08 May Accounting + Tech + Bora Bora = Paradise….. #expensicon
In my entire career of accounting, whether it has been at the coal face or working outside of that actual doing of accounting, I never would have dreamed that a Tahitian Paradise would enter the equation…
Well, Expensify, “expense reports that don’t suck” certainly have connected those three things into one experience #expensicon 2018 in Bora Bora.
The idea of bringing people that are passionate about the accounting industry together from all over the world into a symposium in paradise is certainly a brainwave, the list of speakers and guests are impressive and jumping into Day 1 and saying Hi to many of these people I follow, engage on digital platforms, read their published works, listen to webinars, podcasts, and speak is mind blowing, and I am already super excited about the incredible conversations that have taken place over the last 5 days and I have been able to capture some of these as part of The Revolutionary Firm podcasts, you can tune in here ….
In Person, Meetings are still so powerful
In the age of digital communication, remote working, online meetings, conversations are still productive in this way, but you do lose the nuances and connection and getting to know someone from having actual physical in-person meetings. The opportunity to spend 5 days in a relaxed atmosphere with your peers is super special and many new friendships have been formed and many a meeting of like minds!
I spend most of my working time not in an office, traveling and working remotely, so the majority of my meetings are online and as purposeful and efficient as they are, and I LOVE the ability to work from anywhere, but you still can’t beat old fashioned face to face meeting and networking.
Not only is the social aspect of engaging in person and in “real life” a much more rewarding experience, it also allows relationships to be formed much quicker and you also have the ability to observe and understand the body language of others, understand their mannerisms and also simply have a bit of fun….. And that’s easy to do when you are surrounded by turquoise blue water, white sand, and a nice cool cocktail to go with it….
The Power of the Pause
In person meetings and gorgeous settings also provide another benefit, which I believe so many of us talk the talk but don’t actually walk it, and I know I am guilty of that! I love my work so much, that I often actually forget to press the pause button and actually end up on fast forward. I know many of us at #expensicon, Bora Bora lead fast-paced lives, and the opportunity to press the pause button and be present, have unhurried conversations, actively listen to each other has absolutely been something to savor over the that time.
Typically at conferences, the content sessions are jam-packed from sunrise to sundown and then the networking time is hurried, and this is a super important part of why we attend conferences… the connections and business to business relationships that are built.
The Expensify team really do know how to do a conference, in fact, I would state that this is the best conference I have ever been to!
The agenda consisted of two days of keynotes delivered from David Barrett on both mornings, with surprise guest Travis Kalanick on Day 1 and Rene Lacerte, Founder of Bill.com on Day 2. And each day there were mid-morning roundtable sessions, four to choose from delivered by industry leaders from across the globe such as Trent Innes, MD Xero AU, Tom Hood, Maryland Association of CPA’s & Steph Hinds, Growthwise from my own hometown of Newcastle in Australia. You can see the full list of speakers here.
Travis Kalanick’s fireside chat with David was particularly intriguing. Understanding the mindset of an entrepreneur and the how and why people like this do what they do was incredible. He shared his own story from his first venture as a youth in college to selling knives ( but wait, there’s more.. ) right through to the startup Scour, Red Swoosh and then Uber.
The key takeaway for me from this session was Travis’ 3 key points that every entrepreneur needs to ask themselves.
- Do you still BELIEVE?
- Are you still CAPABLE of delivering VALUE?
- Are you about to do something that will cause you serious physical or mental damage by continuing what you are doing?
These 3 things I can honestly say that I have asked myself over the last 30 years of being involved in running a small business, they are tough questions, not only for the business owner but also for the advisor. As advisors it’s super important we help our clients by asking these questions of our clients as well. Having this insight into the minds of business owners is such an important tool for us and is a way that we can also better support the business owner.
Oh, and Travis did share something totally outside the box, his brother is a famous fireman who is well known for rescuing and resuscitating a kitten, you can see it here.
Conference Like No Other.
The 4 days that was #expensicon went so fast, but the thing I most appreciated was the time that was allowed for people to connect. The sessions all finished at lunch and on Day 1 there was structured time for 1:1 meetings, which I used the opportunity to podcast… you can listen in to our first episode with Tom Hood here, which were all recorded from the Pool Bar, and I have to tell you I think the funniest conversations happened when the record button was stopped! But on a more serious note, there are some great stories from some fabulous people and these episodes will be released weekly over the coming months.
Thankyou Expensify for hosting such a great event… can’t wait for #expensicon III…
Don’t forget to tune into our latest podcast with Tom Hood LIVE poolside at #expensicon here