IPBC's Ignite Conference And Adapting to Change

The concept of ‘find your tribe’ always seemed like a bit of cliché to me. Who was this tribe, how did you find them, and why on earth were they so important? Through growing my business based in the cloud, paperless, and tech forward, I have learned to trust and rely on my tribe. These are a group of accountants and bookkeepers who I know through social media where we exchange ideas, celebrate victories, and commiserate over the bad days. They are my tribe. Or more recently dubbed, my wolfpack. We share, we collaborate, and we will do what it takes to lift one another up and move one another forward. At a recent conference, I was able to meet my people in person for the first time, build and grow those connections, and truly geek out on Fun Shit*.

No matter your industry, a chance to collaborate with your peers is worthwhile. It is vital to get out of your own head, look around, and get sparked up to move forward. This conference is the annual conference for the Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (IPBC) and attended by 325 of Canada’s most dialed in bookkeepers.

IPBC’s Ignite Conference kicked off with a chance for me to write my exam to attain my Certified Professional Bookkeeper designation. This designation requires software certifications, reference letters, years of experience before the chance to write the 100 question exam requiring an 80% score to get designated. I’m pleased to say I’m a fresh new CPB! Please just don’t ask me to calculate your manufacturing costs . . .

What followed was three and a half days of intensive professional development. And the odd party. Starting at 7am and wrapping in the wee hours, IPBC Ignite has over 50 brilliant sessions, inspiring key notes presented daily, and a trade show of 35 app vendors looking to help us all take over the industry. IPBC Ignite is not for the faint of heart. It is intense, exhausting, and wildly inspiring. Especially at this point in time in the industry.

The accounting industry is in a fascinating state of flux right now. There have been two major shifts in the industry in the last hundred years. The first was the move from paper ledgers to desktop software. This fundamentally shifted the entire accounting process. Some people still haven’t hopped onboard, and that’s fine. But if you were to say to an accountant, ‘please process my books with a paper ledger’ they would probably snort thinking you were making a joke. The second major shift in the industry is upon us now, and it is what SDB was founded on in 2015. It’s the shift from the desktop program to cloud based systems. It is an equally dramatic change requiring an entire shift of workflow. It is revolutionizing the entire industry, and we’re just getting started. But things are about to move very, very quickly.

Wikipedia Innovation Bell Curve.jpg

This bell curve is the basic Innovation Adoption Lifecycle (thanks Wikipedia!). SDB was founded around the end of the Innovators Cycle. The innovators had it rough and their trailblazing has made it easy on those of us sneaking into the end of that 2.5%. We’re now in the Early Adopters cycle, and it’s expected that we will reach Late Majority/top of the curve in Five Years .Yowzers. Just like the notion of a desktop software to simplify the accounting process, cloud accounting, app ecosystems, and AI are taking over the industry and forcing it into a major pivot.

SDB is fortunate to be in the cloud and happily rolling along in this new, innovative world. What inspired me most about my colleagues still on desktop at Ignite was they had the ‘AHA Moment’ to realize staying on desktop was doing a disservice to their clients. What will be the Early Majority is now realizing it’s not a fad—it’s providing a better service to their clients; a better quality of information; and the ability to serve their client base best. That said, learning cloud was not the only possible take away from conference.

My most important take away from this conference is that I have to grow my business. While I may be content as things are now, I am doing a disservice to my clients by remaining a solo op. They deserve to have me as the bottle neck removed so I can better serve my existing and future client base. I owe it to them to continue to innovate my systems to best serve each and every client. So we’ll (slowly) be seeing some changes in SDB’s structure.

As for the fun stuff? That was watching my tribe shine. I saw Dianne Mueller draw the line between the horse and buggy, the modern taxi, and the upcoming driverless Uber (hello paper/desktop/cloud). Sherri-Lee Mathers inspiring on the truth and myths of confidence. I finally had the chance to see Rachael Fisch present with ease the importance of moving forward. Kellie Parks led a spirited run through of the Google Suite. My Wolfpack shone like the rockstars that they are, and I could not be prouder of them or more thankful for their daily inspiration.

Know someone tech savvy looking for a great starter gig? Send them my way. #Hiring

*Fun Shit is a reference to Kellie Park’s Chrome shortcut menu, which includes a folder called ‘Fun Shit’. It is mysterious and has not been publicly shown, but the word on the street is that it links to apps she’s playing around with. I know the most awesome people!!!!

Alexis Harrington