XU: It’s wonderful to be joined by Laura Venables, Event Director at Accounting Business Expo and now Accountech.Live. Congratulations on your announcement of Accountech.Live! To start, can you tell us how this all came about?
LV: Accountech.Live is the next evolution of the Accountant’s Technology Showcase Australia (ATSA), a conference we acquired last year. Now, under new ownership and a new brand we go into our 12th edition, re-energised and completely reimagined into a forward-thinking exhibition & fun learning experience. Accountech.Live brings today’s innovations to life, designed exclusively for accountants, bookkeepers & advisors in practice who are in search of smart solutions to improve their firm and help their clients succeed.
XU: The first edition of Accountech.Live will be in November 2018. What can we expect to see and experience?
LV: As a pure-play technology event, Accountech.Live will showcase what’s new and next in the fast changing ecosystem of cloud accounting, finance and business management technologies.
With a totally new look and feel, you can expect to see an array of non-stop, tech demos and innovations-in-action, peer-to-peer led discussions, education and awesome networking opportunities. It’s no secret that Australia & New Zealand are countries that have pioneered and adopted many of the world’s smartest solutions, so a day or two at Accountech.Live will give you access to some of the best ideas in the world.
XU: You now hold two events - Accounting Business Expo and Accountech.Live. How do these events compare?
LV: Accounting Business Expo, Sydney, is our flagship, national exhibition & conference designed for every discipline of the accountancy profession. It covers a wide range of business & technology solutions, services and education at a broad level. Accountech.Live, Melbourne, is a technology-led exhibition & conference that covers the rapid evolution of cloud accounting and the ecosystem driving digital transformation of accounting firms & their SMB clients. It’s all about digital!
XU: Accountech.Live will be held in Melbourne, exciting times! What led you to host the event here and what benefits will Melbourne offer?
LV: Following the success of Accounting Business Expo in Sydney, we were continually being asked to run an event in Melbourne, which is a city widely recognised as a ‘technology hub’. Melbourne is often referred to as ‘Tech City’ after it was crowned tech capital of Australia, so naturally it made sense for Melbourne to host Accountech.Live. Melbourne is so unequivocally on-trend and one of the coolest places to visit in my opinion, so book your trip early and extend your stay - you won’t regret it! Fun fact: Melbourne has been voted the ‘most liveable city in the world’ for the past 7 years!
XU: In May, you rebranded from Accountants’ Technology Showcase Australia (ATSA) to Accountech.Live. What are the most significant changes you’ve made?
LV: First of all, we’ve removed the price tag to attend - accountants & bookkeepers can now visit for free offering a far more flexible, time and cost-efficient experience. The landscape of technology continues to grow and evolve and, with an influx of new software solutions entering the market, the landscape is huge. So, we’ve made the exhibition bigger to better reflect this. We’ve also made it much easier and convenient for international companies to exhibit with us.
XU: What led your team to rebrand?
LV: Accountech.Live is designed with the sole purpose of helping accountants & bookkeepers prepare, and benefit from this unique time in history. The new brand reflects our vision for a tech focused, vendor-neutral and forward-thinking event.
XU: Before you took over Accountech.Live it was a paid event. Do you anticipate any challenges having made the event free?
LV: We’ve made the event free to attend to offer visitors way more flexibility and more opportunities for time-poor business owners and their teams get out, get face time and experience what’s happening in the industry. Whether that’s for two hours or two whole days, the power to create your own agenda sits with the visitor not the event organiser!
XU: A main focus of Accountech.Live is to give delegates as much time on the expo floor. How important is this for both delegates and exhibitors?
LV: The event is designed in a way that is conducive to doing business. Unlike a traditional conference where delegates are essentially ‘forced’ to network with exhibitors during tea and coffee breaks - an environment that can be awkward and unnatural for many - the format of Accountech.Live is much more in tune with human behaviours. Exhibitors don’t stand around twiddling thumbs waiting for breaks, and visitors are not dictated to via a set agenda. This makes way for more meaningful conversations, so everyone wins.
XU: It’s great to hear that Sholto Macpherson will be looking after the education for Accountech.Live. How important is this element to Accountech.Live and how can attendees expect to benefit?
LV: Sholto is the world’s leading cloud accounting technology expert, whose work in this space is respected by the most progressive accountants. Known for having his ‘finger on the pulse’ Sholto has studied the next generation of accountants in Australia, New Zealand, the US, UK, Canada and Brazil and is able to help define what the next-generation business model looks like and help accountants move to it. Sharp, cutting edge content is on the agenda, along with the success stories from other accountants that you can leverage.
XU: Following on from my previous question; how will the education differ at Accoutech.Live?
LV: Visitors can expect to see more ‘tech-in-action’ and more success stories from their peers. Packed with practical and tactical information, much of the education will tie back to many of the solutions you can see on the expo floor.
XU: The Accounting Business Expo team has helped bring the technology change in the accounting industry to the forefront in Australia over the last few years. How do you feel this forward-thinking industry will develop over the next few years? How does Accoutech.Live fit in with this?
LV: Digital transformation has helped power growth in accounting firms globally and the industry continues to experience adoption of cloud technologies. However, today’s marketplace has become complex and expansive, so for many accountants this has created an overwhelming sense of having to learn all of these solutions, let alone who to trust in serving their clients. This has also led to a state of inertia for many firms, in providing proactive business advice. Accountech.Live will better help accountants define their firm’s (and their client’s) future technology strategy.
XU: What types of businesses should exhibit at Accountech.Live?
LV: Any company in the world with solutions that can help accountants & bookkeepers uncover exciting new opportunities and achieve their goals. For international companies wanting to showcase their solutions to the Australian market, there has never been a better time. All you need is your hand luggage, laptop and we take care of the rest. Oh, and don’t forget your sunnies & SPF50+ because Melbourne is hot in November!
XU: It been great to talking all things Accountech.Live with you. We are very excited about how this event will continue to impact the accountancy industry in Australia. Thanks for joining us!