Accounting Conferences

Accounting Conferences

There may be errors in spelling, grammar, and accuracy in this machine-generated transcript.

Hector Garcia: Welcome to the unofficial QuickBooks accountants podcast. I am joined by my good friend Alicia Katz Pollock, the original, the one and only Qbo Rockstar CEO and founder of Royal White Solutions.

Alicia Katz Pollock: And I have the privilege of collaborating with Hector Garcia, CPA, the founder of Right Tool for QuickBooks.

Hector Garcia: In this episode, we're going to talk about accounting conferences, [00:00:30] continued professional education, or CPE, and the existential introspection from paradigm shifting epiphany that arose during a deep philosophical discussion with a colleague, admittedly influenced by the presence of libations. Alicia, which topic would you like to cover first?

Alicia Katz Pollock: Um, I don't know if we should tackle that last one first or save it for the end.

Hector Garcia: Maybe the end.

Alicia Katz Pollock: Let's save it for the end. But oh my God, [00:01:00] you've got me intrigued.

Hector Garcia: Okay.

Alicia Katz Pollock: Okay.

Hector Garcia: So accounting conferences. All right. So let's let's do a quick run through of all the conferences that are coming up. So this is being recorded in June. So we're going to talk about June through December. There's probably a hundred accounting conferences that we could mention, but we're only going to mention the ones that we have some proximity to, maybe one that Alicia and I are both going to, or I'm going or she's going, or a close business associate is going, or we have [00:01:30] gone in the past and we have something to say about that. So in all fairness, for everybody that's saying, Hector, you forgot XYZ conference. It's like, okay, you know, I can't we can't cover them all. So let's go through them really quick. So we're going to have scaling new heights coming up in Orlando June 2024, probably one of the most significant conferences for people that listen to this podcast. The next one is going to be BC in Orlando late June. I'm actually not going to that. Alicia's not going [00:02:00] to that. Neither one of us have ever been there. But my partner Mark, the co-founder of Right Tool, went last year, actually went three years ago, went last year, had a booth is going this year, has a booth and he's got some comments about that. So I'd like to bring those up into the open as well. Then we're going to have bridging the gap in Chicago in July where both going to be there.

Hector Garcia: Then I want to give a quick shout out. This is a small mini niche conference to our friend Vanessa Vazquez, who has [00:02:30] a conference in Fort Lauderdale called Conferencia Fit, or Conferencia Fit, which is a Spanish conference for accounting pros and tax pros. And she wants to expose some of these amazing things that we learn from these conferences in a language that folks where Spanish as their first language. So I, I love that she's doing that and, and and I support her 100% of that. So I wanted to mention that one too. Then we have [00:03:00] another sort of mini conference which is called Reframe slash Meta Consulting Academy. I will talk about that. Then we have a big conference called the USA Tax Convention, which started as a Spanish only conference, Miami Tax Con. And now they have expanded to a more broad audience. They do tracks in Spanish and English. They have over a thousand people show up. Carlos Ramirez, the person that runs this, is a good friend. I [00:03:30] taught at the conference before. I want to give them a shout out too. Then we're going to talk about AP camp, which this year is in Arizona. I did not go there last year. Alicia has. I am not going this year. Alicia will. So that will be her segment.

Hector Garcia: Uh, then we're going to talk about reframe my conference in Hollywood, Florida in October of 2024. Then we're going to talk about QuickBooks connect. Oh no, wait a minute. That's a mistake. There's no such thing as QuickBooks [00:04:00] connect. It's now Intuit Connect. And we might go do a mini rant about the name change. That's always fun to do. That's in Las Vegas, uh, late October 2024. And because I wanted to include something from November, on December, I'll briefly talk about digital CPA in Denver. I went to digital CPA in Orlando like ten years ago. And I'd like to give you a quick rundown of what that is. Now, uh, our friend @BlakeTOliver and David Leary went to, [00:04:30] uh, AICPA Engage in Las Vegas, but they didn't go to the conference conference. They went to the shadow conference. So I'd like to talk about what that means. And it's also worth mentioning that the IRS has conferences. They travel all over the United States. They have conferences in Chicago, Orlando, Baltimore, Dallas, San Diego. This year, if you want to go to a conference that is super Uber boring, go to the IRS tax form. But it's got tax education. So, Alicia, maybe [00:05:00] walk us through the conferences that you have already gone to this year, but give us an idea of what you've done and what you learned from that.

Alicia Katz Pollock: Yeah. My conference season started in May, and I started out with two that you didn't actually mention. One was the BDO Alliance Evolve conference, which is specific to members of the BDO Alliance and the Resource network there. Burns and I just came. Back from AGN international, which is an international accounting [00:05:30] firm. Organizations very, very small. But it was a really great experience. So I just literally got back from Nashville yesterday. And so the BDO Alliance was well, so far my favorite conference this year, even if it was the first one. But it was a really great experience that the BDO Alliance is an offshoot of BDO, the firm not specifically related, and they have a group of firms that kind of the idea is [00:06:00] that you cross refer to each other and you use each other as resources, and they the organization itself throughout the year has roundtables and resources, and they make strategic alliances with different, different providers. So Royal wise literally just came on as a member a few years ago, a few months ago. Sorry. And then like Book Keep is a member and cinder is a member and other [00:06:30] training organizations and other software.

Alicia Katz Pollock: And so they brought everybody together in Las Vegas at the Cosmopolitan Hotel. And it was kind of cool because instead of having won all the trainings and an exhibit hall, the exhibit hall was only for literally three hours on one night. So the getting to know all of the vendors was kind of like a flood of people going around to all of the booths for this one three hour period, [00:07:00] like almost like a vendor session, and then boom, the whole, um, vendor room disappears again. And it's just people taking the taking the workshops. So I have really enjoyed being a member of the BDO Alliance and beginning to kind of level up royal wise, which started 15 years ago with training my clients, small business owners and then moved into the bookkeeper space and training bookkeepers. And now we're leveling up into [00:07:30] the firm space. So meeting firms and finding out what they're doing in their training around QuickBooks has been a pleasure and a learning experience.

Hector Garcia: And Alicia, is that conference open or you have to be a member of the Alliance.

Alicia Katz Pollock: You have to be an alliance member to go to it.

Hector Garcia: So it's an exclusive conference. I love that. Um, and and there was a second one you mentioned.

Alicia Katz Pollock: Yeah, I also just came back from AGN international, which is an international kind of conglomerate of accounting [00:08:00] firms that same deal where they all kind of network together and help each other and resource together. But this one was very small. I think there were maybe 250 attendees and a fraction of the like, you know, and each firm sent five delegates or 20 delegates. So there were really only a couple handfuls of firms there. But I sat in on the caste track for most of it, and it was kind of fun because it was like it all in the same room with the same group of people, but different workshops over three days. And [00:08:30] I had the pleasure of doing a train the trainer workshop for their caste track, and that was a new topic for me, but one that's kind of natural because I have a master's in teaching, and so it was a great opportunity to get to know a whole different group of people.

Hector Garcia: Now, you mentioned caste. Now, did they say caste means client accounting services or client advisory services? That's the part that I it trips me up each time.

Alicia Katz Pollock: It's still being bandied about in both ways. [00:09:00] And sometimes you see it see a as client accounting and advisory services. So at this point the term is interchangeable.

Hector Garcia: And that's just in contrast of tax returns or audit. Like sorry if it's not tax return or audit it's probably caste like. That's basically that's what it is. It's like the de facto, uh, name of the service when it's not tax or audit.

Alicia Katz Pollock: Yeah. It's basically the idea that instead of accounting firms traditionally just being oriented around tax, [00:09:30] that they're realizing that in order to provide tax you also have to have good books. And so the traditional tax and audit firms are now bringing in bookkeeping firms with the idea that they're doing the bookkeeping and looking at the books and advising them, not just being a tax mill.

Hector Garcia: So you think that term caste is seeping over to like the bookkeeping profession, like our bookkeepers also saying, okay, we do caste as well or is castes as this this differentiation [00:10:00] between bookkeeper bookkeeping done by bookkeeping, bookkeepers or quote, bookkeeping done by accounting accountants or CPAs?

Alicia Katz Pollock: Well, it's definitely coming over from the accounting and CPA space that their caste is them bringing on bookkeepers. And so I think it's a natural for the the bookkeeping community to start adopting the the phrase I'm doing caste services. Although I think the distinction is still in the context [00:10:30] of the tax providing and the I think all of the tax firms would do themselves a world of good to turn to our ProAdvisor community, to find the people, to do the CAS. Because, you know, what I'm finding in the industry, they're all offshoring. There's no conversation about hiring us bookkeepers at all in the space. It's all about hiring in the Philippines and hiring in Mexico. And personally, I have a problem [00:11:00] with that.

Hector Garcia: Yeah, that's going to be interesting. I wonder if if there will be a movement to bring them back to the US, or the next step after offshoring will probably be AI, but that's a different conversation for a different, uh, episode. Okay. So let's talk about the upcoming conferences that we have gone that we're going to go to. I haven't gone to any conferences this year. I do want to just something I mentioned earlier, our friend Blake Oliver and David Leary during the Cloud Accounting podcast. They were talking about [00:11:30] them attending the AICPA engage conference, but the shadow conference, not the actual conference. So that's a new term I've never heard before. And the shadow conference is hanging out in the same area that the other people that are in without actually paying the ticket to be in the conference. We're not talking about sneaking into the conference. We're talking about a conference also always has two parts of it has the part where you are in live sessions, in a main stage and in a trade floor. [00:12:00] And one interesting thing is some conferences hide the, the, uh, the trade floor or the trade, the trade show aspect, like the booths behind a sort of entrance where you have to have a ticket or a badge and some have it sort of out, and then you only need a ticket or a badge to go into the educational things. So, um, traditionally what I've seen is most conferences, uh, had opened the trade floor to the general public because the thinking [00:12:30] was to the exhibitors, hey, the more eyeballs, the better.

Hector Garcia: But I think more and more conferences are kind of like trying to make the trade show part of the value of the conference, not just, you know, a place to get sponsorship money. So they get more selective about the the actual companies they get in there. The companies get more involved in the process. Some of the company leaders speak and breakouts, uh, they do like mini mini breakouts inside the trade show. I actually like that, [00:13:00] uh, that, that movement a little bit better. And, um, that's not what I'm talking about. The shadow conference, what I'm talking about, for the most part, is the bar right after the conference hanging out with people, uh, that sort of thing. So, but one thing that, uh, Blake and, uh, David mentioned, that was great. The bar, they talked, the network made new friends, but that conference is $2,000. It's $2,000, and it's supposed to be for all CPAs. And they kind of broke down [00:13:30] that the average CPA makes just under 100,000. And if you were just going to assume the average CPA makes, they say exactly 100,000, you got 2000 for the conference, you got another maybe 1500 to 2000 for the travel and the meals. By the time it's all said and done, these conferences are asking people to spend 4 to 5% of their gross salary, which would probably be 8% of their net salary [00:14:00] in in a conference. And is that a bit out of touch? What are your thoughts on that?

Alicia Katz Pollock: Well, it's been interesting kind of watching all of that evolve, because even QuickBooks connect started as free and then it became just a nominal $100, and then it went over $1,000 and AP camp started free. And this year there's money involved. And I think their thinking is that most of the conferences seem to be trying to aim towards firms [00:14:30] that have gross revenue. And so I don't think anybody is actually thinking about the math that you just brought up. They're thinking about their ticket price for what they need to cover all of their speakers and all of the development and all the signage. Right. And all the, the, the, the free bar and all of that. And they're not thinking about what a financial hardship it is and a limitation to actually allow people to come to conferences. Um, yeah. Huge shout out to the Accounting [00:15:00] Cornerstone Foundation because they saw that happening. And so they've been fundraising to bring bookkeepers to conferences who ordinarily wouldn't be able to go, because that is I mean, you just put it in terms of like somebody who's making $100,000 and roughly 4%, but, you know, if you're only making if you're a beginning bookkeeper and you're making $60,000 and that's your entire livelihood going to one of these conferences, just. Literally impossible.

Hector Garcia: Yeah, and it's worth mentioning that every single conference [00:15:30] that we're about to mention that Alicia and I have gone to are going to, or we have a close friend or colleague that is going to it's over a thousand for the ticket. All of these across the board over there might be one that is not. And I'll just I'll go back and double check that. But uh, or actually scaling new heights might be under a thousand to well, we'll double check that too. But with travel and everything it's going to be a couple of grand. I mean, no matter how you slice it or dice it. So there might be an opportunity for someone to [00:16:00] put together a conference for the startup bookkeeping practices for the brand new accountants or CPA. So anyway, so let's talk about the conferences, the one that you're probably very much excited about. It's the big one. Over a thousand people scaling new heights in Orlando is happening at the same time that this episode will be released. So we're recording this a week before the conference starts. So, Alicia, tell us about what you're going to be teaching and just give us give us a run through what [00:16:30] is scaling new heights.

Alicia Katz Pollock: So scaling new heights is one of the best conferences for like really good tangible education in the sessions. And also the community is just huge and vibrant. And it's like with QuickBooks connect, one of the conferences that has absolutely made my career. And like Hector was saying, so much of what you get out of it is not actually what's happening in the sessions. It's what's happening in the halls. Now, this year I am teaching three [00:17:00] different sessions. I'm doing actually a repeat of the two reporting sessions that I did last year. One of them is on the fundamentals of customizing reports, including both classic and modern view. And then my second session is specifically around advanced reporting and custom reporting and spreadsheet sync. And it was had such good reception last year that Heather Saterlee asked me to come back and reprise it. And I'm also doing a session with Joe Aliotta, who is one of the OG [00:17:30] trainers, and he and I are doing a Anything Cube desktop can do Qbo can do better session, where we're going to dig out the differences between the two and which one does what better than the other one. And so we are also a sponsor and have a booth. This is our third year exhibiting in the exhibit hall because like I mentioned, Royal Wise right now is trying to move out of the individual training space and into the firm level [00:18:00] space. But scaling new heights is a conference of individuals and micro firms, and that is absolutely our bread and butter. And so I'm really looking forward to showing people the books that I have. You can actually see the books and order the books and, and find out about our membership programs and the classes that we provide. And so you actually get to also meet Jeff Auer, who's the the public face of the company. And my son zip, who is our newest employee, [00:18:30] is going to be there too.

Hector Garcia: That's awesome. And it looks like your company, Royal Wise, is also like the conferences trying to move up to larger firms that have gross profit. The reality is that business evolves in that direction, and we want to teach a higher level, high impact education that is worth a lot more than the like sort of the average startup person is willing to pay. And we can have to as we evolve individually, Alicia and I, as educators, we also want our education [00:19:00] to evolve. And in order to do that, we have to look for the folks that can pay more. And that's the reality that everybody goes to that evolution. Right?

Alicia Katz Pollock: Well, for me, the evolution was the realization, the revelation that for every one person who I get to train and work with individually, they're one person, but one firm as one client can bring me anywhere from five to hundreds of new, new learners. And so that's what we realized. If we wanted to scale up and actually meet some [00:19:30] really outrageous revenue targets, that was how we were going to do it. And so that's why I'm kind of on this conference tour that we're doing six conferences this year.

Hector Garcia: Yeah, you're like Jerry Seinfeld on podcasts. It's just everywhere right now. Just everywhere. So, um, so what? Uh, so, so that's killing new heights. Um, the one thing that's going to give me a lot of personal FOMO for not going to scale new heights is that session. I like to see enterprise versus advanced, uh, head to head. I [00:20:00] mean, I know personally, and I won't say it which app wins? I would say nine out of ten times, but I would love to see that one out of ten times where the app that I don't think will win will win. And maybe you can read between the lines there. Um, right after scaling new heights in Orlando, there's another conference called BCC. So I double checked the price. Bcc is $1,000. Scaling new heights is $1,100. So yeah. So that stays true. Every single conference we're [00:20:30] mentioning here is, uh, $1,000 or more. But again, we'll double check it one more time as we go down. So BK is a bookkeepers only conference. So this is one that it doesn't necessarily not welcome CPAs. It just they don't market to CPAs. And I'm sure many, many CPAs that like to work with bookkeepers or, or or want to learn bookkeeping or whatever could show up, but it's mostly a bookkeeper only conference. Now, I like [00:21:00] that because none of these conferences I have ever went out there and used that as their niche.

Hector Garcia: Actually, most conferences, including mine, they say accounting professional because they don't want to they don't want to, uh, alienate anybody that could be adjacent to the accounting profession. So if you're a tax preparer, if you're a bookkeeper, if you're a CPA that does audit or doesn't do audit or does CAS, or if you're somebody that does technology that talks to QuickBooks or whatever, most conferences want [00:21:30] to like, be friendly with with the broadest group possible. And they wouldn't dare to say something like a bookkeepers only conference. A BCC did that. So kudos to them for doing that. And I'm pretty sure a couple years ago it was under $1,000. But it looks like all these conferences are going in that over $1,000 range. Uh, Mark, my partner in right tool, uh, like I said, he went he went two years ago. He had a booth last year. Has a booth this year again, by the way, we paid ten grand for that booth. So it's not cheap. [00:22:00] I mean, for for what you think is a niche conference, you would think you would be a lot less than that. So, like our investment to have a little booth there and, and and to send Mark there and be there for 2 or 3 days. It's going to be $2,500. I mean, sorry, it's going to be $12,000 at the very least.

Hector Garcia: Um, so it's a significant investment to go out there and, and have a booth there. But anyway, what he told me he likes most about it is the fact that the community is really, really vibrant because it's bookkeepers only. [00:22:30] Uh, long story short, there's a lot less egos than in these other conferences where you have, you know, a firm partner, somebody just getting started, somebody studying for the CPA. And you have all these things where designations themselves come into play and they kind of they they stymie the conversations a little bit because as a CPA talking to a non CPA, maybe subconsciously they're like, ah, they're not at my same level. That happens that that's a, that's a, that's a thing that happens. So I feel that a conference that's bookkeepers [00:23:00] only and bookkeepers being something that's not generally, uh regulated under a particular designation. That's a pretty cool thing. I like that because everybody sort of on the same page. At least there's not that many egos, even though there's also egos in on bookkeeper on the world. I mean, trust me, you know, we we see that at scale, new heights. We see that at Intuit Connect. So I wanted to give a shout out to BC for doing that. And I hope Mark has tons of fun and makes, makes new friends and brings in more right tool customers.

Alicia Katz Pollock: Yeah, [00:23:30] that's one of the conferences that's on my list that I really wish I could get to, and hopefully the it all falls into place next year for me.

Hector Garcia: Well, if you stay in Orlando and, uh, for a couple more weeks, you can just show up. It's only $1,000. Alicia. Right.

Alicia Katz Pollock: Hotel room every night.

Hector Garcia: Yeah.

Hector Garcia: Okay. Bridging the gap. This is a new conference. Okay, so last year, Bridging the Gap had its inaugural conference. It's in Rosemont, Illinois, which is basically across the street from the big [00:24:00] airport in Chicago. So it's technically Chicago, but it's like 40 minute drive from Chicago. So you can sneak out after the conference and go to Chicago downtown and have an awesome restaurant experience and come back if you want to. I did that last year because I have a cousin that has a restaurant in downtown but works in a restaurant, not the house, but works in a restaurant in downtown Chicago. And we went there and I was able to see him for a couple hours, and he sent a bunch of, you know, awesome meals for me to try out. So, um, Chicago being just one of the most amazing cities [00:24:30] in the United States worth going if you're going to just hang out. But bridging the gap was interesting because Randy Crabtree. Crabtree, the person that, uh, put together the conference and and his company, Tri Merit, which is not an accounting firm, is it's a firm that does work with accountants that focuses on tax credits. So they did a lot of work in R&D. They do a lot of work in um, what's the name of that process that you do when you break down [00:25:00] the cost of a real estate to have depreciation, to have accelerated depreciation? I forget what that is. I'll come back with that. I'll remember that as a CPA, I should remember, oh, uh, cost segregation, cost segregation.

Hector Garcia: They did a lot of work with IRC, uh, with the employee retention credit. So like, they focus only on, like, tax credits and sort of advanced tax things, and then they partner with other accountants to do that type of work. Well, you know, to enhance their brand of tri merit the company, [00:25:30] they put together a conference. But Randy himself ten years ago had a stroke. And he blames the stroke on overwork, on stress, on all the things that plague our profession bookkeeper, CPA, tax attorney or otherwise. Okay, like there's just a lot of stress in our profession. So a lot of the themes of the conference are around having a mental health and physical health and making time for yourself [00:26:00] while also learning new technical advanced concepts. So it's a nice mixture of here's some new typical, you know, uh, conference themes. You know, you got a value price and you got a higher talent and you got to do this and you got to learn the technology and the apps and mid-market. You got all the typical themes of things that they teach. Plus, let's talk about wellness. Let's talk about opening up. Let's talk about, uh, you know, giving your body a priority, you know, that sort of thing. So I like [00:26:30] that very much. I think I think what I like about conference is when they pick a particular niche and they stay within that theme, you know, they have a yoga room, they have a massage room, they have a bunch of stuff.

Hector Garcia: So I like that very much. And last year we went it was, to be honest, it was inaugural conference. Most of the people that went were all like sort of speakers. It was like a speakers conference, pretty much. So there wasn't a lot of like, um, sort of like new people, like, like it just felt like a speakers conference because [00:27:00] he went out there and said, hey, how many speakers, people that I know influencers going to bring in so we can we can give the conference a brand because people have followers, right? So they look at that now this year it's a little bit different. They already they already had the proof of concept. They already took the pictures. They already took the videos. They had the party, they had the gala. Now they're going to say, okay, let's focus more on the content, let's focus more on the education. And some of the speakers will be repeating, but this will be will be a lot more attendees and speakers, let's just call it [00:27:30] that. So I'm excited about that. And I'm also going to have a right tool. Let's just call it a corner because it was not not a booth. But I said just, just just give me a corner with a table and a plug and that's good enough for me. So I'm going this year, excited to be there. Uh, late July at Bridging the Gap. Uh, Alicia, what are you doing at, uh, at, uh, in Chicago?

Alicia Katz Pollock: Yeah. Um, we are also sponsors, so I will have a table. I did put it in to be a speaker, but because what I do, you know, going into [00:28:00] the wellness, um, theme was kind of a stretch. They didn't accept my topics, but they were actually kind enough to reach out to me personally. And. Say, hey, it's not personal, which was really sweet, but I'm really looking forward to I've heard great things about the conference, and so this is one of those where, you know, when you were talking about whether the the trade show was accessible to the public or not, this is another one of those where the trade shows actually in the public space. And so even, you know, there's an opportunity [00:28:30] to reach people who are not actual attendees as well.

Hector Garcia: Yeah, I'm not necessarily a speaker per se, because I'm not teaching a session. I'm going to be in a panel. I think it's called something like when superheroes take their mask off or something like that. I didn't come up with it. I didn't come up with the panel idea. They just said, would you like to be in this thing? I'm like, okay, an excuse to go to Chicago. Done. Um, and it's going to be done brawling niyo Carter Gray and myself [00:29:00] and and and Nancy McClellan.

Alicia Katz Pollock: Mcclellan.

Hector Garcia: Yeah. Uh, she will be, I think moderating and this and we are all let's call it accounting personalities. We're either on stage like Don is always screaming at someone on stage. Right? So it's always she's the designated motivator. She's amazing. Uh, Nijo is very much a sort of personality. She's in a lot of YouTube videos, does things with QuickBooks and Intuit. She's in a couple of the new In-the-know Weekly videos. Um, she's very much a big, [00:29:30] uh, spouses. The whole, uh, you know, my CPA is black hashtag, you know, like, giving more awareness that we need more African Americans in the CPA profession. So each of us and and Nancy is the dancing CPA. I mean, like it. She's got an incredible nickname, I love that. So each of us have this sort of like. Uh, uh, public personas and the sessions about, you know, hey, you know, uh, so people remember that you're like a normal [00:30:00] real person. You got problems too, right? And they're basically, it's gonna be that, like, you know, we got problems, too, you know, how do we manage? You know, uh, problems when it looks at we have our shit together, and we don't don't always do. We don't always do. We're normal people. So I'm excited about that. That's going to be, uh, pretty fun.

Alicia Katz Pollock: Yeah, that's one of the sessions that I'm very much looking forward to because as a influencer, realizing that we that I am still just a person, it's actually for me, like almost the opposite, because [00:30:30] I'm so down to earth and genuine and I don't put up an artifice at all. But it's funny when people meet me that I like, I'm having to get used to being a known entity and a known quantity, and so I have trouble myself being vulnerable. And so I'm really looking forward to that conversation.

Hector Garcia: Absolutely. Okay. Next one, I want to give a quick shout out to my friend Vanessa Vasquez. Confidence [00:31:00] conferencia fit, which means Fit conference. Now fit is a play on words because it means finance, innovation and technology. But it's also fit because, uh, Vanessa and uh, Carmen Manrique, her her partner, they're both into fitness. Like, if you they put, you know, especially Carmen. She's like, I think on her late 50s and she's, um, she's lifting, like, double the weight that I can lift. I mean, she's just incredible, incredible [00:31:30] fit individual. So it's both like the stuff that they're passionate about, about being fit, but also, you know, financial fitness. So that's going to be in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I hate that word because I can never pronounce it right. Fort Lauderdale, Florida in August, uh, I think it's the very first weekend of August. So conferencia fit is the word conference in Spanish fit comm. Uh, the next one I want to talk briefly and conference fit is a small conference, [00:32:00] so I'll probably have like 50 people. It's a very niche conference. I'm doing an event, a two day workshop with, uh, Ed Klesse, the co-host of The Soul of Enterprise called Metta Consulting Academy, and we're co-branding that with my events company called reframe. It's in Dallas, Texas. And, uh, Ed has been teaching Consulting Academy for like 20 years for ERP implement ERP [00:32:30] integrators that work with Sage products for the last 20 years.

Hector Garcia: It's one of the most popular, uh, uh, training programs out there for ERP people. Now, ERP people are like mid-market $50,000 a year software implementation, uh, implementing technical people that are kind of accountants, kind of database accounting, uh, technical people. And, uh, we partnered together to create a version of that for more of, like, our world, like the small [00:33:00] business QuickBooks power user. And we're going to teach people how to become a consultant. Like, what's the process that you go to to become a consultant? What words do you use? How do you deal with resistance to change, how to position it, how to price it? So it's going to be really awesome to kind of work with him and work through that. And we're working through the content now and seeing how we adapt that to our world. So I, we love that that fusion that we're putting together. The other one I want to mention quickly is USA Tax Convention. So [00:33:30] this one started in Miami called Miami Tax Con. This was under a thousand. Uh, the one in Miami was under a thousand bucks. It was actually like 500 bucks or maybe like 400 bucks. Very, very inexpensive. But it doesn't include food. And that's kind of a challenge because we're used to conferences, including food.

Hector Garcia: And I'll go into maybe a mini rant about that specifically, because that's the one thing I learned about conferences that absolutely kills us, which is the whole food part. But this one, they don't at least the Miami one doesn't offer food. And I think [00:34:00] that's how they were able to afford to charge so low. But it was a three day I went to last year, three day conference, uh, mostly in Spanish, teaching tax concepts and practice management concepts to, uh, Spanish speaking accounting professionals, mostly tax preparers, enrolled agents, that sort of thing. And they and they expand. They expanded so quickly, so big this year they had over 1200 people in Miami. It literally just happened last week. Um, I didn't go [00:34:30] this year. I wasn't selected to speak. And I have a bunch of things going on in my in my world where I can't. I couldn't speak either, even if I was invited to, uh, but they're going to have in September, like version two of that in Las Vegas, probably with over a thousand people. So congratulations to Carlos Ramirez and team for building a really big conference. Yes. Okay. Ap camp. Alicia talked to us about what is AP camp and also mentioned this is not a public access conference like the BDO Alliance [00:35:00] and that sort of thing. Right.

Alicia Katz Pollock: So AP camp is the brainchild of Heather Saterlee and Liz Scott. And it last year was the inaugural year, and they held it in Virginia where Dirty Dancing was filmed. And so that was kind of the underlying theme of the of the whole thing. But it's a conference specifically for educators. But you can't just go register. You actually have to apply and be accepted. So they're actually vetting the the group of people and the environment. And last year [00:35:30] I was I wanted to be in it so bad because like, these are my people. And honestly, I actually applied twice because they wanted to make sure that it was not just people in the training space, but they were actual practitioners as well. And I do provide bookkeeping services. But, you know, that's actually a new service for me through Royal Wise. And so I had to kind of reengage with them and say, hey, wait, I am a firm owner. I [00:36:00] do have bookkeeping, traditional clients as well. But what they did last year was there was an Intuit presence. So, um, Ted Callahan and Kim Amesbury were there, and then there were different speakers. Amy Vedder was there and other speakers. But they're really trying to foster people as trainers to step up and share their expertise about about QuickBooks and about accounting in general. And so this is their second year. [00:36:30] And again you do have to apply.

Alicia Katz Pollock: And so they're really trying to find up and coming trainers who need to kind of grow into their voice and stand in their confidence about what it is that they have to contribute to the to the world. And there's a lot of ideation going on and a lot of strategic partnerships going on. So people are like trying to really emphasize the fact that, yeah, we so many of us may be QuickBooks trainers, but we all bring something different to the table. [00:37:00] So how can we team up and how can we collaborate? And how can we inspire each other to create new endeavors and new projects? And the accounting cornerstone was built out of that. Um, and there's other projects as well. I've seen a lot of strategic alliances, like Rachel Dorsey and Dan DeLong working together. And, you know, there's just so many things that have come out of it. So I'm really, really glad that they were able to continue it for a second year, that it wasn't just a one off conference. [00:37:30] And, and this year, the, the AP camp and the whole thing does evolve from there, from the AP, our uh, podcast that Liz and Heather do. But this year they've added an I. So I know it's a I p p. So I know that there's going to be an emphasis on AI in the curriculum.

Hector Garcia: Yeah, that's what I was going to mention that this is, this is actually a offshoot of their podcast webinar series called, uh, the AP camp, which [00:38:00] is all about the apps that, sorry, the AP hour, which was all about apps that talk to QuickBooks. Is it safe to say that this is kind of a QuickBooks influencers conference is expanding? I know it's expanding, but like the core is sort of QuickBooks influencers and many trainer writer Network or the now defunct Trainer Writer network, uh, membership group.

Alicia Katz Pollock: Yeah. I mean, I think that's true just because of the basis of who we all are, who we're coming in [00:38:30] from. But I don't think they mean to be exclusive to QuickBooks.

Hector Garcia: Okay. Awesome. So I'd like to give a shout out to Heather Saterlee for reaching out to me this year and saying, hey, you should apply win. Wink. Uh, but unfortunately, I got I'm traveling so much this year and I have to budget my my travel every time. Every time I leave for 2 or 3 days, I deposit long term liabilities in my household account that I have to repay with interest. So I, I really, really try to measure the amounts of time that I'm outside [00:39:00] the house, especially with all my kids in baseball and me being assistant coach. And most of these teams that they that they play in. Okay, let's talk about my conference. Uh, reframe. This is in Hollywood, Florida, and it's technically five minutes from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. But I hate saying Fort Lauderdale. So I'm going to say Hollywood, Florida. You can fly in through the Fort Lauderdale airport or the Miami airport is a three day event. We're going to kick it off with [00:39:30] a half day technology update. We're going to talk about AI. We're going to talk about all the tech. How is it evolving and how is it going to affect us. Then the next two and a half days, the theme is called Influential Conversations for accountants. Think about the word influential, really big conversations for really small. There were accountants really big, and it's influential accountants. And one of the things that we struggle with, you know, all accounting professionals are like [00:40:00] is we kind of like repeat ourselves over and over and over.

Hector Garcia: We find ourselves giving the same advice to the same clients over and over and over, and they don't change. And we suggest things and they don't change. And interestingly enough, accounting professionals are probably one of the most trusted of all professionals. People will change their doctor more often than they want to change their accountant. Okay, probably [00:40:30] the therapist beats the accountant in terms of like that level of trust. But I think it's that is your is your therapist, your accountant, okay. Your criminal lawyer, your therapist and your like if you're if you're in the position to have to have a criminal lawyer, probably your criminal lawyer, your therapist and your accountant. So we we have we're in the top echelon of trusted professions, but we're not that influential, which I just blows my mind how much we struggle [00:41:00] at exerting influence. And like, I feel I'm pretty influential. But I spent ten years building a YouTube channel. The average accountant hasn't. So we're going to talk about how do we simply with words, how do we change what we want to say in a more effective way? So how to communicate better? And by the way, I built this conference for me because I'm the one that needs help with this. I literally said, you know what? I'm going to build a conference to teach me how to communicate better. I'm going to mask it as a conference for a bunch of people. [00:41:30]

Hector Garcia: And, uh, hopefully it doesn't cost me anything for me to get better at communication. So I picked this. We picked this. My Carlos, my brother and I, we picked the speakers that we think influenced our communication skills. Chris Doe is a YouTuber. His channel is called The Future. He'll blow your mind. He's incredible. Phil M Jones, the author of, uh, Exactly What to Say, an incredible book. Really, really worth, uh, reading. I have we have Carolyn Strauss, [00:42:00] who's a she's a people consultant, but she was in the Home Shopping Network for like 20 years, and she was the person that had to sell a new product every single day. Think about the level of communication skills. You have to have to be like that. So we so through a connection which is coming in and we're going to see a whole nother perspective of communication. You know what? You know what what happens when you have to talk about things that you've literally just [00:42:30] learned about yesterday. So I love that. So we have we have a whole bunch of people coming in, dear friends, uh, that are coming in to attend. Alicia, you're coming in to hang out. I you know, I'm so excited to have you there. Uh, and actually be in the opportunity to enlighten you on something so very exciting. Reframe 2020 I'm telling you, this will sell out. It's only 200 people. It's amazing.

Alicia Katz Pollock: Yeah, I'm very much looking [00:43:00] forward to it. I had complete FOMO last year when I wasn't there. I felt like conspicuously absent. So I'm really glad that's.

Hector Garcia: How you feel when I don't go. Scaling new heights is exactly how I feel, and I haven't gone in the last couple of years for scheduling issues or whatever. Every single time I get super Uber FOMO. Okay, we saved the sort of best for last or the biggest for last, which is Intuit Connect. So from the year 2014, I believe that was the first year that we had QuickBooks [00:43:30] Connect in San Jose, California. 20 1415, 16, 17, 1819 pandemic came, pandemic took a break. There was no conference in 2020. There was no conference in 2021. It came back in 2022. Okay, so QuickBooks connect came back in 2022 in Las Vegas. So we went from a pre pandemic all in San Jose, [00:44:00] California to 2022, in Las Vegas, in the Aria Hotel in Las Vegas and back to back 2223. And now 2024, three years in a row in the Aria Hotel in Las Vegas. And the conference has been rebranded from QuickBooks Connect to Intuit Connect. Alicia, you wanted to mention something?

Alicia Katz Pollock: Yeah.

Alicia Katz Pollock: Um, during the Covid years, they did have the conference. It was just virtual. Okay.

Hector Garcia: Yeah,

Hector Garcia: Yeah. But virtual conferences [00:44:30] or webinars and podcasts, they're all they're a different category. Okay. You do not get existential introspection from paradigm shifting epiphanies that arise from deep philosophical discussions with a colleague, admittedly influenced by the presence of libations at virtual conferences.

Hector Garcia: Do you?

Alicia Katz Pollock: That's exactly the right way of putting it. Yeah. I mean, sometimes when I go to QuickBooks Connect or Intuit Connect or any of the conferences, it's actually not [00:45:00] the sessions themselves that have the biggest influence on me. It's all the connections and all the conversations that I'm having in the hallway. And there's been a couple of years at QuickBooks connect when it was QuickBooks connect, where like, I made like two sessions where I was either teaching or I was just chatting it up with different people that I wanted that were my Facebook friends or my LinkedIn friends that I wanted to get to know in real life.

Hector Garcia: So this mini mini mini mini mini rant about the name change. So [00:45:30] when QuickBooks connect was built in 2014 and you mentioned it was free for a lot of people, or like 100 or 200 bucks, it was really meant for everybody come. It wasn't just accountants, it was accountants, developers and, uh, small business owners. Yeah, yeah, that was, by the way, that was awesome. Like, I loved, like, I think I think a couple of us from the Training Writer network, they asked us, hey, you want to hang out in the Intuit the QuickBooks booth for a couple hours and talk to small business owners? I [00:46:00] love that, I wish I could get some of that back. I love that that was really awesome. But QuickBooks connect was about the word connect, which was a which was a play on words for multiple things. It was connecting small business with accountants that that was beautiful. Connecting developers with accountants. So accountants can give feedback to developers, not just the QuickBooks. Employees [00:46:30] or the Intuit employees, but also the third party developers. That was beautiful. And then connecting with each other.

Hector Garcia: Okay. Beautiful. Like the whole theme. They nailed it. It was it was great. I went to QuickBooks connect the first year, and I believe the second year and the third year, I may have missed it because my son was born. I was the only one that I missed and I just walked. I mean, just just felt like there was so much energy. Now, granted, as an accountant, I walked out of QuickBooks connect and say, huh, these people lost $3 [00:47:00] million in this thing. Like there was the the financial viability of QuickBooks connect, wasn't there? Like, if you were to spin off QuickBooks connect into its own like PNL, it would be like the worst business decision ever. But it's marketing like this comes from a marketing budget, right? A marketing is not just, hey, buy my product, it's also, hey, you serve my product continuously, feel good about the product. And that's the part that QuickBooks connect [00:47:30] nailed 100%, 1,000,000% all through the pre pandemic years. Post pandemic, something changed. Uh, I would love to maybe get your take on that.

Alicia Katz Pollock: Yeah. I mean that was absolutely you nailed it about the first specifically the first three years where it was all about treating all of us like royalty and having, like, life moments of either meeting people or the different events or the developers. Everything that they had there was really [00:48:00] associated with all of us experiencing delight and enthusiasm so that we would directly associate it with the brand. And they did that fantastically well. I think that their development of the connection and the community with this positive association of QuickBooks online specific because it was specifically Qbo really, really is what gave them the foundation for the massive growth [00:48:30] that they've had over the the last ten years, that especially when it was small business owners, I actually spent my first couple of years sitting down at tables at meals with people I'd never met before, just finding out what it was that they did and answering their questions. And I actually had a client out of it for for a period of time. But they really that's what this conference is, what really cemented all of us as a thriving community that we know so many literally [00:49:00] hundreds of people in the industry because of QuickBooks connect.

Hector Garcia: Now the evolution of the conference moved to accounting centric. I remember they started with an accounting track, a small business track, a developer track. Now everything is accounting centric. The only people that get invited to come are accountants. I'm sure non accountants sneak in right? Well they don't sneak in. They pay 1200 bucks to get in. But. But what I'm saying is they sneak in through [00:49:30] the cracks of like the target audience. The, the last year I was looking at how much it cost to exhibit there. And a small little corner, like, it wasn't even like a booth. It was more like, I don't know, like a. Like a little table. It was like ten grand. I mean, it's really it's really become really challenging, uh, for smaller developers to break through. And I think part of the challenge here is, is Intuit's [00:50:00] philosophy around there's still an open system. They still have the API, they're still open. But around the success of Qbo is is Qbo plus apps. It's shifting. I think it's it's taking a regression is Qbo plus apps for now. You know, I think I feel that's the direction they're going to, uh, because I think this big push to try to because QuickBooks wins in the small business world, but [00:50:30] not so much in the mid-market, not so much in that space where the company makes $5 million plus, but not quite $100 million to be able to afford $100,000 software and maybe have more than 10 or 15 employees.

Hector Garcia: Where the dynamics of different people touching your accounting system get a little bit complex. That's what the area that QuickBooks just kind of fails at. And their their bandaid was just add an app. Don't [00:51:00] worry Mr. Customer. Quickbooks can still be your source of truth. Just add an app. And the reality is that working with 2 or 3 apps is very disruptive and like businesses are no longer wanting to do that. Like the era of multiple apps, there's an app for that and and subscription fatigue where you have like ten different things that you're subscribed to. It's starting to shift the mindset to what Doug Sleeter calls [00:51:30] one throat to choke. And it's really I know it's a really bad analogy to use in terms of kind of mean, but one throat to choke, and it makes me think of like Homer Simpson and Bart Simpson. But one throat to choke means when something goes wrong, I want to call one one 800 number. I don't want to be ping pong to six different one 800 numbers. And I think the market is starting to ask for single solution providers. If you look at Microsoft, for example, Microsoft um, [00:52:00] doesn't work this way.

Hector Garcia: Microsoft has a whole suite of solutions. And if you look at, uh, Google, Google or G suite has a whole suite of solutions. If you look at Zoho, Zoho, and Indian Company and they're huge, huge company in India, they have one. Platform that connects everything and even the I part of this, which is, oh my, I is going to talk to ChatGPT. People also don't want that. People want everything [00:52:30] to be in one place. Windows 12 is about to get released. Windows 12 will be one of the most paradigm shifting operating systems ever released. Windows 12 will be AI first. It would be we look at everything at your computer. First. It would be like your data is no longer private. First, it's going to really change things. And if you look at Apple as well, Apple started with, hey, we sell you the app. There is, you know, there's an ecosystem of [00:53:00] apps. Apple has all sorts of services. You pay five bucks a month and you get Apple Arcade, you get whatever a month, and you get all the fitness and gym apps. Apple also is controlling the ecosystem of apps. So Alicia, what's your take on that? Because I know you're a big fan of plus apps and you have just to have faith in that, but what's your take on that?

Alicia Katz Pollock: Yeah, well, I think you just expressed it well that I still have faith in it, that I've been doing software training for literally 35 years. And in the beginning [00:53:30] it was one app to rule them all. But the concept became bloatware, where you would have to program all of these obscure little features that were extremely powerful, but only a small fragment of people actually needed. And that would make the software really expensive. And a lot of the times it would make the software really cumbersome. And desktop is kind of an element of that, that desktop does a lot of different things, but they're very use case specific, and most people don't use most of the power of desktop. And so [00:54:00] that was the logical progression of developing QuickBooks online that let's start with the nuggets that everybody uses that are central to the experience. And then at least in the beginning, develop all the different apps that could do one thing really, really well and then import that end result into QuickBooks online. So I've been a fan of the ecosystem piece of it, you know, and like people will complain, oh man, I got to pay for this subscription.

Alicia Katz Pollock: I got to pay for this subscription. But, [00:54:30] you know, I'm fond of saying that if it saves you one hour a week and let's say your rate is $25 an hour, which is stupid low, but that's going to save you $100 a month. And if your app is less than $100 a month, then you just made money. So that's been kind of my take to the whole thing. But as we've been going, and especially in the last three years with QuickBooks online advanced into, it has started adding in more and more of those [00:55:00] individual pieces to make the software that much more powerful. So I understand if that shift really is happening, that that's kind of the dynamic behind it. I have mixed feelings. You know, I have a multifunction printer and I have a color LaserJet, and the difference between the two of those is extraordinary. But one of them faxes and copies. But the printout isn't that great. And then when I don't need to fax and copy, I turn to my high function, [00:55:30] high resolution printer. And so I have a little trepidation about which direction these things are going.

Hector Garcia: And, um, it might be partially, um, conjecture here, but the brand name changed from QuickBooks Connect to Intuit connect might signal. What I'm saying is that, hey, it's not QuickBooks plus apps, it's Intuit Ecosystem Connect, right? Particularly because Intuit [00:56:00] made a $12 billion acquisition a couple of years ago with MailChimp. Mailchimp being a software that both Alicia and I have used prior to the Intuit acquisition. Alicia and I both talked about how much we love MailChimp and how much we love the fact that MailChimp has not been tainted by the by by by the Qbo engineering fiasco that we've seen in the last couple of years. But I think there's going to be a big emphasis [00:56:30] in that the in the closed, I don't say closed, the high proximity Intuit ecosystem of apps that QuickBooks offers under one company. So MailChimp or the QuickBooks checking, which could have been called Intuit checking, right? Uh, QuickBooks capital, which could have been called Intuit Capital and it might move in that direction if they're going to be selling stuff outside of the QuickBooks, uh, software. But QuickBooks and you got the [00:57:00] new Cube-e bill pay and, you know, pushing the Millio partnerships out, I think Intuit wants to control a lot of the ecosystem. And this conference might again, this is conjecture, might be the first, uh, the first chapter of that story. He said, well, we'll let you know how this is going to happen.

Alicia Katz Pollock: All right. Well, my take on it is I'm wondering if, since I know that we already know that there's the emphasis on MailChimp, but Credit Karma and TurboTax, that's their four [00:57:30] pillars, and it's in their logo and it's in all of their branding. And so I actually would like to see a greater. That's why I thought the name, I didn't think about the internal Qbo apps that you were just talking about. I was thinking that it they're going to Intuit connect because there's Credit Karma and TurboTax and being able to introduce those into the greater ecosystem of people's financials, because every client that a bookkeeper serves is a small business owner [00:58:00] and an individual person, and that this is an opportunity for us to be able to add the TurboTax services and Credit Karma services to our clients. So that's kind of what I predicted that this name change meant.

Hector Garcia: Yeah. So for the folks listening to this podcast, QuickBooks accountants, QuickBooks Power Users, I think it's safe to say that Intuit Connect and Scaling New Heights are the two conferences that are mostly focused around the QuickBooks [00:58:30] product and serving, uh, customers on the QuickBooks product, even though scaling new heights no longer has the exclusive, uh Intuit QuickBooks contract. They actually have competitors of QuickBooks, but the core people are still QuickBooks people, aren't they?

Alicia Katz Pollock: Yeah, the audience, because it's evolved from a QuickBooks centric conference. But about 2 or 3 years ago they expanded it out. So a platform agnostic. So Xero has a presence there. Sage has a presence there. You can actually go check out other general ledgers [00:59:00] at scaling new heights. And so scaling new heights has a more broad industry perspective than QuickBooks connect. But it's or Intuit Connect, but it's pretty much the same group of attendees but a different their intention has diverged.

Hector Garcia: Yeah.

Hector Garcia: I think the people that go to scaling new heights go for the education people. Go to Las Vegas, QuickBooks connect, go for the party. Probably the best way to describe it. And the last one that we mentioned at the beginning was digital [00:59:30] CPA in Denver in December. This is the QuickBooks connect version of a CPA conference. This is like technology apps for CPAs. And the people that go to this are the most technically advanced CPAs out there. And if you go there and you compare them with the average bookkeeper as. Scaling new heights or accounting professional at QuickBooks connect, you will see that most of CPAs are actually not that technically inclined. So [01:00:00] you're going to get to see the most advanced people at digital CPA, and then you compare them with the other ones and you go, oh yeah, that's not even close to where the other conferences are. Yeah.

Alicia Katz Pollock: And I was I was at Dcpa last year for the first time. And you know, my, my choice at that point was between the CPA and the um, um.

Alicia Katz Pollock: Oh my God.

Hector Garcia: Engage is the other one.

Alicia Katz Pollock: Yeah.

Alicia Katz Pollock: Cpa engage. Thanks. Um, and so I really enjoyed Dcpa because I am so technologically oriented, [01:00:30] and it was actually my first foray into a space that did not have bookkeepers in the audience. It was all CPAs. It was all around tax and audit and their new cast departments. And, you know, cast was definitely the buzzword there. And what technologies can you use to integrate for cast services?

Hector Garcia: So I would say that if you're a bookkeeper that focuses on like QuickBooks, bookkeeping work doesn't do any tax, any audit, and you want to network with CPAs that are looking for folks [01:01:00] to partner for the bookkeeping stuff. That's probably the best way to go. That's the best place to make new, new friendships. And in the world of remote work and everything, it doesn't matter where where their offices are. So that's it. We wanted to go spend a whole hour talking about conferences. Hopefully this is all we'll talk about, about conferences for the next year. We'll see. Um, so with that being said, uh, thank you very much. Alicia. Do you have anything else going on in your world?

Alicia Katz Pollock: Uh, right now it's for [01:01:30] me. Conference seasons. I'm going from from this conference to that conference to that conference to that conference. So the only thing I have going on is just maintaining my sanity and having a good time doing it.

Hector Garcia: Me too.

Hector Garcia: So everybody, thank you very much for attending. If you see us at the conference, the first thing I want to hear is we love your podcast. Then we can we can have the rest of the conversation afterwards. So with that being said, we'll see you in the next one.

Alicia Katz Pollock: See you in the next one.

Creators and Guests

Alicia Katz Pollock, MAT
Alicia Katz Pollock, MAT
Alicia Katz Pollock, MAT is the CEO at Royalwise Solutions, Inc.. As a Top 50 Women in Accounting, Top 10 ProAdvisor, and member of the Intuit Trainer/Writer Network, Alicia is a popular speaker at QuickBooks Connect and Scaling New Heights. She has a Master of Arts in Teaching, with several QuickBooks books on Amazon. Her Royalwise OWLS (On-Demand Web-based Learning Solutions) at is a NASBA CPE-approved QBO and Apple training portal for accounting firms, bookkeepers, and business owners.
Hector Garcia, CPA
Hector Garcia, CPA
Hector Garcia,CPA is the Principal Accountant Quick Bookkeeping & Accounting LLC, a globally-serving Technology-Accounting firm based in Miami, FL (USA), specializing in QuickBooks Consulting, but also providing traditional accounting services such as: Bookkeeping, Payroll Processing, Tax Return Preparation, and General Business Advisory. He has over 10 years of experience working with small business finance and accounting, along with 3 Post-graduate degrees from Florida International University (FIU) in Accounting, Finance and Taxation.