“All our knowledge has its origins in our perceptions.” According to that fairly clever bloke Leonardo da Vinci.
Perceptions matter and that’s something that became very clear at a recent spectacularly successful Xerocon London 22. Held in the picturesque Tobacco Dock on Docklands, it was the first Xerocon since the pandemic hit in 2020.
The two-day event attracted around 2,000 attendees and has been dubbed the “Glastonbury for accountants.”
It is in this setting, in the shadow of the legendary Cutty Sark, that a lot of business can be done, but there appeared to be an awful lot of business that was missed out on. But was Leonardo right? Was a lot of knowledge gained from the perception of what was happening.?
Why are Events Like these Important?
It’s about engagement, networking and moving your company forward. And as I was watching hundreds of people around me was that some were not really doing business, but were treating it as a day out. We all love a day away from work but when 3-5 members of the office are not there this has an impact on their work and the continuity of the business they work for.
I look at these events from three points of view: to generate business, to give our company a higher profile and to develop my knowledge of what is happening in the accountancy industry in general.
But what became apparent over a couple of days was how many people were not actively engaged, spending a lot of time surfing the internet or on their mobiles, which can be done at any time. Not really engaging in drumming up business. Meeting people, and not really connecting properly. Time is so crucial, you never get to re-enact the same time ever again. So, use it wisely. 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week , 2400 minutes in an average working week. Do you want to get to the end of the week and feel you haven’t achieved anything?
What gained, and lost?
Yes, just a perception maybe but what was also obvious was that separate meeting rooms and product displays were half full, while many again were spending time chatting over a coffee or having a bite to eat. I sound like a real killjoy don’t I? But always look at the reason for doing what you do. What is the purpose, what can I gain or my business gain either through networking or through product knowledge?
Also, from a sustainability point of view, you have to ask why so many people are there. What have they gained or what has their business lost by vacating their offices? Remember trees do not aid and assist with carbon emissions until much later into their growth. So, when someone says they are planting trees to offset the carbon emissions this is very noble but surely the best way as always is preventative measures ie reduce the number of individuals in cars, planes, and trains. And reduce the waste ie. plastic water bottles and general waste. Which are actions that can be done immediately?
From my point of view, I was able to gain knowledge of four products and able to produce around 15 opportunities for GI. It’s the third conference of the year for us and our team. Everyone on our team is tasked with coming up with several opportunities from each conference.
The question is, why you are there?
It could be that accountants will go along with just a couple of staff in an observation kind of a role, to see what is happening, keep up to date and see what are the latest trends. At a huge conference like Xerocon that is perfectly justified.
But the whole point of events Is to gain traction for your business. The time spent has to be worthwhile.
At the same time, building up networks crucial. Many of these events culminate in gatherings, where even when winding down after the conference connections can be made and networks built up.
At GI we know why we attend these events and that means a lot of pre-planning. At the recent Accountex event our team delivered many opportunities.
That’s what makes investing in these events worthwhile. It’s the bottom line if you like.
As I said before, many who attend are too passive and in their comfort zones. These events are not days off, or they shouldn’t be, enjoy yes, have fun yes but make them worthwhile. Numbers attending should really be justified and you should be able to come away with something tangible.
Dealing with shortages
In our case, it is how our outsourcing service can support accountancy firms. We have spoken before about the staffing problems facing the industry.
For many, a further headache is dealing with absences, which can cover many areas. It could be that some members of accountancy teams don’t feel fulfilled with some of the roles they are having to perform. So, they can leave at a moment’s notice. Mental health issues for accountants are a real issue with long hours and burnout a common feature. So your practice/office can be undermanned at regular points in the year
But other absences could be for a number of reasons and for business owners, no matter what the work needs to get done. You always need a plan B, C, or D… you get my drift.
GI can create the right fit for those particular roles. We can bring that particular person in for that role and the work gets completed to a high standard.
You always stay in control
Any fears of sending work to India and losing control are unfounded, the client is always in control. It works, as many are coming to instead of consulting recruitment companies.
They should have a Plan B and stay in front of the curve when staffing problems, for whatever reason, present themselves. In some cases, we can do a staff turnaround in a couple of weeks.
One thing is for certain. Networking and connections, whether pitching for clients or continuing to help existing clients, is vitally important for the health of the accountancy industry.
Events open up opportunities for connecting, networking and bringing in new business. We always make sure we make the most of them.
Contact our UK-based team of account managers today to find out how we can help your firm.