How to make the most out of QuickBooks Connect London 2019 (in 7 minutes)

7 min read

On 25-26 February 2019, Intuit’s QuickBooks Connect takes place here in London. With inspiring speakers, info-packed sessions, and the unrivaled ability to network with both app developers and fellow firms in the QB community, QuickBooks Connect is an unmissable event for the accounting industry at large.

Last year, for QuickBooks Connect San Jose, we scoured the ends of the industry (and internet) to assemble the definitive top 10 tips to get the most out of it. We had amazing advice contributed by terrific thought leaders across the industry - Annie Terry (Intuit), Aynsley Damery (Clarity project), Bobby Chadha (Santander), Carl Reader (small business expert & advisor), Jenny Fogarty (AutoEntry), Trent McLaren (Practice Ignition), and Wayne Schmidt (PracticeEQ).

And we were stunned by the great response to it - including Intuit’s sharing of it on their own blog. Merely months later, their advice still stands true. So we’ve distilled in down even further, to provide the most efficient guide to making the most of QB Connect London 2019. Read on to make sure you’re best prepared for one of the most important accounting industry events of the year.

Before you attend

🏆 Set goals

As with any undertaking, going into QB Connect without goals puts you at risk of losing both vision and motivation - wasting your time and money. There are four core things you can get out of QB Connect, so strive to achieve them:

  • Knowledge - Attend Keynotes and breakout sessions that are most relevant to your firm and clients
  • Solutions - This is the largest grouping of QuickBooks app developers under one roof, so use the opportunity to find solutions that will deliver you and your clients the most value
  • Networking - In addition to app developers, you’ll be surrounded by fellow accountants and bookkeepers, industry thought leaders, and the Intuit team, so take advantage of being face-to-face and build relationships that will deliver you a return for years to come
  • Fun - It sounds cheesy to have this as a goal, but Intuit puts a lot of effort into making QB Connect much more enjoyable than your average conference, so make the most of it (it only comes to London once a year, after all)

📚 Do your research

With the sheer volume of what’s on at QB Connect, you won’t have time to experience it all. That makes time a precious commodity over the event’s two days. The biggest time waste traps are: attending sessions that aren’t relevant to your firm or clients, and visiting app developer booths for solutions that aren’t suited to your firm or clients. Avoid these by:

  • Writing down the biggest problems or inefficiencies in your firm and your clients’ businesses
  • Browsing the agenda for relevant sessions to attend
  • Browsing the exhibitor list in search of potential solutions
  • Researching potentially suitable apps via both their website and listing (taking note of reviews to see what kind of experience your fellow firms have had with them)

📅 Book these in your calendar

Once you know the sessions you want to attend, how you spend the rest of your time at QB Connect is up to you. There are three things we recommend scheduling in your calendar now - otherwise it’s too easy for other things to get in the way, and opportunities will be missed.

  1. Catch-ups - QB Connect is an incredible opportunity for building and nurturing relationships. For specific people you want to meet with, don’t leave it to chance. Drop them an email or message now suggesting a time during the event to catch up over a coffee.
  2. Time for reflection - While QB Connect is a great event, it’s full of stimulation. Set aside 15-30 mins for a solo break during the middle of day two, so you can recharge, digest the info you’ve learned so far, and set any next actions for when you’re back in the office.
  3. Block out time after - Completely block out 27-28 Feb in your calendar. One of the biggest causes of opportunity loss from events like QB Connect is not giving yourself time to turn your learnings into actions. Strike while the iron’s hot - do it on 27-28 Feb or risk getting caught up in the motions and never doing at all.

💼 Pack these

If you want to get the most out of it, QB Connect is an intense two days. Amazing, but intense. Be prepared for all situations by bringing the following:

  • Comfy shoes
  • T-shirt or hoodie with your firm’s branding
  • Jacket / coat
  • Chargers / portable batteries
  • Notepad + pen
  • Business cards
  • Water bottle
  • Gum / mints

During the event

🗣 Be on social media

Accounting Twitter blows up whenever QB Connect is on. If you’re not keeping one eye on the show floor and one eye on your phone, you risk missing out on the latest at the event. There’s a fine line, however, between keeping on top of both worlds and keeping on top of neither. Experiment to find what works best for you. Just make sure you’re following @QuickBooksUK and #QBConnect. (Plus, boost coverage of your own firm by tweeting your learnings and photos along with #QBConnect.)

💔 Split up from co-workers

If you have the fortune of bringing multiple people from your firm to QB Connect, don’t squander that resource by spending the whole time together. It’s sensible to have touch points throughout the event to keep everyone on track and prevent doubling up, but outside of that you should all be attending different sessions, visiting different app booths, and networking with different people to get the biggest return on investment.

🏃‍♀️ Get to sessions early + position yourself for a quick exit

You don’t want to miss a good seat. Otherwise it’ll distract you the whole time, hampering your learning experience. And by giving yourself the opportunity to leave quickly, you can be first in line at app booths or for lunch, so you don’t waste any more time than necessary lining up.

💻 For each app you’re interested in…

Be effective and efficient at determining whether it’s right for your firm and clients. This means understanding exactly how the app works, and the specific benefit it brings. Four great questions to cover off are:

  1. What is the business problem your product solves?
  2. How would you describe your ideal customer?
  3. How many of my clients would suit this product?
  4. What is your certification process and education strategy?

Ask for a live product demo - it can be enormously helpful in building your understanding of how the app works. And if you’re still interested in the app afterward, ask the team if they have any special offers for QB Connect attendees.

🤝 Network like a pro

If your networking attempts at past events have felt a little underwhelming, keep these tips in mind:

  • Relax - Everyone’s in the same boat, and they came here to network too
  • Diversify - Make sure you speak not only to app developers but also industry thought leaders, the Intuit team, and your fellow accountants and bookkeepers (particularly about any firsthand experience they have with apps you’re considering)
  • Strategise - Your best attempts at networking are going to be after Keynotes / breakout sessions, and at gathering spots like app booths and coffee stands
  • Seal the deal - If you want to build a real relationship don’t just leave it at a brief chat, exchange business cards or follow each other on Twitter / LinkedIn

🔍 Save time for a wander

While you should schedule as much of your time at QB Connect as you can, you can’t pre-plan every single minute of your day. And by leaving a little time to aimlessly explore, you give yourself the opportunity for serendipitous encounters with apps or contacts you never knew you needed.

🎊 Join the party

Kicking off at 6:30pm on day two of QB Connect is the afterparty. It’s easy to feel worn out by the conference and convince yourself to skip the party because you’d rather relax, but it’s not just fun you’re foregoing. In the casual atmosphere, with a few drinks on the cards, is where some of the most valuable relationship-building can happen.

After the event...

💪 Make the most of the time you booked out

The days immediately following QB Connect are the most influential in how effectively you transition learnings you made into actions that will drive value for your firm and clients. Make the most of them by:

  • Reviewing your notes (and your colleagues’, if they attended too)
  • Writing down the next actions to take to deliver value to your firm and clients
  • Touch base with contacts you want to nurture an ongoing relationship with
  • Start trials of apps you’re interested in
  • Share any relevant learnings with clients

Now you're ready to make the most of QB Connect

With the preparation above, you give yourself, your firm, and your clients the best chance at getting the most value out of QB Connect London 2019.

We’re a Premium sponsor at QB Connect London this year. Come drop by and have a chat. If you’re an accountant or bookkeeper, we can discuss how our partner program can help your firm gain and retain clients. (For a sneak peek right now, click here.)

Header image modified from photo courtesy of Fancycrave via Unsplash.

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