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.


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