Accountex 2018: the best bits

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Jon Oakley and Phil Hobden from the Futrli sales team stand next to Futrli Founder & CEO Hannah Dawson at Accountex London.

If you’re one of the hoards of accountants who flocked to the UK’s flagship event Accountex, in London’s Docklands each year, you’ll know that the event is a big deal for attendees and exhibitors alike. We met and heard from the movers and shakers of the industry, and learnt of the latest battles.

Those of us who are busy transforming the industry for the 21st century come to use it as a stage for showing off new things, telling stories and educating the next big-thinkers of the accountancy world.

For us, this year was no exception. We launched a new look. The Futrli Advisory Theatre came back, bigger and better with a stellar lineup of respected industry figures. Our stand and theatre were awash with eager accountants looking for top tips from the pros of the advisory world, sampling the odd Futrli sweet or G&T on the way.
It was great. Exhausting. Buzz-making.

Now back to the real world – amidst catching up our inboxes and sending out a bottle of Brighton Gin to the winners of our Accountex competition – we’re reflecting on who we met, what people said and what the show’s key takeaways were…

Day 1 – Wednesday

At the Futrli Advisory Theatre, the first question of the day was, ‘is advisory the future or just hype?’ Our panel of industry-leaders debated and covered some of the most-asked questions about advisory services. Much of the shift is about working out how to pair the existing with new tech. As our Founder & CEO, Hannah Dawson put it,

Advisory services are not new, but tech is making a big difference in what we can offer our clients.

Deborah Whitaker from Not Just Numbers took the stage next. She made a great comparison –

Traditional accountancy is like buying a newspaper to find out what happened yesterday.

There are a wealth of applications to bring your clients’ data into real-time now, so it’s essentially looking backwards if you’re not a cloud-enabled firm.

As ever, Paul Shrimpling from Remarkable Practice drew a large crowd. This session shared the essential skills for growing a business advisory accounting firm. Helping accountants see and think about their work differently, and how to get teams engaged and excited for a change in focus:

The mind is not static, it can be cultivated. Your firm and the people who work for you can change.

Rounding off day one, our Founder & CEO Hannah took audiences through Futrli’s roadmap for the next 12 months. Audiences were kept hydrated with Futrli gin and tonics, with the option for beers or soft drinks too. The atmosphere at the end of the first day was fantastic, and we thank everyone who stopped by to say hello, hear a talk and grabbed some of our swag.

Day 2 – Thursday

Day two started with another debate – this time discussing which technology solutions are making the biggest impact on the industry.

Software is great. Launch is obvious. But what about the onboarding, the follow-up and the client relationship management?

Futrli CEO, Hannah Dawson, was joined by Hubdoc’s Max Marcus, BlueHub’s Matt Flanagan and Menzies LLP’s Simon Armstrong for this debate, which saw insight from varied career backgrounds and differing preferences for software.

Taking the crowd on a journey of self-reflection, Martin Bissett from The Upward Spiral Partnership discussed how the role of accountants is changing. Emphasis was put on how new practices can be planned and scaled successfully.

Matt Flanagan from BlueHub asked the big question: ‘how MTD ready are you?’ A topic that impacts everyone in the industry, hearing the tips and tricks from this expert was truly insightful. Always a popular face at industry events, Matt’s presentation was interesting and well received.

Accountex came to a close, and we were all ready to celebrate to the success of the last two days. We’d like to thank everyone who came to our stand and to the Futrli Advisory Theatre over the two days of Accountex. A special thanks go to all of our speakers, too. See you next year!

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