The world of accounting and finance is facing some pretty daunting questions right now…

  • Will robots/artificial intelligence steal all the jobs?
  • What does the new workforce (that’s millennials/Generations X,Y and Z!) really want from the profession?
  • Will all the people like MTD all of the time? Sorry, let’s make that, “Will some of the people like MTD some of the time?”
  • Is everyone going to be self-employed come 2025 and what does that actually mean?

These are just some of the issues keeping the sector awake at night. And this is where Accountex is on hand to provide some important answers.

Increased numbers

Judging by the increased numbers attending the No.1 expo for accounting and finance in 2019, I’m not the only one arriving at that conclusion.

A record 9,063 went to the event at London ExCeL on 1-2 May, an 18% hike on 2018.

The figures, cement the show’s position as the annual meeting point for the sector. 

And there was a real buzz about the place this year.

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Seminar sessions

Answers to the all above questions were found at the 200-plus seminar sessions. 

Visitors enjoyed getting the lowdown on the big issues and more – from the latest accounting software for making tax digital to Generation X blockchain technology and future-proofing cashflow forecasting tools.

Some of the more, shall we say, cynical members of the accounting world seem to reckon Accountex is just a trade show.

Toughest part

Well I’m going to stick my neck out and say it’s a lot more than that. For starters I helped event portfolio director Zoe Lacey-Cooper assemble the talented speaker programme for this year’s event.

It was not an easy job. And not because we were battling to find speakers to fill the programme.

The toughest part was telling candidates they hadn’t been accepted because, unfortunately, we couldn’t accommodate all the people who applied. People both need and want to be at Accountex.

A fantastic experience

Here’s a flavour of what the profession thought of the expo:

“Accountex 2019 was a whirlwind of an event.  It really was the best way to get to grips with the trends happening in the accounting industry and to network with software providers and fellow accounting firms.  A fantastic experience,” says Sasha Hoey, national marketing boss UHY Hacker Young.

“Accountex provides the impetus, inspiration and fresh ingenuity to continue to drive forward the business year after year,” adds Douglas Quinton, director of Quinton.

“A must-see event for any serious,” says Stephen Quay, senior partner at Stephen Quay Accountancy.

Ultimate event

“This was the ultimate event for anything and everything to do with accounting and taxation.  I was going to attend for an hour or two but ended up going on both days.  Would have returned for a third,” says Phoenix Debola, accountant at Phoenix Debola practice.

“Every seminar I attended gave me new insights into how the accountancy and finance profession is evolving and how I can grow professionally with these developments,” says Lola de-Lima, director of LCA Book-keeping.

Feedback from exhibitors

The feedback from exhibitors was equally positive. The proof of the pudding: nearly 65% of exhibitors have already rebooked stands for 2020, with big names such as Xero, Sage, Intuit QuickBooks, TaxCalc, Futrli, Receipt Bank, FreeAgent, Silverfin, Thomson Reuters and Wolters Kluwer among them.

“I've travelled the world exhibiting at accounting conferences and Accountex London is one of the best I've seen.  A balance of quality attendees and great content has made Accountex a staple in our event marketing calendar,” says Trent McLaren, head of accounting at Practice Ignition.

Surpassed all expectations

I’ll let event director Zoe have the final word: “The bustling aisles and energetic mood of the exhibition hall didn’t subside once. The scorching success of the event is a true testament to the passion and enthusiasm of this thriving industry and the individuals in it… and we’re delighted to be a part of it.

“Topping this year’s phenomenal show will be tough, but I’m confident we’re up to the challenge,” says Zoe.  “We’re already discussing lots of ideas about how we can make Accountex 2020 measure up to and surpass this year’s event.”

Next year’s Accountex is at London ExCeL on May 13-14. Be there…  But, in the meantime, why not check out Accountex Summit North at Manchester Central on September 10?

By Ian Moss, Editor, Accounting Insight News