Most conferences focus on just one technology but Solutions14 brings together a vast array of technologies (many of which are competitors), so you can get educated about each of them and then evaluate and make informed decisions for yourself about those technologies that are going to be right for you, your firm, and your clients. "Solutions14 is really unique because we bring in the total spectrum of what makes small businesses and accounting professionals successful," said conference founder Doug Sleeter. "Instead of just covering what is hot now, we forecast where the industry is headed, thus enabling our attendees to anticipate what’s coming and plot their strategies to maximize their firm’s value."
Solutions14 allows you to discuss and perhaps even ‘debate’ with product experts and their staff. You can learn tips, tricks and best practices for QuickBooks, Sage, Xero, and many other applications. You can bet that Doug Sleeter’s concept of “Chunkification”, he coined a few years ago, will be discussed in keynote addresses, small group sessions, workshops and on the exhibit floor by those who are proponents of integrated business processes, zero data entry and collaborative accounting.
Solutions14 is also about ‘what is on the horizon and beyond.’ Many of these concepts will be voiced during the various keynote addresses, so let’s look at just a few details from those keynotes.
- What is your value - Business success is founded in the word Value. Today, technology is driving incredible new opportunities for accountants to pivot to new business models, and finally deliver the types of services SMBs want from us. But no matter what model you choose, your main focus should be on creating and enhancing value. In his opening keynote address, Doug Sleeter will discuss how everyone in business must create value, and why your focus must always be on creating value for your clients, your firm, and ultimately for yourself.
- Building Sustainable Success - If you are struggling year after year or just tired of barely "satisfactory" results in your business you are probably attending Solutions14 to learn how to accomplish more? In this keynote, Susan Solovic will challenge you to transform the way you're doing business so you can soar to success. She'll help you define simple tweaks in your business strategy can break through the competition clutter. Learn how to add value that will give clients a reason to change their habits and do business with you. You will walk away from this keynote inspired, informed, energized and fully ready to put into action a plan that will propel your business to new heights.
- Using Psychology Principles to Build your Business -You are not crazy and neither are your clients – or at least most of them aren’t. But you can use psychological principles to better understand the needs of your clients and help them understand their need for your services. Leslie Shiner will explore concepts such as perception, cognition; attention and motivation that can help you build your business as well as find ways to improve interpersonal relationships to improve your own profits.
- How Communication can raise your Value - You are at the top of your game. Your technical skills have been honed to perfection. But are you getting paid what you are worth for the services you deliver? It all comes down to sharing information in a way that your clients can understand. Attend this session to learn communication tips, tricks and tools that can take you from nerdy technician to rock star business advisor.
- Technology Futures 2014 - Rick Richardson began providing CPAs with his technology futures forecast in 1981 and this year will mark an unbroken string of 34 years of predicting our technology future. Rick will provide attendees with his vision of both the short and longer-term future for technology, including technologies important to the accounting professional. Topics will include a review of prior-year predictions, what major-market companies are doing and how their actions will affect all of us, current trends in hardware, software, and communications, as well as emerging technologies that will bring those trends into reality. Rick will conclude with his personal forecasts on our technology future. Look for Rick to bring some of the latest technologies with him to share with participants.
- Tech Update with Randy Johnston - What are the most effective technologies, which ones are strategic, and which ones are toys? This update on technology will guide your thinking in this year and beyond. Learn the latest hardware, software, and techniques to improve productivity using technology. Regardless of your position, this update on “all things tech” will help you to capitalize on trends in 2014 and beyond.
In addition, many of the major sponsors will be giving their product related forecasts, as well as their outlook on the industry as a whole, and specific to their own businesses. "At Solutions14, we offer continuing education and deep-dive sessions on proven solutions, but we also include sessions on new technologies that are disrupting traditional business practices," said conference founder Doug Sleeter.
I have already covered most of the educational sessions in my favorite picks article, and vendor sponsored product solution sessions, so let me close with just a few points. Building new and expanding on existing, relationships is fundamental to a meaningful conference for everyone in attendance. At Solutions14 you can spend quality time with your peers, with experts, and noted personalities in a wide range of topics. Discuss how you do what you do, how others are doing it, and how others are recommending it be done, as well as solutions that may simplify the how and what for you.
Solutions14 is designed for accounting professionals who provide software and hardware consulting service for small- to medium-sized businesses. At this conference you will learn better ways to leverage the software you already use and discover new technologies to help you collaborate more efficiently with your clients. By attending, you’ll be able to:
- Network with hundreds of your colleagues as well as members of the technology “brain trust” the conference has recruited as presenters
- Visit with a wide range of solution developers for you and your clients
- Participate in peer-to-peer discussion sessions and workshops
- Learn business development tips for growing your practice, and practice management ideas for becoming more efficient and productive
- Attend dozens of CPE-eligible training sessions
Of course there will be a lot of fun events, like receptions, banquets, awards presentations, and mixers sponsored by vendors. I have already mentioned in my four prior articles all the swag, give away and raffle items that are ‘on taps’ at Solutions14, so it isn’t ‘my fault’ if you don’t reap the rewards of attendance.
I look forward to seeing you at Solution14 next week. (Murph)
Editor's note and disclosure: Thanks to the Sleeter Group for materials and quotes used in the composition of these articles, as well in providing press passes to the conference for myself and Gary DeHart, Intuitive Accountant's publisher.