Last month, I was excited to attend my first Scaling New Heights Conference, in Paradise Island, Nassau, Bahamas, participating in 4 days of new experiences with my Mendelson Consulting teammates. This blog re-counts the experience of my trip.
The conference was attended by over a thousand QuickBooks ProAdvisors. Most attending to participate in informative breakout sessions, including several taught by our very own Mario Nowogrodzki – Implementing Inventory Like a Pro; QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions Advanced Inventory (2-part class); and QuickBooks on a Local Network Best Practices.
Just as important in a conference, the networking opportunities abounded, we were able to connect with many colleague advisors, made many useful contacts with whom to share knowledge and experiences. And very good opportunities to connect with vendors as well, where I got to learn about the latest in software solutions for QuickBooks users.\
We also learned about the latest on the QuickBooks ecosystem from Intuit. These are my main takeaways from the conference:
- This conference centered on QuickBooks Online (QBO) and its future. While there are currently 4 million QuickBooks desktop users versus just over 1 million QBO users, Intuit demonstrated the future will revolve around QBO and its users. QBO is a vastly different product than QuickBooks desktop. This is key: Converting to QBO needs expertise, in knowing how to get your data online. This is a good reason to utilize the expertise of Mendelson Consulting to assist when converting from QuickBooks or any other system to QBO.
- One of the biggest observations was the concern with marketing or perception. One aspect of QBO that is not well communicated: If you want to run a business on QBO, you are most likely to also need to use apps (3rd-party add-ons that come at a fee). Intuit stated that the average small business uses multiple apps in addition to QBO. In this reality, QBO is targeted at small business and is a good, viable solution. At present, we are evaluating which add-ons make QBO the right solution for medium and large businesses. There are many add-ons from which to choose, depending on the specific business need. For instance, as we consider QBO for inventory clients, we are evaluating offerings from several software companies. More to come on this soon.
- Intuit announced the new entry level product, “QB Self Start”. Self Start offers pricing at $4/month. This is a good strategy to get new startups on QuickBooks early and grow them into larger QBO offerings.
- Prior to the trip, I was wondering how good internet access would be while at the conference. At the conference, we all found out how critical a good internet connection is for QBO and all cloud solutions. Because it was held in the Bahamas, everyone was dependent on the conference Wi-Fi instead of their cell phones data connection. But the conference area Wi-Fi failed for most of the duration of the event. There were numerous sessions that could not demonstrate QBO because of problems with the internet connection. This is when you realize how crucial the internet is when your accounting data is in the cloud. When there are internet problems, you cannot get to your data in QBO. This is why we advise our clients about redundant internet connectivity when relying on cloud business-critical applications. I’ll be happy to explain more, contact us for more information.
One of the things to which I looked forward was to compare this conference to others I attend regularly, such as the AICPA Tech+ Conference and the Digital CPA Conference. The focus of Scaling New Heights was completely on training and software solutions for QuickBooks clients. This alone made it a unique conference for me. If you attended this conference, we would love to hear your own experience and takeaways.