Programme

Day 1  | Monday 23 March 2020

9:00 am

Registration and coffee

Please take this opportunity to pre-register for a 15-minute demo, or a tailored advice session on your practice’s technology needs, with one of our sponsors later today or tomorrow morning.

9:45 am

Welcome and chairman’s opening remarks

Speaker

10:00 am

Keynote: Digital innovation, attracting clients and employees, the modern workplace – solving the biggest challenges facing the mid-sized accountancy practices

Three accountancy leaders will tell their stories from the front lines of innovation and change, each looking at an aspect of how they are future-proofing their practices and what they think the modern accountancy firm could, and should, look like.

1. Agile, flexible, personal, healthy – how innovation is helping us to deliver our promises to clients and employees

2.  How our digital strategy is helping us to create a firm that clients and employees want to work with, and for
Abi Bown, Chief Digital Officer, Cooper Parry

3. Developing a practice unencumbered by legacy – our approach to technology, productivity, compliance and the client experience

Speaker

  • Abi Bown Chief Digital Officer - Cooper Parry
11:00 am

View from a private equity investor: innovation and tech trends in mid-market accountancy

Option A – presentation from HG Capital
View from a private equity investor: innovation and tech trends in mid-market accountancy

We’ll look at innovation and technology trends and where the accountancy market is heading, from the perspective of HG Capital, the backers of CogitalGroup.  As a leading investor in accounting services and technology, HG Capital has a deep understanding of the trends in this sector.  Where are the investment opportunities?  Will HG Capital focus on new entrants or incumbents to win in the market?  How much investment in technology and tech talent should we expect to see in the sector? And, should anyone should continue investing in traditional professional firms?

Option B – presentation from CogitalGroup
View from a disrupter in the mid-market accountancy sector
CogitalGroup aims to be a different kind of advisory service, making the most of innovation and technology while providing a personal and client-focussed service. With its investments in Blick Rothenberg, Visma BPO and Baldwins, CogitalGroup is making significant waves in mid-market accountancy.  We’ll hear from this market disrupter about their thoughts on technology, investment, talent and what’s next.

11:30 am

Networking break

Please take this opportunity to meet with our sponsors and/or to register for a 15-minute one-to-one product demonstration or a tailored advice session on your practice’s technology needs.

12:00 pm

The next generation – what do younger accountants want from their firms, from the workplace and from technology?

We’ll convene a group of young accountants and hear first-hand their thoughts about:
- what they expect from their firms in terms of career progression
- what they want from the workplace
- which tools will most help them in their jobs
- what motivates them and how they define career success – do young accountants want to be equity partners?

Panellists will include:
Benjamin Rapinet, Assistant Manager, BHP
Isobelle Bristol, ACA Trainee, Old Mill
Hugo Meakin, Manager, Bright Grahame Murray

Speakers

12:30 pm

Client satisfaction: are you providing what your clients want?

Changing client needs and behaviours contribute to an increasingly challenging business climate. Monitoring these changes over time is imperative to ensuring that your business’ service offerings deliver what clients need and expect from you. The Business Buyers Barometer, an annual study by research consultancy Meridian West, captures data on buyers of professional services, including legal and accounting services.  Meridian West interviewed 1,000 FDs, GCs, and other senior buyers.  The key themes investigated by the study includes buyers’ perceptions of:

  • the professional services sector
  • key challenges and gaps in service delivery
  • technology and new delivery models
  • ethics and sustainability
  • pricing and trust
  • competitor usage

Join us to learn more about insights from the 2019 study and key trends over time.

Speaker

  • Ben Kent Founder & Director - Meridien West
1:00 pm

Keynote response panel: What can mid-market accountancy learn?

Our keynote speaker has given us a view on accountancy customers and their perceptions of us and our services.  What takeaways are there for us? An audience panel will join Ben Kent on stage for a Q&A and discussion looking at how to apply these results to the accountancy market. We’ll also take questions from the floor and via Sli.do.

1:15 pm

The Alternative Accountancy Strategic IT Conference Live Survey:

Using Sli.do’s anonymous voting technology, we’ll take a live snapshot of your thoughts on technology in your practice.

1:20 pm

Lunch

2:15 pm

Alternative Accountancy Managing Partners’ Summit – part one – by invitation only

Sponsored by Silverfin

Managing partners will gather for discussion and conversation, with the emphasis on networking and learning among peers.

14.15    Welcome and introduction from our chair
Paul Richmond, Managing Director, TheGroGroup

14.20    Peer-to-Peer discussions

Focused on how other managing partners deal with the challenges you face, these interactive and informal discussions will follow Chatham House rules. You’ll have the freedom to speak your mind and the small groups allow everyone to participate. Join a discussion and get insight into your peers’ challenges and find solutions to your own.

There will be one x 35-minute session in part one, before the afternoon coffee break, and another in part two, after the break.  This allows you to attend two of the four different discussions.

M1.  Partner productivity

M2.  Collaboration case study: Creating a cohesive system of applications
Frustrated by the inadequate APIs on offer, we began working with five other firms to create an environment in which we can link systems and add on new software.  We’ll talk about our cooperative approach, what we want to achieve and what we’ve learned so far.
Richard Kleiner, CEO, Gerald Edelman

M3.  Autonomy, partnership and ownership models

M4.  Getting a balance between the demand for flexible and agile working with the need for keeping teams connected
Adrian Rodaway, Managing Partner, HPH Accountants

14.55    Group therapy for Managing Partners
Becoming an advisory business

Everyone wants to create a firm offering advisory services but no one knows how.  How prepared are you for being an advisory business? How can you move from time-on-the-clock to an “ideas” business?  In this interactive session, Alex will dispel common myths about advisory services and will lead you in small groups to map out your thoughts and solutions. 
Alex Shacklock, Director, TheGroGroup

15.45     End of part one followed by networking break

Speakers

Facilitator

2:15 pm

Peer-to-Peer discussions – session A

Back by popular demand, our delegates’ favourite round table discussion sessions return.  Focused on how other practices deal with the challenges you face, these interactive and informal discussions are an integral part of an Alternative Event.  They follow Chatham House rules, giving you the freedom to speak your mind, while small groups allow everyone to participate. Join a discussion, get insight into your peers’ challenges and find solutions to your own.

There will be two x 35-minute sessions, allowing you to attend two different peer-led discussions in Session A and another two discussions in Session B.

A1        Case study – applying analytics to audit
Ellie Dignam, Data Analytics Manager, BHP

A2        Getting the most out of Office365

A3        Getting the most out of Microsoft Dynamics

A4        Onboarding and KYC – streamlining the process

A5        The cloud, security and client data – how can we balance control and security vs access to data?
Paul Farrell, Head of IT, Mitchell Charlesworth

A6        Robotic process automation (RPA) – what can it realistically offer mid-tier accountancy practices?

A7        Building a data model to help identify advisory opportunities
Andrew Yearsley, Chief Technology Office, Bishop Fleming

A8        Tech vs health and wellbeing – how can tech make things better, instead of worse?

A9        Getting the most out of Microsoft Teams

Speakers

3:45 pm

Networking break

Please take this opportunity to meet with our sponsors and/or to register for a 15-minute one-to-one product demonstration or a tailored advice session on your practice’s technology needs.

4:10 pm

Alternative Accountancy Managing Partners’ Summit – part two – by invitation only

Sponsored by Silverfin

Managing partners will gather for discussion and conversation, with the emphasis on networking and learning among peers.

Facilitated by:
Paul Richmond, Managing Director, TheGroGroup

16.15    Peer-to-Peer discussions

Focused on how other managing partners deal with the challenges you face, these interactive and informal discussions will follow Chatham House rules. You’ll have the freedom to speak your mind and the small groups allow everyone to participate. Join a discussion and get insight into your peers’ challenges and find solutions to your own.

Each topic from the earlier session will be repeated, allowing you to choose a second of the four different discussions.

M1.  Partner productivity

M2.  Collaboration case study: Creating a cohesive system of applications
Frustrated by the inadequate APIs on offer, we began working with five other firms to create an environment in which we can link systems and add on new software.  We’ll talk about our cooperative approach, what we want to achieve and what we’ve learned so far.
Richard Kleiner, CEO, Gerald Edelman


M3.  Autonomy, partnership and ownership models

M4.  Getting a balance between the demand for flexible and agile working with the need for keeping teams connected
Adrian Rodaway, Managing Partner, HPH Accountants

16.50    Group Therapy for Managing Partners
What’s your true worth?  Valuing yourself and your advisory services and getting your partners to do it too
As a managing partner, you can probably relate to the following two things.  Firstly, when your team strives to delight clients, which is a good thing, it’s easy to end up undercharging, over-delivering or discounting fees.  Secondly, the thought of discussing fees with a client makes many in your team break out in a cold sweat.  In this intensive and interactive 50 minutes, Vanessa will show you how to help your partners and fee-earners increase revenue without having to:
- get more clients
- work longer hours, or
- compromise their value or values
You’ll leave with conclusions about your challenges/blockages and takeaways about how to overcome them.
Vanessa Ugatti, The True Worth Expert

17.40    End of part two

Speakers

Facilitator

4:15 pm

Peer-to-Peer discussions – session B

Back by popular demand, our delegates’ favourite round table discussion sessions return.  Focused on how other practices deal with the challenges you face, these interactive and informal discussions are an integral part of an Alternative Event.  They follow Chatham House rules, giving you the freedom to speak your mind, while small groups allow everyone to participate. Join a discussion and get insight into your peers’ challenges and find solutions to your own.

There will be two x 35-minute sessions, allowing you to attend two different peer-led discussions in Session B.

B1        Power BI for accountancy practices
Sunil Shah, Partner – IT Systems & Solutions, MGR Weston Kay

B2        Case study:  Getting the most out of Microsoft Azure
Richard White, CIO, Larking Gowen

B3        Cyber security – practical tools to help you protect your firm

B4        Getting the right balance between personalisation and automation in client services

B5        Digitising the use and value of data for mid-market accountancy

B6        Getting the right balance between on-prem and cloud services in infrastructure

B7        Case study:  Automation in practice in mid-market accountancy

B8        Hints and tips on how technology can lead to new sources of revenue

B9        How can we ensure we get the most out of our Microsoft licences?
Are we using everything we are paying for?  Can we use more?  How can we keep up to date with what the licences give us?

Speakers

5:30 pm

Networking break

Take a quick breather and grab a drink before joining us for the final engaging session of the day.

5:45 pm

The Samoan Circle – an Alternative panel discussion

We’ll re-convene for an informal and interactive session using the “Samoan Circle” format.  Set up in the round, delegates will gather around a central circle to eavesdrop on a conversation which will initially be between two managing partners and two IT leaders and will cover several of the key issues facing mid-market practices:
- Do mid-market accountancy practices need a Director of Innovation?  If so, should this be one person or a group? What should be the key driver of innovation in our practices – the tech, the software, the employee, the client?
- How can we get a balance between the demand for flexible and agile working and the need for our teams to be connected?

Audience members can join in the discussion by entering the “inner discussion circle” and sitting down. 

Speaker

6:30 pm

Chairman’s closing remarks and end of day one

7:30 pm

Drinks reception

8:00 pm

Dinner and entertainment followed by overnight stay

Day 2 | Tuesday 24 March 2020

9:15 am

Registration and morning and coffee

9:45 am

Chairman’s welcome and opening remarks

10:00 am

Tech in accountancy: Evolution or revolution? Threat or opportunity?

Formerly Microsoft’s business and digital transformation specialist, now in a new role as Director at Cooper Parry IT, Robert Pope will give us the benefit of his unique perspective on the accountancy technology market:
- Accountancy practices should not be waiting for an evolution of how practices and tech vendors work together
- Your customers (clients?) are transforming digitally – you are uniquely placed to support and impact that transformation
- AI/ML/cognitive services pose a much bigger threat to the industry and to vendors than most yet recognise
- These techs orgs offer a huge opportunity for accountancy practices to develop, drive revenue and transform from within.

Speaker

  • Robert Pope formerly Business & Digital Transformation Specialist, Microsoft and Director - Cooper Parry IT
10:30 am

How will technology businesses serve the modern accountancy practice?

We ask three leaders of technology business to tell us how they are preparing to meet the needs of their future users (our employees), our future clients and our future accountancy practices.  Our speakers will give us insight into their long-term strategies, considering their approaches to:
- APIs and ways to help us link various technologies into a coherent ecosystem
- helping us to access and use our data within their systems
- collaboration with practices and between practices
- supporting our move from compliance to advisory

Speakers

11:10 am

Networking break

11:40 am

New times, new roles: my life in data science in professional services

We bring you a conversation between a data scientist in the accountancy sector and a data scientist in consulting engineering, talking about their organisation’s differing approaches to data and analytics and what the two sectors can learn from each other.

12:10 pm

Behavioural science masterclass: Developing and embedding a culture of innovation

You need to change deeply embedded cultural habits and drive new behaviours in your practice.  But how can you build autonomy, continuous improvement and innovation into a job that is about ticking boxes? More importantly, are you ready to change your own behaviours?

This interactive session has been designed by leading behavioural scientists to help you get a fresh perspective on how to make the process of 'culture change' something practical and tangible. By focusing initially on the leadership behaviours you personally want to nurture and turn into habits, we'll spend 60 minutes exploring how to apply the science of behaviour change to create new habits. Over the course of an immersive 60 minutes you will:

  • Define the behaviours you need to see to achieve strategic success
  • Uncover the barriers holding you back
  • Learn how to apply behavioural science to create 'nudges' that will help you form new habits

Leave with a simple process for your toolbox to help you plan for behaviour change in your organisation

This perspective helps you zoom out, avoid the technology trap and identify the opportunities that will shift performance.  You’ll learn to apply proven, repeatable concepts to drive behaviour change with greater success.

Speaker

1:10 pm

Close of conference followed by lunch

 

If you have an interesting story to tell and would like to join our speaker panel, please contact:
Sarah Katherine Bagshaw, Co-Founder/Director, Alternative Events
07701 091 664
Sarahkatherine.bagshaw@alternativeevents.co.uk