It's that time of year: when we ponder whether we’ll get a ‘proper’ summer, and the major accounting conferences begin.
First-off, it was wonderful celebrating 20 years of AdvanceTrack. This year, the AdvanceTrack Conference was held in the magnificent British Museum (where we’ll be heading for in our 21 st year too).
“It was about the future of your firm, your people and your clients,” explains AdvanceTrack MD Vipul Sheth. That’s the message we wanted to get out there. “Working alongside you, we’ll help you navigate those three pillars. “The reason we do these events is around culture and people, all of those things – not six hours of technical updates,” explains Vipul.
“While our processes, technology and security are fundamental from an operational point of view, the relationships we build with clients must be as good as the relationships our clients build with their clients. We are people-centric and well-organised, and that is mirrored in the practices we work with.
“People buy from people; and people keep coming back if you demonstrate that human piece. If you don’t, then they don’t come back.”
Xero’s Jamie Eddy spoke of a three-pronged set of challenges and opportunities that practices must understand and leverage, namely: your reputation; managing your talent; and, therefore, your capacity to undertake work.
Our newly-appointed sales director Dermot Hamblin covered a range of topics, from how to manage change in your practice, through to new developments in the world of business and accounting Technology.
Brian Coventry from Cloudcapcha spoke about the importance of differentiating your practice from others, and capturing data from your clients allows you to offer a unique service.
It was, by all accounts, a record-breaking show – certainly in terms of attendees. Of the show itself – the big players put in a lot of effort into their stands and presentations. In fact, there were presentations across 13 stands for the whole of the two days.
While there was an element of a post-MTD lull, in that there were few big product announcements, it was noticeable how busy the aforementioned stages were. People were hungry for information. And this information wasn’t specifically ‘post-MTD’; instead, there was a range of strategic and operationally-themed sessions.
I was delighted to serve as a panelist on the ‘Are outsourcing and offshoring the solutions to the recruitment crisis?’ session.
Ironically, some of the outsourcing session covered MTD’s impact on changing the way practices work with their clients, particularly around the increasing amount of bookkeeping that firms’ clients require. Advocate practitioners on the panel spoke of being unable to manage their workload with outsourcing support.
First stop in Oz…
What is your practice’s purpose? You might say ‘it’s to create tax returns and accounts’. You could go bigger, bolder and broader: ‘To be the best accountancy firm in the world.’
I went to Australia in April with a couple of tasks to undertake. Firstly, to help develop our standing; secondly, to attend the Clarity/Smithink/AdvanceTrack-sponsored ‘Accountants Re:Bootcamp’.
The bootcamp saw some 50 accountants gathered, across three days, to really question their approach to what their firm does. It made the practice leaders delve into the fundamentals of what the practice is there for, and why – while challenging them to understand and prioritise what they need to change in terms of maintaining or improving its success.
And, to go through this process, the first thing that is broached is: ‘what’s your firm’s purpose?’
From my experience in both working in practice, and alongside them as AdvanceTrack’s clients, I think many accountants struggle to nail down what their purpose is. A large proportion of them complete higher education and choose accountancy as a ‘good payer and solid career’. A vocation…? It is often not.
Some of the most successful accountants I (and AdvanceTrack) have worked with have an entrepreneurial background – in terms of parents and close family members. This drive and mission-focused mindset is supported by the financial and technical expertise they learn.
Making sure that tax returns and accounts are calculated correctly is very important. But, ultimately, practices end-clients see greater value from being supported in their various missions and ambitions.
Second trip around the corner… Xerocon!
AdvanceTrack is heading back to Australia - for Xerocon Sydney 2023. We are delighted to be an exhibitor for Xerocon Sydney, which is on 23-24 August at the ICC Sydney, Darling Harbour. If you’d like to catch up at the event then please pop by – and if you’d prefer to schedule a chat then contact Vipul at email@example.com.
MEET DERMOT HAMBLIN
We catch up with AdvanceTrack’s new sales director Dermot Hamblin, and discuss his current role, along with his storied background in accountancy and tech.
What is your current role and responsibilities?
I’m the new sales director – AdvanceTrack MD Vipul Sheth and I have known each other for a long time. Vipul has high values and lives by them, which I support.
He’s asked me to help continue AdvanceTrack’s growth. I’ve always had a passion to ensure that existing clients are well looked after, so I’m not just here to win new work. The opportunity in this sector is great, and I want to play a positive part in the AdvanceTrack team.
What is the future for you and AdvanceTrack?
Accountants want someone who tells it to them straight: no crazy demos. I’ll speak sensibly with them and discuss the business case. We want to make accountancy practices greater than they already are. Firms are realising that outsourcing and offshoring are viable options to enable them to be more productive, flexible, and to scale up.
I also see geographies that AdvanceTrack can expand into, as well as a broadening of its services - it’s a very exciting time. I’m really excited by our audit offering.
How can accountants contact you?
I can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’d welcome the opportunity to chat with either potential or existing clients.