3 must-dos after returning from a professional conference
August 05, 2016

Accountants and bookkeepers operate in a highly competitive environment. After all, the Occupational Outlook Handbook from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the number of accountants will grow 11 percent by 2024. One way for accountants and bookkeepers to maintain their competitive edge is by attending professional conferences and trade shows.

Of course, attending a conference can be costly. In addition to the obvious expenses such as air fare, conference fees and accommodations, attendees and their companies also need to prepare presentation materials, purchase business cards and other swag, and conduct research about attendees. All this preparation can be time consuming, and it's crucial to maximize the ROI of attendance. Here are three things every accountant and bookkeeper must do upon returning from a conference to get the greatest ROI out of the experience:

1. Organize intel
What will begin as a fairly empty wallet and a fresh notebook at the beginning of a conference will be dozens of business cards and pages of notes after the final day. Upon returning to the office, it's easy to become overwhelmed by all the information as well as the work that piled up in the meantime. It is crucial not to give in to the fatigue. Effective professionals will take a few hours as soon as they are back to organize what they learned and who they interacted with at the conference.

2. Follow through
Next, it's important to immediately follow through on promises made during the conference and invitations from other attendees to connect. Take the time to connect with the other professionals on LinkedIn and Twitter. Reach out to people and arrange the coffee date you discussed during the conference, and take the time to send personalized thank-yous to people you wish to maintain a longer-term relationship with. Don't wait for an entire year to pass to reach out, rather, build a rapport with attendees while the conference is still on their minds.

3. Turn learnings into action
Finally, conferences are a valuable professional development experience, and accountants and bookkeepers should take the time to share their knowledge and findings with their teams. According to Business 2 Community, knowledge sharing builds company culture, helps retain top talent and sparks creativity. Consider creating a presentation of what you learned and sharing it with the larger group. To further maximize the ROI of the conference, provide strategic ideas for how to put the learnings into action.

Success as an accountant or bookkeeper requires a multifaceted approach, and attending conferences is part of that formula. To learn more about tools to become a more effective professional, check out Sage Accountant Solutions.

Nexus: G-WEBCD2