Accounting can be lonely work.
Accountants spend an inordinate amount of time with their head down, crunching numbers and double checking calculations. There’s a reason the classic banker’s lamp is designed to light just one, solitary desk.
That’s why it’s important for accountants and small business leaders who handle accounting to let their hair down, get out into the world, and mingle with their peers a few times per year.
Accounting conferences aren’t just an important tool for networking, but also for earning Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits, getting updated on industry news and best practices and technology, and—because we all need to decompress sometimes—visiting new cities and socializing with friends, old and new.
Accountants also know better than most that you can’t just blow your budget flying across the country to attend every conference you hear about.
Good news: We did the research for you.
Accounting conferences: 2018
Here are five conferences that you should consider attending this year—they are conferences that are in major cities, are open to the public, and have been established for at least a few years. They are listed in chronological order so that you know which ones you need to sign up for first.
Where: Atlanta, Georgia
When: June 6-7, 2018
Cost: $499; pre-conference workshops are $125 each
Why you should attend: More than 20 speakers, including Xero Americas president Keri Gohman and CPA/stand-up comedian Greg Kyte, will present at the two-day conference. Breakout session topics include diversity in the workplace, AI adoption, and cryptocurrency.
2. AICPA Engage
The exhibition hall at a previous AICPA Engage conference (via AICPA)
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada
When: June 10-14, 2018
Cost: $2,145 (all access), $2,045 (four-day pass), or $1,745 (three-day pass). Online passes are also available. You can save $100 if you sign up before May 1.
Why you should attend: It’s in Las Vegas, which is a plus if you like bright lights and Wayne Newton. If that’s not your bag, you can stick to the MGM Grand where there will be a multitude of workshops across seven different breakout curricula on estate planning, career development, personal financial planning, tax strategies for high-income individuals, CPA firm practice management, advanced accounting and auditing, and a practitioner’s symposium and TECH+. All together, AICAPA Engage will feature more than 400 speakers.
3. IMA ACE
The IMA ACE2018 website (via IMA)
Where: Indianapolis, Indiana
When: June 16-20, 2018
Cost: $1,645 for non-members or $1,400 for members. Single-day passes are available for $910 for non-members and $750 for members.
Why you should attend: When your coworkers ask you what conference you’re heading to, you can proudly tell them, “I am an ACE!” and leave them bewildered in your wake. Then, when you get to Indianapolis, you’ll find more than 70 sessions spread across nine specialty tracks, you can network with more than 800 of your peers, and listen to NFL all-time leading rusher (and entrepreneur) Emmitt Smith as a featured speaker.
If you can’t make it this year, don’t worry—next year’s conference in San Diego celebrates the Institute of Management Accountant’s 100th anniversary.
The Accountex highlight reel
Where: Boston, Massachusetts
When: August 22-23, 2018
Why you should attend: You know a conference is big time when it can afford to let non-vendors attend for free. You’re still on the hook for travel and lodging, but the free admission could make Accountex an easier sell to your budget manager. And the admission doesn’t just let you tour the exhibition floor. You get full access to a welcome party, discounted hotel rates, breakout sessions, live demos, walking tours, and post-event workshops good for up to 23 CPEs.
Accountex focuses on accounting technology, but the 50+ breakout sessions and 15 speakers (including a keynote by TrustedSec founder Dave Kennedy) will cover almost every facet of the accounting industry. Plus, those cool green sunglasses.
The exhibitor hall at a previous Quickbooks Connect (via Quickbooks Connect)
Where: San Jose, California
When: November 5-7, 2018
Cost: $299 gets you the full experience with accounting sessions and CPE credits. If you’re a small business owner who just wants to network, listen to speakers, attend general sessions, and learn about the latest trends, you can get a main-day pass for $149. Prices double after May 31.
Why you should attend: Even people who aren’t in accounting have heard of Quickbooks, which is why Quickbooks Connect doesn’t just cater to accountants but also to small business owners who are trying to learn everything they can in order to grow their business. Don’t worry if you just go for the main-day pass—you’ll still get the conference goodies, grub, and access to the post-conference celebration.
What are your favorite accounting conferences?
There are great accounting conferences all across the country, large and small, and it would be impossible to list them all here.
I tried to come up with a good mix, spread across dates and cities, but if I missed any biggies, please share them in the comments, or let me know on Twitter @CapterraAC.
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