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The 10 most valuable events for UK accountants in 2020

Conferences and events can generate significant value

While accountants are busy by nature, and in particular around self-assessment season in January, a new calendar year creates an opportunity for finance professionals to plan must-attend events for the year ahead.

Taking time out to attend accounting or business events can be:

  • an effective way to generate credits for Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

  • make new contacts to learn from, and

  • generate new client work

Additionally, the importance of attending events has been heightened in recent years due to technological developments within accounting and broader business processes. This has created a need for accountants to continue to educate themselves to ensure they can effectively service their clients and companies, as well as remain competitive within the marketplace.

The events

In chronological order:

  1. Startup 2020

  2. QuickBooks Connect

  3. The Gap Masterclasses

  4. Innovate Finance Global Summit (IFGS)

  5. Accounting Salon

  6. The Digital Accountancy Show

  7. Accountex London / Accountex North

  8. Xerocon

  9. The Business Show 2020

  10. AccountingWEB Live

How will coronavirus (COVID-19) affect these events?

With the uncertainty presented by the rapidly changing situation with the coronavirus, many event organisers around the world have called off recent and upcoming events.

To stay up to date, we recommend keeping an eye on the event websites, social media channels, and your email inbox. And always adhere to government guidance on public events.

1. Startup 2020

(Update: This event has now taken place.)

Kick-off the year with one of the UK’s biggest start-up shows. Taking place in London and Manchester, over two weekends in January, this flagship Enterprise Nation event will provide practical information on how to start and grow a business.Β 

At the event a number of the UK’s leading entrepreneurs will share their journey and advice. Specific focus areas include how to build a product-based business, digital tips and workshops on raising money, branding and marketing.Β 

Confirmed speakers for the London leg include:

  • Anne Boden (founder, Starling Bank)

  • Rafe Offer (founder, Sofar Sounds), and

  • Matt Lumb (CEO, Warpaint)

London

πŸ“… 18 Jan, 09:30 - 16:00

πŸ“ King’s College London (map)

Manchester

πŸ“… 25 Jan, 09:30 - 16:00

πŸ“ Spinningfields Conference Centre (map)

2. QuickBooks Connect

(Update 16 Mar 2020: Intuit is now hosting a virtual replacement event called QuickBooks Connect Virtual on 24 Mar 2020. You can sign up to attend here.)

(Update 1 March 2020: Unfortunately, Intuit has cancelled QuickBooks Connect London out of caution, due to the "rapidly changing situation with COVID-19".)

Spread across two days, QuickBooks Connect brings together entrepreneurs, small business owners, accountants and software apps to help take their businesses to the next level.Β 

The agenda for the 2020 event includes breakout sessions on product developments in QuickBooks, strategies for winning new clients, and insights into how to develop a compelling brand in the world of accounting.

Presenters include:

  • Carl Reader (Small Business Expert)

  • Caroline Plumb (CEO & Co-founder, Fluidly)Β 

  • Will Farnell (Founder & Director, Farnell Clarke)

Keynote speakers have not yet been announced but in prior years have included Gary Neville and Lord Alan Sugar.

Last year 89% of attendees said that going to the event helped them serve their clients better.

πŸ“… 3 Mar (08:30 - 17:30) and 4 Mar (08:30 - 20:30)

πŸ“ Olympia London (map)

🌐 uk.quickbooksconnect.com

3. The Gap Masterclasses

(Update 16 Mar 2020: The Gap have announced that, due to the coronavirus situation, they have cancelled The Plan (Wallacespace London, 17 Mar) and The Coach (Horizon Leeds, 19 Mar). Further updates will be provided regarding their Jun, Sep and Oct workshops.)

A series of extensive annual workshops hosted by The Gap, providers of business development products, training and support for accountants.

Their vision of building a community of like-minded accountants who providing enduring value to their clients has culminated in seven distinct workshops led in the UK, held on specific dates throughout the year.

See the full schedule of events on their website, below.

πŸ“… Various (first event 17 Mar, final event 5 Oct)

πŸ“ Various

🌐 thegapportal.com/page/united-kingdom-masterclasses/

4. Innovate Finance Global Summit (IFGS)

(Update 13 Mar 2020: Innovate Finance has decided to cancel IFGS due to ongoing industry concerns around the spread of the COVID-19 virus.)

Taking place as part of Fintech Week, IFGS brings together delegates from around the world to London to showcase the best of the fintech sector.

The event showcases more than 300 leading fintech companies, with over 2,500 senior delegates attending from one of the UK’s fastest growing, and most exciting sectors.

Conference themes for 2020 include the democratisation of finance and a prediction of what financial services will look like in 2050.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Charles Dellingpole (CEO, ComplyAdvantage)

  • Jess Kelisky (CEO, Seedrs), and

  • Olive Prill (CEO, Tide)

πŸ“… 20 Apr (08:00 - 18:00) and 21 Apr (09:50 - 17:30)

πŸ“ Guildhall, London (map)

🌐 innovatefinance.com/ifgs2020

5. Accounting Salon

Looking to get involved in events abroad? Started by Elefant, tech-focused training providers for bookkeepers and accountants, Accounting Salon is a semi-annual event held in the spirit of 1700s European salons - that is, it aims to bring together the most enlightened minds within the accounting profession.

Each year, a new cohort of eighteen accountants are invited to join to help further Elefant's mission to drive innovation and the spirit of generosity in the accounting industry at large.

In their own words, Accounting Salon is: Great food, strong drinks and most certainly, unparalleled conversation.

πŸ“… 4-6 May

πŸ“ International House Hotel, New Orleans, USA (map)

🌐 accountingsalon.com

6. The Digital Accountancy Show

(Update 16 Mar 2020: The Digital Accountancy Show has been rescheduled from 26 Mar to 10 Sep. This is now reflected in the dates below.)

(Update 12 Mar 2020: Due to the ongoing coronavirus situation, The Digital Accountancy Show is currently rescheduling. They are in talks with another venue to a new 2020 date agreed.)

A new entrant to the accounting conference circuit in 2020, the Digital Accountancy Show is focused on helping accountants working in practice explore how technology in the accounting space has the potential to improve their profits and client experience.

Highlights of the event, set to be hosted at Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium, include the Tech Academy (which will consist of seven minute pitches from 46 app partners) and a content strand on app advisory, educating accountants about the opportunity to enhance their offering with advisory services.

Additionally, in the App Village, attendees will be able to book one-on-one product demos with app partners.Β 

The day finishes with post-event drinks at the Beavertown Microbrewery.Β 

πŸ“… 10 Sep

πŸ“ Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (map)

🌐 digitalaccountancyshow.co.uk

7. Accountex London / Accountex North

(Update 16 Mar 2020: Accountex have postponed their London event from 13-14 May to 18-19 Nov, due to COVID-19. This is now reflected in the dates below. It's worth noting this clashes with The Business Show 2020, also on this list.)

(Update 2 March 2020: Accountex have released a statement about how they are handling the coronavirus situation. At the time of this update, the event is planned to go ahead per government guidelines.)

Returning to London in November and Manchester in September, Accountex brands itself as Europe’s number one accountancy & finance conference expo.

The conference brings together both global brands and cutting edge-startups to help accountants source state of the art technology solutions that are defining the profession.

Attendees are also able to gain eight hours of CPD credits by attending over 200 free CPD-accredited sessions delivered by industry experts covering Brexit, cyber-security, Making Tax Digital (MTD) and the cloud.

Accountex are supporting the Women in Accountancy and Finance Awards, so expect diversity to be a key theme at this year’s conference.

London

πŸ“… 18-19 Nov

πŸ“ ExCel London (map)

🌐 accountex.co.uk/london

North

πŸ“… 22 Sep, time TBC

πŸ“ Manchester Central

🌐 accountex.co.uk/summitnorth

8. Xerocon

(Update 12 Mar 2020: Xero has announced they will be watching developments of COVID-19 closely and will take into account government recommendations, always carefully considering the health and wellbeing of their staff and the community. Currently, Xerocon London 2020 remains unchanged, and Xero commits to providing regular updates on the status of their events.)

Frequently referred to as β€œGlastonbury for accountants,” Xerocon will return to London in November 2020.

Little is yet known about the specifics of Xerocon 2020 but, in line with previous events, it is likely to showcase exclusive product announcements, feature talks from world-class motivational speakers (the 2019 keynote was delivered by astronaut Tim Peake), and feature educational content focused on teaching best practice to the 3,000-plus accountants attending.

Xerocon also presents an opportunity for accountants to catch up with, and learn about, new Xero add-on partners (such as GoCardless) in the exhibitor section.

A few surprises are always thrown in for good measure too, so make sure to attend the opening ceremony, which tends to introduce the central themes for the annual event.

πŸ“… November, TBC

πŸ“ London, TBC

🌐 xero.com/uk/events/xerocon/london

9. The Business Show 2020

The Business Show is the largest event of its type in the UK. Up to 25,000 people attend each year to network and learn how to take their business to the next level.

The 2020 event is set to feature speed networking, the return of James Caan’s Investment Den and masterclasses in scaling up and digital marketing from Google, Barclaycard and the Intellectual Property Office.

An exhibitors area will showcase hundreds of cutting edge companies across the world who provide support services to business.Β 

πŸ“… 18-19 Nov, times TBC

πŸ“ ExCel London (map)

🌐 greatbritishbusinessshow.co.uk

10. AccountingWEB LIVE

Drawing on two decades worth of experience advancing the profession through their website and online community, accountingWEB are putting on their first conference in December 2020.

The exhibition will feature keynote speakers, panel sessions, practical workshops and CPD seminars.Β 

The website’s popular Any Answers forum is set to be recreated in the flesh inside a 100 seat Question Time-style theatre, in which attendees will be able to present their burning accounting and finance-related questions to panellists consisting of industry experts, accountants and politicians.

Attendees will be able to get up close with vendors and technology companies by booking Insight Exchange Workshops sessions, which will cover product demos, case studies and seminars.Β 

The full programme is set to be announced shortly, alongside a call for speakers.

πŸ“… 2 Dec (10:00 - 17:00) and 3 Dec (10:00 - 16:00)

πŸ“ The Ricoh Arena, Coventry (map)

🌐 accountingweblive.co.uk

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