#QBConnect 2016: takeaways, actions & memorable quotes

QuickBooks Connect 2016 was a mind-blowing event. If you couldn't make it, or did attend and want a reminder of all that happened, here are the key takeaways, actions, and most memorable quotes.

With three jam-packed days offering inspiration, tools, and advice to accountants and bookkeepers, we identified three key themes across the keynotes, panels and breakout sessions:

  • The future is here

  • Building relationships and becoming a successful firm won’t happen overnight—it takes time and hard work

  • Use technology to your advantage

     

    https://youtu.be/_kPn9yEoLN8

Keynote: Jim McGinnis

One takeaway

Technology is moving along very quickly, and so is the impact it’s having in our lives. And this is driving the industry’s transformation through cloud, data, mobile and social.  

One action item

Start the journey to becoming a Firm of the Future today. 78% of small businesses will be fully online by 2020, and the cloud represents freedom not only for you, but most importantly, for your clients.

Intuit is working hard to become an enabler for accountants to move to the cloud, get paid for the work you are doing, and seize the marketing opportunities that social media presents.

With social media, we don’t own our relationships, we are constantly curating them.
Jim McGinnis

One of our top priorities is matchmaking #accounting pros with #smallbiz to form even more connections in the coming months #QBConnect pic.twitter.com/I4ps8fsmjz — Intuit Accountants (@IntuitAccts) October 24, 2016

Keynote: Rich Preece 

One takeaway

There are many similarities between accountants around the world: you want tools that help you save time, drive efficiency and grow your practice.

One action item

Join the improved Intuit Quickbooks ProAdvisor Program and ensure that your ideal small business clients will be able to find you.

There are many similarities between accountants around the world: they want tools that help them save time, drive efficiency and grow their practice.
Rich Preece
Karine from 24hr Bookkeeper

Firm of the Future winner: Karine from 24hr Bookkeeper

One takeaway

Choosing the right clients is the key to success.

One action item

Go cloud, yesterday. Your clients won’t do it if you don’t. Systemize the things you do, start incorporating cloud apps to your practice, it all starts right there.

I cannot do a good job unless my clients are also engaged and willing to the job. Even though it's beneficial for you [to move them to the cloud] you have to make it about them and the benefit for them.
Karine Woodman
Breakout: Be a green apple — John Garrett

Breakout: Be a green apple — John Garrett

One takeaway

There are two ways to be a green apple: either be the best or stand out.

What if being the best accountant isn't about being the best in accounting? What if it's about being engaged and authentic?

One action item

In order to develop trust and flourish, you must be authentic.

Show a genuine interest in every individual. Hobbies and passions exist regardless of your job, so get to know your clients genuinely.

Don't let professionalism suffocate your personality. We're all green apples with a red apple veneer. The biggest barrier to overcome is yourself.
John Garrett
The journey to the swans — Ron Baker

Breakout: The journey to the swans — Ron Baker

One takeaway

Value is not a number, it’s a feeling. Demand comes from value, not the other way around.

With value pricing, you've guaranteed the outcome, not the amount of work, and in the end, that is what the client cares about.

One action item

Take the time to consider how much each one of your clients values the services you provide. You don’t have to put pricing on your website, you need to have the value conversation with every one of your clients.

Timesheets don’t control cost, they allocate cost. Billing through timesheets is like timing your cookies with your smoke alarm: it's after the fact.
Ron Baker
Building your brand vs selling your services — Jason Deshayes

Breakout: Building your brand vs selling your services — Jason Deshayes

One takeaway

An accountant is like a farmer: you work the land (your current base) and cultivate new clients and relationships. You'll grow your business more than the person just passing out business cards if you put in the time and effort.

One action item

Understand who your ideal client is—to work the land you must do an internal client assessment to focus your efforts. Who are your best clients? What is the makeup of your client base? Who is referring clients to you? Do you have a niche?

People trust and do business with other people, not with firms.
Jason Deshayes
https://youtu.be/0K08QFxo4Uw?list=PLlKTSof7r7zh3WDETkM2NLx3cO_VlN4aJ

Breakout: Pricing secrets—the 7-step formula to get a better price in the cloud — Mark Wickersham 

One takeaway

Build a pricing system: you have so many systems and processes, like onboarding or tax filing, but you have no pricing system. This is madness! 

Mark shared his seven steps, but that is a whole separate blogpost! 

One action item

Create three pricing plans, knowing that the middle one is usually the popular one (the “safest” one) and make that one your cornerstone. When the client is in control of the process (they are picking the plan) they spend more money.

Never underestimate what your clients are willing to pay.
Mark Wickersham

"89% of small businesses are more successful when they work with an accountant." CEO of Intuit @IntuitBrad #qbconnect pic.twitter.com/qN2330ydHA — Intuit QuickBooks (@QuickBooks) October 25, 2016

Keynote: Brad Smith, Derreck Kayongo & Sasan Goodarzi 

One takeaway

Technology is changing everything: the way we interact, the industry and the way the world works. We need to embrace this change and use these advancements to improve our world. As time goes by, technology will become smarter and anticipate needs, workflows will become more streamlined, and more time will be saved for you and your clients. 

With the advancements in technology and the world becoming more connected, accountants are in a unique position to make the world a better place: you have the knowledge to help businesses that will change the world.

One action 

Don't be afraid of technology, embrace it. Get off desktop and get to the cloud. Intuit is innovating for you (there were numerous time-saving product announcements), so use these tools to save time and grow your practice.

Accountants are making the entrepreneurial dream a reality and therefore are making the world a better place.
Brad Smith

Having a great website is one of the most important parts of your marketing strategy as an accountant. #qbconnect #QBFirmOfTheFuture pic.twitter.com/nf2RNeQoKI — Karbon (@karbonhq) October 25, 2016

Breakout: How to get your marketing groove on — Vanessa McGrady

One takeaway

Marketing via social media will get you amazing returns, but you have to be sure to put forth the best (and most trustworthy) version of you. Social is the best way to build your brand and get your name out there. You will not have to hunt down clients anymore, they will come to you.

One action

Develop a marketing strategy—emails, content, social. This isn't a short-term game, but a long-tail plan to grow your firm.

Get other people to be your ambassadors and do your marketing for you.
Vanessa McGrady
Influence—the currency for accountants and bookkeepers — Clayton Oates

Breakout: Influence—the currency for accountants and bookkeepers — Clayton Oates 

One takeaway

Help your clients achieve their goals: when they win, you win, because you'll gain trust and influence. But be careful—ego is the enemy of influence. Don't help people to boost your ego, do it for them. People know when you are not being genuine.

One action

Get on social media sites, wherever your clients are, and monitor what your clients are saying about you. Then start sharing thoughts, participating in conversations and asserting your view, one post at a time.

Accountants are more influential than they think they are.
Clayton Oates
https://youtu.be/U9uCK4Q7byc?list=PLlKTSof7r7zh3WDETkM2NLx3cO_VlN4aJ

Panel: The playbook for building a successful niche practice — Gita Faust, Mariette Martinez, Jamie Shulman, Jeff Wilson

One takeaway

If your firm is focused on a niche, you can specialize in that field and be more knowledgeable. You can truly understand your clients needs based on what is going on in that vertical and ask them questions before they have them.

One action

Evaluate your clients and understand whether there’s a particular niche you service. What you think is your specialty might actually not be reflected in your clients and the work your firm actually does.

Be a solution expert
Mariette Martinez
America Ferrera, Malcolm Gladwell, Scott Cook, Sekou Andrews, Michael Phelps

Keynote: America Ferrera, Malcolm Gladwell, Scott Cook, Sekou Andrews, Michael Phelps 

One takeaway

To succeed you need to step outside your comfort zone and take a risk. It's very scary to step off that ledge and know that you are just as likely to fall as you are to fly, but you won’t know until you try. You should not be afraid of failure, fear should not deter you from trying new things. It takes time and courage, but in the end, it will pay off.

@AmericaFerrera "You are always modeling possibility for someone else". Damn that is good. Thank you #qbconnect

— Jim McGinnis (@jim_mcginnis) October 25, 2016

One action

The most important thing that you can do is to try something new and set yourself apart from the competition. You are unique and there is no one like you. No one has lived your life and your experiences, so capitalize on this to set yourself apart and attract your ideal clients.

The path to getting good takes a while and requires commitment.
Malcolm Gladwell
Get out of email jail — Ian Vacin

Breakout: Get out of email jail — Ian Vacin

One takeaway

Email is a vacuum that sucks up all your time and, as accountants, time is money. Email is disruptive—don’t let it be.

One action 

Don’t read email, action it. Set aside time each day to focus on email and action it so that you can get on with your day and do work with your clients.

Email, and proper email behavior, can unlock an extra 12 hours a week for efficient firms.
Ian Vacin
Jillian Michaels, Tony Hawk, Christian Siriano

Keynote: Jillian Michaels, Tony Hawk, Christian Siriano

One takeaway

Accountants, good accountants, are crucial to the success of a business. You can help entrepreneurs shoot for the stars and make their dream a reality, ensuring they understand the risks and have all their numbers “playing in their favor.” You have the tools and influence to do this.

One action

Never give up, even if your client gets angry or frustrated. Tackle the challenge, change the way you say it, but be there for them and help them succeed.

The sky is the limit when you surround yourself with the right people. And the "right people" starts with the right accountant.
Jillian Michaels
CeCe Morken & Mike Michalowicz

Keynote: CeCe Morken & Mike Michalowicz

One takeaway

You can get more clients by standing out—so it's so important to be different from your competition. Don’t present the perfect image, tell your customers that you've tried, failed, pushed the limits and succeeded in helping people.

One action

Get creative and think of a new term to describe yourself beyond accountant or bookkeeper that describes what you do for your clients. Be a profit advisor or another term to describe your focus and mission.

Clients don’t notice better, they notice different. You need to be different to catch their attention and better than the competition to keep them.
Mike Michalowicz
https://youtu.be/SF1O4435UOM?list=PLlKTSof7r7zh3WDETkM2NLx3cO_VlN4aJ

Panel: Appasaurus Rex—how to choose the right app — David Leary, Richard Roppa, Seth David, Jeremy Allen 

One takeaway 

Whatever apps you use, you need to learn inside out so that you can better service your clients. Don't just learn what you think you need to know yourself, learn enough so that you can be the expert for your clients.

One action 

Pick three apps that either relate to your firm’s niche or could help your own practice, and trial them. Use them and engage with them during the next quarter.

The right app for today may not be the right app tomorrow.
David Leary
Shaquille O'Neal

Keynote — Shaquille O'Neal

One takeaway 

It's all about relationships, which is why you shouldn't only focus on the money aspect of your work. Utilize your teammates who are smarter and better than you, and together, invest in changing people's lives. 

One action

Talk to a stranger for five minutes. Not only will you find something in common, but if everyone makes an effort to do this, we can make the world a better place.

The people you step on to get to the top are the people you will see when you fall.
Shaq
Sekou Andrews

Keynote — Sekou Andrews

One takeaway 

You need to tell a story—this is how you will get clients, and how they will remember you. Don’t just throw numbers and data at them, bury that in a story that elicits emotion from them. They will remember this and this will set you miles ahead of the competition.

One action

Learn to be a good storyteller.

Your unique story is what sets you apart, and your story is only as great as your ability to tell it.
Sekou Andrews

With Ian behind Jo & Andi signing autographs, this is Karbon's #qbconnect signoff. We loved seeing you all, thank you for 3 incredible days! pic.twitter.com/ESKbqEf4qP — Karbon (@karbonhq) October 27, 2016

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