The latest in thought leadership, technology and practice management tools abound every year at the Midwest Accounting & Finance Showcase in Rosemont, Illinois. It’s a hop, skip and a jump from O’Hare International Airport, but I’ve yet to actually hop, skip or jump between the two points. Being one of the largest state CPA society conferences, this event crams in a lot in a short period of time, leaving little time for hopping.
Amongst the highlights on the education front, Teresa Mackintosh, EVP & GM of Tax, CCH Tax and Accounting, North America, packed the large auditorium with an overflowing crowd. Teresa charged them up with the captivating topic of “How to Ensure You Are Future Ready.” As always, Teresa’s insight and observations were highly relevant and important for all to hear. Later that evening, discussing this session with Teresa at CCH’s dinner (where The Curator had a very nice piece of swordfish), she shared with me that, like me, she allows no more than a handful of e-mails to remain in her inbox at the end of each day. I’ll mimic Teresa’s work style and management skills any day of the week—you can’t go wrong following how she operates.
Other impressive presentations throughout the event included “State of the CPA Profession” by James P. Jones, CPA. James is also the Chairperson of the Illinois CPA Society. Elaine Weiss, President & CEO of the same organization, again delivered her annual address on this very topic flawlessly.
On the technology front, popular speaker Dana “Rick” Richardson brought home practical predictions and advice when it comes to technology’s role in accounting practices. Speaking with attendees on the show floor after this event, many practitioners voiced to me that hearing what people like Rick has to say helps them to get a grasp on this ever-changing environment each year.
As with any conference, there always seems to be that faction solely attending for the CPE opportunities (and perhaps the hotel bar). However, I sensed a lot more optimism and energy at the show this year, compared to say, five years ago. Maybe that was a false reading on my behalf, who knows. When nearly all vendors on the trade show floor—everyone from SurePayroll to Xero to Sage—are telling me that they’re having more meaningful conversations with CPAs this year than a couple of years back…well, maybe it’s just pointed in the right direction after all. Although, it could have just been fear spilling over from seeing the eyeshade-wearing UFO at the airport.
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