Accounting, Bookkeeping, Business Advisory Services, Cloud Computing, Roadshows

1 Continent | 5 weeks | 12 cities | 3 Key Insights gained from the Receipt Bank – Grow Your Practice Roadshow

Receipt Bank Roadshow Sydney Tower

Roadshows provide an occasion to connect with like-minded peers in your industry or profession (in this instance Bookkeepers and Accountants) and get to know a vendor team beyond the sales and support call environment.

Roadshows are also invigorating as well as an endurance test for organisers and presenters alike. However importantly for software vendors they provide an invaluable opportunity to gain direct insights from end user customers on how they perceive and apply your solutions and why they partner with you and what they would like to see prioritised in your future roadmap of innovation.

During May and June, I had the privilege of presenting at the “Receipt Bank Grow Your Practice” roadshow across Australia.

As a presenter, I love roadshows; this was the 15th time over the past 20 years I had traversed the country presenting in this format. The schedule is always frenetic and challenges you to “be on” each time you present. Even though you are repeating a talk you are always refining and enhancing it; it’s certainly not a canned presentation, it’s a living thing that evolves as you are on the road. Much like working with small business clients; just because you advised the same thing to another client earlier in the day doesn’t mean the next client you see should receive an abridged or less enthusiastic delivery of your advice / message. We all need to turn up and be on, and that’s simply a decision we can make each time we interact with a current or prospective client.

It’s often the presenter that gets the most out of the presentation! – The art of constructing, communicating and connecting with an audience is always at the forefront of a presenter’s mind. Total respect for the audience and the organiser (and the collective investment of time, energy and money by just being in the room) is paramount, it’s an honour, privilege and responsibility to share useful content in a way that impacts and initiates implementation of insights gained from attending a Roadshow.

So, what did I learn by being on the road with the Receipt Bank team for 5 weeks visiting 12 cities across Australia?

1 – Bookkeepers are Entrepreneurs

It was inspiring to meet and hear the back stories of countless (unsung hero) Bookkeepers getting on with business, adapting to change and re-creating their business models for future sustainability and quality of life. I saw the “Entrepreneurial Bookkeeper Mindset” in action; Proactively seeking and implementing technology solutions that enhance business results for themselves and their clients.

The effective adoption of technology coupled with discernment of their pricing, promotion and positioning may just be creating the ultimate lifestyle vocation with recurring profitable income, paradoxically leveraging from automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence. Contrary to popular belief, technological change is an opportunity for the progressive bookkeeping professional ….. not a threat!

2 – Accountants and Bookkeepers are collaborating

The Receipt Bank roadshow brought together Accountants, Bookkeepers and SMB’s and despite some industry commentators talking up a turf war between Accountants and Bookkeepers the reality in the field is very different.

I witnessed first-hand, active collaboration between bookkeepers and accountants in the room. Mutual respect for each other’s strengths and understanding of the needs of the common client.

I saw professional Bookkeepers and Accountants alike recognising and respecting the unique strengths and skillsets that each bring to the SMB community.

There is a genuine connection between each party. With Accountants seeking out complimentary referral partners to connect their clients with for their bookkeeping needs and bookkeepers seeking mentorship and guidance from accountants in the finer aspects of accounting and business operations. This collaboration enhances the services and relationship that each brings to (often mutual) clients.

We are also seeing the evolution of business partnering opportunities with the roll up of some bookkeeping businesses into accounting firms so as to enable Accounting firms to offer an all in one, end to end solution to the client, whilst providing the bookkeeper the necessary infrastructure to grow and service more clients.

3 – Receipt Bank have a great team

Having known members of Receipt Bank (both in the USA and here in AU) since 2012, I sensed they had an impressive team that is growing around the world. However, the roadshow enabled me to see a next generation of team members and leadership in action. What particularly impressed me was the calibre of the in-house presenters that I shared the roadshow stage with. There is a team of young (yes I know, almost everyone is young compared to me), enthusiastic and very capable professionals that not only knew their product (as you would expect) but also knew their purpose and demonstrated they also know how to relate and connect with their customer. Especially interesting was seeing notable aspects of the corporate culture of Receipt Bank on display. Enabling a platform for team member growth through presenting in public requires courage, confidence and trust. There were several team members for whom this was their first time presenting and they did a fabulous job of it. They were prepared in advance through deliberate practice, encouraged from the sidelines and ultimately respected and applauded by the audience.

I want to congratulate Receipt Bank on the commitment to making the roadshow a reality (and encourage you to continue), it’s a lot of work, often difficult to quantify results (in the short term), however from a presenters view the benefits to all are immense.

In a digital world where we are all “connected” there is often a sense of a lack of real connection. Attending (or arranging) a roadshow show is a wonderful way to learn something new and gain valuable insights whilst connecting with your peers.

Well done Receipt Bank and thank you for the opportunity to be a part of the inaugural #RBRoadshow

In case you missed the Roadshow!

You can still catch up on great information designed to help you Grow Your Practice. Check out more at the resources and events pages at the Receipt Bank website





Single Touch Payroll (STP) starts on 1 July ………… or does it?

Find out if you can benefit from your software suppliers STP Deferral Code
You may have more time to get ready for Single Touch Payroll

By now you have probably been inundated with emails, tweets, Facebook posts and maybe even Blogs (like this one), letting you know all about Single Touch Payroll which is due to start on 1 July for some employers (typically those with 20 or more employees). However its worth noting that even if you are a substantial employer then you may not have to stress about the entire process just yet.

Most software companies have been feverishly getting their software ready for the introduction of STP, and many are now compliant and ready to go. However even some that are ready have also applied for (and received) a Deferral Code from the ATO. You can use this code to gain some extra time to ensure you are fully ready and take the stress off at this otherwise very busy time of year.

For Example;

Reckon Accounts Users

Even though the latest versions of all Reckon’s payroll products are STP compliant, Reckon still obtained a Deferral Code from the ATO. If you are using the 2018 version of Reckon Accounts (Either Hosted or Desktop) then you may be able to defer your setup and processing of STP until after 1 July and before the 30th of September 2018 by use of the deferral code 84 513 869

Xero Users

Xero is taking a staged approach to the rollout of STP functionality to their user base and are planning to progressively notify users when the STP functionality is available for use in their Xero data file. Xero have applied for and received a Deferral Code from the ATO of 49 410 109 that is valid until 31 December 2018.

MYOB Users

Depending on which version of MYOB you are currently using then it may be possible that you are covered by a MYOB STP Deferral Code granted by the ATO that is valid until 31 May 2019. MYOB have stated that this deferral is in place for those businesses who are unable to upgrade to MYOB’s STP enabled solutions because they are currently using multi-currency, negative inventory, multi location inventory, M-Powered Payment or ODBC or AccountEdge. MYOB have recommended that you contact them directly to obtain the deferral code relevant to your software.

QuickBooks Online (QBO) Users

Intuit (the makers of QBO) have advised that all users of their, in product payroll solution (powered by KeyPay) are ready and able to utilise the STP processing and reporting functionality within the QBO software, so no deferral code is available (or necessary) for QBO users.

So Why do software companies apply for deferral codes?
Basically we see four main reasons (and there could be more) as to why a software company has applied for a deferral code.

1 – They didn’t expect their software to be ready for STP on 1 July 2018
2 – They may have reservations on their software’s ability to handle large scale immediate adoption of STP
3 – They may have had concerns regarding the ATO’s software systems ability to handle the influx of STP data in the early days of STP
4 – They wanted to enable their consulting / implementer network more time to work with clients to upgrade their existing (non STP compliant) software

So how can you use the deferral code?
If you are a business that is covered by a software vendors deferral code then there is nothing you need to do except be STP compliant by the time the code expires.

What happens if I’m not ready for STP and my software provider doesn’t have a deferral code for the software version I’m using?
If your software is ready for STP and you aren’t then you can still apply for your own Deferral Reference Number (DRN) with the ATO, but you might need to be quick if you are a business that is required to be STP ready by 1 July 2018 (*).

What if I didn’t have 20 (or more) Employees at 1 April 2018 (or at 1 April 2019) when will I be required to be STP compliant?
The short answer on this is ……… Nobody really nows?
At this stage it is proposed for STP to be mandatory for all employers (even those with 19 or fewer employees) by 1 July 2019, however legislation in relation to this start date is not law at the time of writing this update (28 June 2018) so watch this space.

Can you help me with my STP processes and procedures?
Yes – simply call us on 1300 289 846 or email to discuss how we can assist you in the setup, training and support of you and your team in the operation of STP.

Can you help me with assessing my future software strategy?
Yes – we are accredited consultants, partners and advisors in multiple small and medium sized business software solutions (both cloud and on premise), so if you would like an independent assessment as to what solution is right for you and your business then simply give us a call on 1300 289 846 or email

There are also a myriad of other components to STP in most payroll software solutions, including;

  • How to Identify and manually communicate your unique Software ID to the ATO before your first STP lodgement (especially relevant if using Cloud / Hosted STP software)
  • How to ensure that your Employee Allowances are correctly configured in the software before your first STP lodgement
  • How to share your file with your Advisor (e.g. Bookkeeper, Accountant, Payroll Bureau) for STP processing and lodgement
  • Understanding that STP lodgement is not automatic and requires several review steps before lodging with the ATO
  • Understanding the various types of STP Pay Events that are required and when, to be submitted to the ATO
  • What other information do I need to configure in my payroll software before uploading any data to the ATO (E.g. Employee Codes/Numbers)

I hope that this helps in taking some of the stress out of this End of Financial Year and here’s wishing you a smooth STP rollout and a fantastic 2018/19.

Happy New (Financial) Year

Clayton Oates


(*) Note: The first 12 months of STP reporting is viewed by the ATO as a Transition Period in which they are assisting employers in the adoption of STP. Therefore employers will not be liable for “Failure to report on time” penalties.

Accounting, Bookkeeping, Business Advisory Services, Cloud Computing, Consulting

ExpensiCon II – 5 Insights Gained

Bora Bora - #ExpensiCon II
The picture postcard South Pacific Island of Bora Bora – Home to #ExpensiCon II

There are occasions in life when our experience completely transcends our expectations – ExpensiCon II has been one of those moments.

A “Contrarian Conference” held at one on the most exotic locations on earth (Bora Bora – the small picture postcard Tahitian island literally in the middle of the South Pacific) was the most amazing Accounting Technology event I have ever had the privilege of attending.

Whilst the invitation list was limited to under 100 delegates, it was by no means elitist, without exception you could sense that everyone attending embraced their role and responsibly to converse, collaborate and contribute to the profession that has given us all so much. My hope is that by sharing some insights gained at ExpensiCon II it will help you further commit to, and enjoy, your journey in the Accounting | Bookkeeping | Technology professions and continue to create partnerships that impact others in a positive and constructive way.

So what made ExpensiCon II such an Amazing Experience and how can it benefit you?

The following are my top 5 components (from an attendee’s perspective) that the Expensify team completely aced at ExpensiCon II.

1 – Creating Community

Expensify carefully curated an audience of diversity from around the globe, with each of us sharing a common connection of Accounting & Technology.

The moment you set foot on the island it was like walking into your favourite sports team’s club room. There were so many people I have admired, respected and grown to know (mostly online) in the room (or in this case on the beach). In our online, “pseudo connected” world there is genuine magic to be made when people meet in real life (I must admit that on more than one occasion I was chatting away to someone thinking we had met before only to discover that this was the first time IRL). Sort of embarrassing but at the same time amazing that we know so much about each other and share so much online that sometimes we forget that we have never actually met. There is always so much more to discover about someone’s story beyond what appears online.

What I have discovered is that no matter how connected we think we are in the online world the real connection occurs when we have the opportunity to greet each other in person and have the time to ask questions and listen intently to the answers, each and every one has an amazing story within them and one which we can always learn and benefit from. Thank you, Expensify, for bringing the Accounting | Bookkeeping | Consulting | Professional Association and Technology Vendor communities together at ExpensiCon II.

2 – Collegiate Collaboration

At first glance you may think that the gathering of 100 leaders from various fields within a profession may be a risky thing to do. Business can often be seen as competitive, win and lose, scarcity, protective and proprietary of ideas and methodologies, with the occasional egocentric megalomaniac thrown into the mix. ExpensiCon had none of that. Hats off to everyone for checking the ego at the door and fostering genuine collaboration, and to all fellow delegates I thank you for your inclusiveness with a collegiate and collaborative mindset. There was a genuine sense of a pioneering spirit, friendship, creating abundance of opportunity for all in our professions by sharing experiences and insights gained over decades of commitment to the craft. What I continue to experience is the more you get to hang around those of greater experience and attitude the more we are inspired to raise our standards and set a course for continual improvement and refinement via life-long learning.

3 – Contrarian Approach

ExpensiCon is different to any other conference I have ever attended (100+ over the past 20 years), not that other events haven’t been worth attending, in-fact all have had unique moments and have been special in their own way and I have always gained something from attending each event. Most have the recurring theme that long after the content has faded the memories remain, and upon reflection these moments are anchored by the experience of human connection. The breakfast meetings, the catch up over coffee or the extended (and often entertaining) post dinner conversations at the bar where most of the challenges of life, business and the profession are solved and sometimes created. What I loved about the way in which Expensify approached the creation of ExpensiCon is by throwing out conventional wisdom about events (such as, large scale for maximum short-term impact, content rich, sales and marketing based at a convention centre location) to instead focus on laying a foundation for collaboration within and outside the profession, a long-term view, a balanced agenda in an idyllic location focused on the attendees obtaining maximum benefit from the shared experience. Next time you are looking at running a client event think about how some of these facets could be baked into the DNA of your event.

4 – Cultured Confidence

Sometimes our futures can be hamstrung by the successes of our past. Thinking we must conform to how we think others see us, making sure we don’t take risks and playing it safe within the industry tram lines. What I noticed (again) about Expensify is an unassuming inner confidence, like they have taken the time to discern their future and are diligently and confidently working towards making it a reality. Whilst this confidence can sometimes foster aloofness and even arrogance, this is not something I have ever seen at Expensify; and going back to the contrarian conversation, it’s as though they have recognised this possibility and have made a conscious effort to move in the opposite direction. What I continue to learn is that the inner confidence game is always worth playing and seeking to master, and the good news is, it’s a single player game in which we control the ultimate result.

5 – Care Free Attitude

Having fun isn’t something that we need to reserve for our after (business) hours life. When work is enjoyable, much of the other parts of our day also become more enjoyable. It’ s as though increased irreverence brings even better business / work results. With our hyper distracted worlds and increased time being devoted to learning the art of being present, perhaps we could benefit from caring a little less about ourselves and more so on the contribution we can make to others. Caring Less (about our expectations) to Gain More (Understanding of others and their needs). The vast conversations at ExpensiCon had two recurring themes, discovering more about the other person (both attendee and Expensify team members) and what are the needs of the people who we are looking to serve. The amazing thing is when focused in these areas we are present on the needs of others and naturally enter a shared discovery mode as opposed to going straight to solution mode, perhaps worth remembering next time we have a conversation with a client.

People sometimes ask me how do you get to go to something like ExpensiCon? and the short answer is I don’t really know (it’s certainly not something I ever expect), however perhaps some of the answers are in these 5 key elements that Expensify created and delivered to perfection at ExpensiCon II.

Mauruuru (Thank You in Tahitian) David Barrett and Team Expensify for the incredible honour and privilege to be a part of this truly unique experience.


Oh by the way Expensify make a really cool app that takes care of expense management, you can discover more about ExpensiCon II and Expensify


Accounting, Bookkeeping, Business Advisory Services, Cloud Computing, Consulting, Roadshows, Technology Identifier

What I discovered by connecting with Bookkeepers & Accountants at the #GetConnectedAU Roadshow


Roadshows are both a Marathon and a Sprint!

They are also engaging, repetitive, exhausting, invigorating and enlightening ……. providing an opportunity to deliver/receive direct unfiltered communication from the audience to the organiser.

I have an affinity to roadshow events having presented at more than 100 of them over the past 15 years, they are my favourite way of connecting with an audience. Whilst we have organised many of our own here at QA Business, its always great when someone else handles the logistics and fills the room and that is exactly what Intuit Australia did over the past 3 weeks.

It was my privilege to present the Keynote session at #GetConnectedU and share some thoughts, experiences and stories that hopefully helped (ABC’s) Accountants, Bookkeepers & Consultants re-discover some Confidence about the industry direction, gain Clarity on their relevance in it and create deeper Connection with others who will be a part of their extended team to enhance their client experience.

#GetConnectedAU (held in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane) saw hundreds of ABC’s invest a ½ a day in learning about industry trends from Trent McLaren, Website design tips from Wayne Schmidt, company and solution updates from Nicolette Maury, Meagan Wood and Luis Sanchez from Intuit, Shark Tank Style pitches from App Eco system partners and a Power Panel of Peers sharing insights on building their Accounting & Bookkeeping businesses.

It has been a great Roadshow that reinforced for me a continued shift in mindset in the market, as the frenetic pace of having to learn all apps in the accounting tech eco system (which created overwhelm and inertia) is beginning to settle down to a more considered approach to discerning what to learn that will be relevant to the clients you are looking to serve and the business (firm) you are building.

3 noticeable takeaways I observed were;

Renewed Focus on Strategy

ABC’s, no matter how long they have been involved in the profession, have a renewed focus (and are taking the time) to devise their future, based on discernment as to what the market needs are, combined with learning new skills to compliment current and emerging demand. Technology is a tool that is here to stay and whilst there is no doubt there will be a continual evolution (and perhaps consolidation) of solutions there seems to be a propensity for advisors to absorb a broader array of solutions and discern their relevance and application to their client’s business and their own.

A Viable Profession of Choice

I was both surprised and encouraged by the number of new entrants to the profession (within the last 5 years). People choosing Accounting | Bookkeeping | Technology as their vocation of choice. From diverse backgrounds, including Corporate positions, unrelated Small Business, Education and even the Trades. These new Tech Savvy, Enthusiastic (Baggage free) entrants are also coming with a plan, creating and building a business that will afford them lifestyle choices and fulfilling work as they serve clients with a model they have designed to service the customer and themselves.

Bookkeepers & Accountants are collaborating

Accountants and Bookkeepers alike are continuing to partner and collaborate to serve the small business community. Traditionally there has been some “Us and Them” mindset on both sides but Technology seems to be assisting by breaking down the barriers. With so much change occurring in the industry, professionals in both camps are recognising that more can be achieved by utilising the unique skills that each party has to offer each other. Coincidentally this dovetails perfectly in a session I’m presenting at #QBConnect in Silicon Valley next week on why “Accountants & Bookkeepers Go Together just Like Peas and Carrots” 😊

Thanks again to the Intuit QuickBooks Australia team for enabling me to be a part of the Roadshow and delivering a platform for ABC’s to Learn, Connect and Collaborate.

The next major event for Intuit is the Australian edition of #QBConnect which has been extended into a 2 day event to be held in Sydney May 24-25 2018. I would encourage all independent professionals who have an interest in the future of the profession and the impact of technology on it to attend – I know I will be.

– Clayton



A View from the Future (Aussies Abroad at #AccountexUSA 2017)

By Clayton Oates

In the words of one of the great Business Philosophers – Dr Seuss (plus some paraphrasing)

“Oh the places you will go (with Accounting Bookkeeping Technology)”

IMG_8411This week saw more than 30 intrepid Aussie ABC’s (Accountants | Bookkeepers | Consultants) attend AccountexUSA (one of the world’s largest and longest running Independent Accounting Technology conferences) in the history-laden metropolis of Boston Massachusetts USA.

Aussies have been attending this event since 2011 (formerly called SleeterCon) and this year was the biggest touring party ever – you can check out more of the backstory Why Aussie Accountants and Bookkeepers attend AccountexUSA). Comprising first time travellers, through to seasoned veterans, some just starting out in business and others re-discovering new found passions for their vocation. No matter where on the scale each attendee was at, there was common threads between us all; such as;

1 – A thirst for Knowledge. Whether that be solutions that can help run an Accounting or Bookkeeping business or that of the clients we serve or Business development insights and inspiration from those who have journeyed before us. These insights were discovered at a myriad of breakout sessions through to the communal dining room talking to other ABC’s, or by attending the high calibre Keynotes of Randi Zuckerberg (Facebook) and Daymond John (Sharktank and FUBU).

2 – Sharing of Knowledge. The Aussie market is widely viewed as a world leader (ok the real leaders are probably the Kiwi’s but don’t tell them that 😊) in the adoption of future focussed cloud technologies and business models both within Accounting and Bookkeeping firms and the SMB community. Whist we know we are really just getting started,  the US has tended to be a step or two back in adoption, however I’m starting to see a progressive uptake and the gap appears to be closing. It was fascinating seeing the USA attendees gravitate to the Aussies for insights on what the future holds and how to fast track their progression and avoid some of the pitfalls experienced by others with a genuine openness to learn.

3 – Shared Experiences. For some, being in Business can be a lonely experience, but not for the bunch that I got to hang out with this week. The energy and enthusiasm of a collective group permeated the conference. The Aussies, along with some (honorary Aussies) Americans and Canadians arrived early and stayed late (sometimes very late) at the local watering holes, this may have had something to do with the Jetlag/time zone difference thing or just the hot and humid conditions in Boston. In any case some memorable extra-curricular events transpired, included the friendly take-over of the original “Cheers Bar” for a #PreCon session on Monday afternoon and the post conference baseball game at the Iconic Fenway Park or the lobby bar catch up each night at conference hotel. All memorable and entertaining, and part of the full conference touring experience.


One incredible side benefit of getting on a plane and making the trek half way around the world to attend an industry conference is the fabulous friendships you make. Life (like Business) is about relationships and there is no better example of this than the Accounting / Bookkeeping Tech industry, it truly is a global village and becoming more so every day. Whilst some markets may have moved at different rates to others so far, you can feel a convergence of shared experiences which is poised to create a baseline quickly attainable for those yet to enter the arena. I believe we all have a role and responsibility to take what we have learnt, authentically share with others and continue to challenge the status quo and play a role in enabling technology to deliver on a long standing (and possibly overdue) Promise to Keep for our industry and clients.

I look forward to sharing future (local and international) conference experiences with you, as well as welcoming our friends from across the oceans to the future here Down Under (Although I suppose we can only really claim that we’re 17 hours in the future).



PS: Thanks Di Lucas (Direct Managment and Cloud Storm) for organising the official Tour Shirts.



How to Dramatically Boost Your ROI When Attending #QBConnect in Sydney This Week!

QBConnect AU Speakers Include Clayton Oates
The #1 Key to getting a great return on your investment in attending #QBConnect is to make sure you have a conference game plan. Read on to find out how!

After investing more than 70 Days (attending and presenting) at Accounting | Bookkeeping |Technology events (in the USA, Australia & New Zealand) annually for the past 6 years, I have noticed that many conference attendees (sometimes me included) are failing to realise an appropriate return on their significant conference investment.

This is certainly a problem that needs fixing and I have come to the conclusion that the main reason for this it that we are failing to set a “Conference Game Plan” on the way into the event.

Whilst the motivating factors for registering for an event are certainly valid, and include reasons such as;

However there is often a disconnect between the initial motivating factors to commit time and money to attend and the implementation of actionable steps post conference.

The next major event in our industry is set down for May 18th 2017 in Sydney where hundreds of QuickBooks focused ABC’s (Accountants | Bookkeepers | Consultants) along with Small Business Owners and Operators will be attending the Intuit (QuickBooks) flagship event – QBConnect (The first time the event is being held in Australia).

So what are the 3 Simple steps we can take in order to “Set our Game Plan” and dramatically boost our investment return on attending QBConnect ?

Step 1 – Set your Agenda in advance – Now!

If you have registered to attend QBConnect then you would have already received an invitation to build you conference agenda. Take some time to review the details of each session on the agenda and commit to sessions that you believe is what you need to help you move to the next level in your professional and business journey. Be sure to lock in ALL Keynote, Opening and Closing address sessions and of course I would also highly recommend the “App’s Power Panel” session at 2:45pm with Di Lucas, Kane Munro, Wayne Schmidt and Myself as a must see. At each session work on identifying 1 key action point that you can take home and implement, also if the opportunity arises ask questions and of course arrive early and stay late if time permits (you often receive that “Zinger” by listening in on conversions with the presenter beside the stage after the session). Also be sure to download and use the QuickBooks Connect Sydney App, found on iTunes or Google Play this will help you stay organised and focused throughout the event.

Step 2- Identify Partners to build out your “Tech Toolkit”

Take time to carefully review the list of exhibitors attending the event and identify key vendors that you wish to connect with during the event. Familiarise yourself with the Exhibit Hall layout and identify the order in which you are going to approach those key vendors you wish to establish a partnership with. Often the Founders and CEO’s of the vendors attend these events and this is a golden opportunity to discover the real back story as to why the business was established and understanding the need it fills and how you can partner with them to introduce a solution to your firm or client base.

Businesses and their Advisors alike have been in a discovery phase of identifying business processes that can be “Appified” and integrated into the Accounting Engine in order to streamline efficiency and enhance business performance. Whilst this “discovery phase” will always be ongoing I believe it is now time to start to settle on solutions that comprise the core of your business solutions toolkit, not only for your firm but also for your clients – the perfect opportunity to do this is at events like QBConnect.

(Note: It’s important to take time to establish vendor relationships, identify and ask key questions that you need answering prior to committing to partnering with the vendor. Some of the typical questions I ask a vendor in order to determine if they are going to make in into our toolkit can be found at one of our earlier Blog posts

Step 3 – Network with Peers & Industry Thought Leaders

Large scale events such as QBConnect often bring together the Industry Thought Leaders and like-minded peers from around the country (and the world); you just never know who you may be sitting next to. So take this opportunity so say G’day. I have found that ABC’s the world over are very generous of their ideas, experiences and time when it comes to sharing with their peers, particularly in the inspiring and thought provoking environment of a conference. It’s just up to you to simply start the conversation ………….

Bonus Tip – Get Social & Share Your Experiences

Whilst there will be hundreds attending QBConnect, there will be many more thousands watching the event unfold from afar, eager to hear about the insights and inspiration that you have gleaned from the event, so be sure to share your experience. One of the best ways to do this is via Social Media during the event (Twitter / Facebook / Instagram and if you are under 25 no doubt Snapchat will all get a run) be sure to use #QBConnect in your posts and reference the source of your information wherever you can. Take pictures whilst at the event and if you get the chance don’t be afraid to ask your favourite presenters to pose for a “Selfie” with you, I know I will be taking any opportunity to get a pic with some of my heroes in the Accounting | Bookkeeping | Technology professions.

Remember you can continue the conference conversation well after the event. You could compile a LinkedIn or Google+ post or write a Blog article or distribute a newsletter post event sharing your conference experience with your team and clients (during the event be sure to compile a list of the top insights you learnt from each session you attend – this gives you ready made content that you can use for your article).

By following these simple steps I am certain you will amplify the return on your QBConnect  investment, which after all comprised of your hard earned money and more importantly your precious, irreplaceable time so it’s defiantly worth making the most of it.

I look forward to seeing you in Sydney at what promises to be a fantastic event 🙂




A Tribute to Bonnie Nagayama – a True Difference Maker

An incredible lady who is going to be missed around the world.

Bonnie Nagayama and Clayton Oates
Thank you Bonnie for making a significant and positive impact on my life

I first met Bonnie  (and her beautiful family) in 2010 at Pier 39 in San Francisco, in what was (when I now reflect) a “sliding door” moment for myself and my family.

We were on our first overseas trip and Bonnie was the only person I knew of who lived in North America, a connection that started with the subscribing to her QuickBooks Tips & Tricks newsletter many years earlier. Then thanks to Alain Legrand (Legrand CRM) of which Bonnie and I were consultants in (albeit on opposite sides of the world), Alain kindly made an introduction before our trip for us to connect when we were visiting San Francisco. In true Bonnie style she went out of her way to meet us at a crowded Pier 39 one Sunday afternoon in October (10/10/10), also it just happened to be Fleet Week and the crowds were enormous. We arranged to meet out front of Bubba Gump’s.
So here we were, Aussie tourists in a crowd with 5 small children just trying to keep them together looking for a lady and her family that we had never met and trying to remember from online pictures as to what she looked like. Eventually someone heard our Australian accents and approached us and said you’re not Clayton are you? – It was Bonnie!
Our families spent the day together, enjoying the wonder of fleet week celebrations, the Blue Angels flying throughout the city and the bay, chatting about the industry and what got us to this point and where we see it going. There were so many similarities with our past, Accounting Backgrounds, switching out to focus on software solutions and training in the early 1990’s, conference presenting, adopting and recommending Add-Ons including CRM solutions to our clients, helping software vendors in their product development and partnering strategies, the list goes on.
One question I had for Bonnie was “What events do you attend to further your learning around the technology and its application in the Accounting / Bookkeeping world” – her response was an emphatic – “The Sleeter Conference (now called AccountexUSA) and it’s on next month in Las Vegas, you should come to it”. I had heard of Doug Sleeter although didn’t know that there was a conference named after him (I can recall googling “Worlds best QuickBooks consultant” years earlier and Doug’s name appeared in the list so this validation by Bonnie resonated with me). The only challenge was that it had taken me 41 years to make my first overseas trip so I wasn’t quite prepared or committed to take a second within a month. However I promised Bonnie that my wife (Jacinta) and I would be there next year (2011) which we did (and every year since). This is where my connection and affinity with North America began (with now over 20 trips in 6 years), attending, learning and presenting at conferences, a special friendship with Doug and Sherrill Sleeter and hundreds of fabulous friends all began, with Bonnie, taking the time to connect with some random ex-accountant/ software consultant from the other side of the world.
Thank you Bonnie, your calm, considered “Going placidly about what you do amidst the noise of our world” approach to life is a reminder to us all that whilst we often can’t choose what happens to us we can choose how we shall respond.
My prayers and thoughts go out to Ed, Nicole and Justin and all of Bonnie’s family and friends, may you have some comfort in knowing that Bonnie has made a significant positive difference in the lives of others and I’m certainly proof of that.
Clayton Oates
QA Business