It has been since 2019 that Quickbooks has done an in-person event. I have attended for many years and have gained so much information that made me think differently. I remember the first year my business partner and I went to Quickbooks Connect in 2015. It was so overwhelming! We had no idea what we were in for. We had never been to an event like it. We attended every year after that, and when they had other live events - and made some amazing connections. As I write this article, I cannot help thinking back to that first event in 2015, and I can still feel some of the overwhelming feelings I felt back then.
I had just taken over my mom’s bookkeeping business and was working all the time. I knew there had to be a better way, so I came across a Quickbooks advertisement talking about Quickbooks Connect. We decided to give it a try but did not realize at the time that it would be the turning point in our business. The reason that we felt it was a turning point was that it opened our eyes to what was possible.
I had been trained in the traditional public accounting model, and I just did not like it. I wanted something different, and my clients wanted something different. They didn’t want after-the-fact bookkeeping and advice. They wanted real and present proactive advice. I didn’t know it was possible at the time because, remember, this was in 2015. Now apps are all over the place, but it still applies even today. There are new ways to do things and the apps are really developing.
As I was thinking back to this time, I realized that there would be many first-time attendees there and may need some advice in conquering Quickbooks Connect. To say it is overwhelming is an understatement. Having also been to Scaling New Heights for many years as well, I still believe Quickbooks Connect is the most overwhelming conference I have ever been to. There are so many different sessions and technology vendors. It is easy to get overwhelmed and come home and go right back to where you were. To gain the most experience and have that life-altering experience that I talked about, follow some of these four tips!
1. Be Present
When you are at the conference, really be at the conference. We are all busy and have businesses to run, but you came to this conference for a reason. To gain knowledge and hopefully make connections with other peers. Throughout the conference, I see many people working on their computers, tablets, and phones. That can wait! You invested a lot of money and time to come to the conference to get the most you can out of it.
Yes, I am telling you that it can wait! There are no true accounting emergencies. Turn your out-of-office responder on and let it go. If a client calls you, ask them if you can handle it when you return, or better yet, let it go to voicemail if possible. Most of the time, we feel we have to answer right now, and the fact of the matter is that you do not. This is in your head. Now don’t get me wrong, there could be a payroll emergency, but that is different. Handle it and show back up. Don’t plan on this to be a laid-back conference where you can get some work done. There is no time for that.
2. Have a Plan Before You Come
The first year I attended QuickBooks Connect, I did not have a plan because I had no idea what to expect. I literally just figured it out as I went and I would not advise that. Figure out the 3 biggest things you want to learn and stick to them. Don’t get distracted by shiny objects! If you are looking for a payroll system, then go to those vendors first and foremost. This is the best place to see demos of products in a fast-paced environment, so you are not stuck on a Zoom call for an hour. Have a plan of what technology you want to bring in. I know we all love a good new piece of technology but be realistic about what it is that you need. It is so easy to sign up for all the “things,” but sometimes they don’t actually accomplish anything!
3. Create an implementation plan for when you get home
Before leaving the conference, plan out the top 3 things you want to implement in your business when you return. This will keep you from overwhelming yourself and your time if you have one. There is nothing a team hates than you returning with 50 new ideas to implement now! Let’s face it; if you try to implement everything at once, you end up implementing nothing.
Make an implementation plan of the top 3 things, then a list of the next 3 things you'll tackle after those are done. If you have a plan before you leave, you are more likely to get it done. If you wait until you get home, you can get sidetracked by all the other “things'' going on in your business and life. Having a well-thought-out implementation plan before leaving will help you actually put what you learned into action.
4. Focus on making new friends
I have made some of the best connections at Quickbooks Connect that I still talk to today. Use this time to pick people’s brains. The accounting community is one of the most giving communities I have ever seen. You can just ask someone a question, and most of the time, people will tell you how they address it. When you are sitting next to someone, introduce yourself and have a conversation. Eat lunch with someone and find out about them. I have found people that I can refer work to in niches that I don’t do the work for. They have also referred work to me.
Bottom line, you will get what you put into Quickbooks Connect! If you show up and be present, you will get so much out of it! As I said before, the first Quickbooks Connect that I went to really did change my life and firm. I saw a completely different side of the traditional accounting model that I still use today.