The ICBUSA team recently travelled to the sunny Bahamas for the 7th annual Scaling New Heights conference hosted by Joe Woodard,  CEO of Woodard Events, to learn from the great variety of speakers and exhibitors, meet more members of the US bookkeeper community, catch up with old friends, and, of course, to host our first ever ICB Bookkeeper Symposium.

Fire Show

We felt there was a lot to take away from the event for bookkeepers looking to grow their firm. In his opening speech on Monday, Joe introduced the conference theme: “The Epic Practice”. Joe kept the audience captivated using stories from ancient legends to illustrate the pillars of an epic practice:

  • Endurance: like Atlas, the god who held up the sky, an epic practice needs to endure, so requires systems and processes for the storage and delivery of intellectual capital.
  • Resilience: being prepared for challenges, learning from them, and maintaining a sense of perspective. Resilience recalls the legendary phoenix who rises from the ashese - here an amazing fire show brought the story to life!
  • Focus: having the right clients, the right services, and a unique offering.

This theme was maintained throughout the general sessions over the next three days, with speakers offering insights on how to put these pillars into practice, as well as some inspiring facts for the small business advisors of the US: Ian Vacin from Karbon mentioned that SMB’s are 225% more likely to succeed if they have a small business advisor!

Luis Sanchez of Intuit talked in his keynote about the imporatance of being open to globalization and pricing based on value, which is much easier online. So, Intuit’s new aim now that more than 1.26 million QuickBooks customers use QBO is to encourage them to become fully online practices. Luis also made an exciting announcement: QuickBooks ProAdvisors can join ICBUSA at half price and fast-track entry! See more at www.icbusa.org/ProAdvisor

Daymond John from Shark Tank was the keynote presenter, and related his story of  a long road from “rags to riches” when he developed his own clothing line to the struggles faced by all small businesses who do not have a trusted advisor helping them manage their finances.

ICB Symposium

On Tuesday evening, the ICBUSA team hosted our very first Bookkeeper Symposium, where CEO Jan Haugo introduced our new community and how we are working to raise the profile of the bookkeeping profession by providing our members with year-round support to help them achieve their goals to become an epic practice. She talked about the importance of education in the field, and gave tips from her own experience at running a bookkeeping business on things such as how to move clients over to the cloud and maintain good workflows when hiring new staff. She then spoke to our panel of thought leaders about their views on the bookkeeping profession: Mark Wickersham talked about the importance of value pricing to make sure bookkeepers are fairly compensated for their work, and Karine Woodman, who is developing a technology course for ICB members, talked about the importance of understanding new advantages of technology and taking advantage.

Team ICBUSA had a great time at the conference and we loved meeting so many inspiring bookkeepers, some of which we are delighted to see are now ICBUSA members. See you at SNH2017!

Learn more at: https://www.woodard.com/conferences/2016-scaling-new-heights-conference