The accounting community needs you! Accountants have had a tough time recently. But it’s only through coming together that the profession will rebound stronger.  

This December AccountingWEB will cut the ribbon on its first live exhibition, AccountingWEB Live Expo. Coventry Building Society Arena will host a raft of CPD-seminars and panel discussions and accountants will also have the opportunity to size up the latest tech on the market. 

But more so, the AccountingWEB Live Expo will shine a light on the importance of community.

After 18 months of Zoom and Microsoft Teams, the Expo will be a chance for accountants to close the meeting window and finally meet up again in person. After being starved of human interaction beyond the pixelated screen, I am sure the Expo will be buzzing as the profession comes together again as a community. 

Covid shone a spotlight on the accounting community

Community has always played an important role in the accounting profession. This was none more so than during accountants’ hour of need. The shadow the pandemic cast over the accounting profession was bleak. From the very first moment Rishi Sunak first uttered the word ‘furlough’, accountants carried a profound burden. 

From there on, accountants spent the next several months tuning into those 5pm Downing Street press conferences, interpreting guidance and then rushing to the aid of their small business clients.  

The toll this took on the profession was immense. I’ve heard war stories from accountants of going the extra mile and redefining the words resilient and agile. Accountants worked around the clock, whilst shouldering their own personal challenges. 

At this time of need, the accounting community came together. Thinking back to those AccountingWEB coronavirus Q&As in April 2020 I’m reminded of the African proverb, “it takes a village to raise a child.” 

The entire community came together to lift each other up. At 9am, without fail, the comment section would light up with accountants asking how each was doing and comparing notes on their own technical headaches, as Rebecca Benneyworth answered question after question on SEISS and furlough claims. 

The same story was happening on Any Answers. “This place has been a lifesaver,” said one reader. “It really has been my lifeline - mentally as well as help with understanding the schemes,” said another. 

It's always been this way

But this was no surprise to me - I remember attending my first member meet-up when I joined AccountingWEB around six years ago as a bushy tailed journalist. It was almost like a real life version of ‘Guess who’. Any eavesdropping patrons at that unassuming London bar would have been flummoxed by the conversation.  “What’s your name? I don’t mean your real name…”

What struck me was that although the attendees were glad to be out of the office, they were more than happy to advise others on their latest software discovery or to sympathise over a client headache. 

Coming back together again

And now with AccountingWEB Live Expo, we get the chance to come back together as a community - and, boy, doesn’t the profession need it. It has grappled with unprecedented change over the last few years. 

To list just a few time-consuming compliance burdens, practices have endured the stress of auto enrolment, new AML regulations, GDPR, technological disruption, working hours strained, and of course the never-ending treadmill of Covid support. 

But for some, Making Tax Digital for income tax is the final straw. As the much-maligned George Osborne creation looms, AccountingWEB readers are wrestling with how they’re going to cope. 

There are a lot of questions: Should firms quadruple their fees?  Would they need to quadruple their staff? Where can they even find quality staff members? Should they sack a big proportion of their clients? Would anyone have the capacity to take them on? 

AccountingWEB needs you!

I can’t reveal anything just yet, but AccountingWEB Live Expo will be able to help you with these burning questions. 

The likes of Rebecca Benneyworth will be on stage to dispense her tax wisdom - just like she did during those coronavirus Q&A. AML experts - got ‘em. Technology gurus - they’ll be there too. And, yes, it wouldn’t spoil too many surprises to say MTD ITSA will be discussed and debated. 

But what I am looking forward to seeing the most is YOU - the AccountingWEB community. Thinking back to that first AccountingWEB member meet-up, I know that you will come together and untangle these big questions 

On 1-2 December at the Coventry Building Society Arena you will get the chance to share, collaborate and learn. Remember, the accounting community needs you! 

Register now to attend.