Accountex 2018: Accountancy’s top show punches above its weight
From the announcement of important company takeovers, to soaring visitor numbers and boxing glove freebies, Accountex packed a big punch in 2018.
The UK’s leading exhibition for the accounting and finance profession was on record-breaking form with over 7,600 attending the show at ExCeL London on 23-24 May.
That was more than 8% up on last year’s event – and it came less than three months after the blisteringly successful launch of Accountex Summit North in Manchester.
- Tesla and TaxCalc were among the 200-plus state-of-the-art exhibitors.
- There were more on-trend speaker sessions on subjects ranging from Blockchain to business development.
- The British Accounting Marketing Awards enjoyed a successful launch.
- There were fascinating Hot Topic Roundtable discussions led by industry thought leaders such as Elaine Clark and Guy Pearson.
- And there was an even bigger buzz than usual!
The first day was set alight by the news that accounting software giants IRIS had dramatically taken over Taxfiler, which had the entire accounting media scrambling for their iPads and notebooks.
HMRC’s digital chief Theresa Middleton kept up the momentum by delivering a compelling Keynote session on the MTD challenges facing the profession.
She was supported by a wealth of insight, expertise and innovation as 225 speakers spanning the generations delivered CPD-accredited sessions in 20 packed theatres over the event’s two days.
Veteran inspirational speaker Paul Dunn, who addressed the first Accountex in 2012, has been delivering his message about how businesses can change the world for good since the 1990s. But he still has the power to captivate.
And equally absorbing were the new breed, spearheaded by the likes of Steve Briginshaw and Aynsley Damery. Steve and Aynsley, of the Clarity Project, spoke to a packed Tech Theatre about the impact of Blockchain and cryptocurrencies on the accounting profession.
On the exhibitor front, accounting market leaders such as Intuit QuickBooks, Sage, IRIS, FreeAgent and Wolters Kluwer were joined by Accountex newcomers such as Logical Office, Aon, Spendesk, Campaign Master, Senta and NatWest’s Aptimise.
Zoe Lacey-Cooper, event director, says: “This was the second year of Accountex being under the control of Diversified Communications and we are delighted to have notched up a second year of growth in terms of visitors, exhibitors and speakers.
“This year we had a sharp focus on new speakers (50 of them) and we were also keen to encourage more women to speak. We hopefully achieved a tailor-made programme for the tech savvy, the curious, and the cautious, as well as a bespoke agenda for accountants in business and industry.
“An amazing 45% of exhibitors were brand new to the show, which demonstrates the strong growth of businesses in the profession.
“And, of course, we are thrilled about the 8.5% increase in visitors after investing in a social media marketing campaign, as well as launching Accounting Insight News to attract new interest and millennials to the show.
“With our growing accounting portfolio following this year’s successful launch of Accountex Summit North in Manchester, all eyes are now on 2019, where we aim to build on the relationships established with new supporters such as ICAEW and HMRC.
“Next year we plan to have even more new speakers; we want to look at the profession internationally; and we’d like to see a growth of the BAMA awards. Our focus will remain on MTD with the clock running down to April 2020 and strengthening Accountex’s global and UK brand. And last but not least, we’ll also hold another visitor advisory board to see what the profession wants from the show in 2019.”
But we’ll save the last words for our visitors who again flocked to the show.
Nicola Donnelly, from MEND Accounting in Liverpool, sums it up: “It was an amazing experience. Being a sole practitioner, I learn mostly by reading articles online. So I was impressed by being able to speak to multiple software providers and their customers at Accountex.
“Seriously, if you didn’t go to Accountex this year you really are missing out… I couldn’t wait to sign up for some of the software when I got home. I have dates in my diary all week for calls with different providers!”
She adds: “I still can’t believe I got all this CPD, access to speak to all these software providers, network with hundreds of accountants and bookkeepers at many different stages in their journey, huge motivation and inspiration and the books… So many free books. All for free! I’ll definitely be at the next Accountex. My only issue will be how I can split myself in ten so I see all the speakers.”
Accountex 2019 will be back at ExCeL London on 1-2 May. Accountex Summit North will take place on 10 September 2019 at Manchester Central.