online Training
Thursday was my education day. I went to several sessions to learn QBO techniques for specific industries. Gregg Bossen demonstrated a slick creative workaround to send Thank You letters to non-profit donors using QBO. I’d never thought of using an Invoice like a Sales Receipt so that you could use templates imported from Word! Gita Faust showed how to use QBO for Real Estate investors and flippers, using sub-customers, locations, and classes. I was happy that we could download the slides from qbcommunity.com!
I would be remiss not to mention the food. Intuit fed us well. All the meals and snacks were healthy. People with food sensitivities were not limited in their choices at the gourmet buffets. And we were treated to beer and wine each evening.
We ended the night with a concert by the Spazmatics, geeky-looking guys playing 80’s hits with great choreography. Intuit sure knows its QBC target audience!
By Friday, I was pretty burnt out, so I spent the morning touring the Updown and Downtown 3rd party app developers. One standout was Locate, a new QBO Inventory app that tracks raw materials that were offsite with manufacturers. I also enjoyed the new Marketplace with small businesses crafting gifts. I bought Hanukkah presents for several family members!
In addition to the education and the workshops, Main Stage was filled with celebrities and entrepreneurs. Inspiration abounded, a stage full of people just like you and I who ran with their ideas. Their passion was contagious. This year the stage was full of strong, smart, funny women and many people of color, including Lisa Ling and Shonda Rhimes. I was glad to see a cross-section of business owners that reflects our diverse population.
The week finished off with Chris Pan from myintent.org. He encouraged us to choose a word that encompassed our goals. My own was “Enhance.” My goal with Royalwise.com is to enhance your business through technology education; my growing success enhances my family.
All attendees received one of Chris’s bracelets as a parting gift. Intuit’s chosen word for all of us was “Together.” You may have noticed how many people I mentioned just in the context of this article, and this was just a short summary of my amazing week (please don’t take it personally if I didn’t mention you by name!). I came away thrilled at how many people I’m growing to know and love. Everyone at all levels is generous with their time, wisdom, experience, and advice. I’m impressed with the good vibes. And I’m grateful that I’ve been able to find my niche in QuickBooks education, a perfect fit for this geek girl with a Masters in Teaching.
We are all in this Together, helping businesses grow and succeed using QuickBooks.