The International Accountancy Forum and Awards(IAFA) are one of the highlights of the international accounting calendar. Hosted in London at the end of June, IAFA consists of a full conference agenda during the day, followed by an awards dinner and celebration of accounting in the evening. And for those wanting to keep going, the Inflo afterparty was the place to be…
Here are my highlights of the conference:
We are proud to own multiple IAFA awards. This year we celebrated winning Cloud Initiative of the Year award, an award we won in 2022 alongside User Experience of the Year.
Cloud Initiative of the Year recognises the most innovative and compelling products and services from cloud vendors. The award considers initiatives where the cloud has enabled organisations to quickly respond to changing market conditions and to experiment with new ideas, products, and tools.
This year, the judges recognised Inflo for:
- Best-in-Class security practices, following our impressive ISO 27001 audit results, and absolute commitment to data privacy,
- The launch of Inflo QMS, to help accounting firms comply with new Quality Management standards, and
- Our progress driving the digital transformation of audit and accounting, removing paper and dated process to improve efficiency and quality.
The award is fantastic recognition for the dedication and output from our incredible team. I appreciate all the work of my colleagues, the commitment from our customers, and the support from broader stakeholders across the accounting profession.
And thank you to our dinner guests who made it a fantastic evening all round: David Chitty (Crowe Global), Gillian Morrison(PKF International), Caroline Plumb (Gravita), Will Blake (Grant Thornton), Caroline Monk (Beever & Struthers), Steve Gale, (Crowe), Daniel Teacher (T-Tech), and Ian Pay (ICAEW).
The conference agenda during the day was packed with topical sessions covering some of the key issues facing the profession.
In my session “Revolutionize your Resourcing” I talked through how firms are approaching recruitment and retention of talent, outsourcing strategies, and the impact of technology. My fellow speakers in the morning sessions shared some great insights. Mark Kozial’s presentation was a highlight for me, talking about the role of private equity in accounting and the impact on accounting firm leadership.
Here are my key takeaways from these sessions:
1. Deloitte are using technology to improve their staff experience. Deloitte also allow their team to exchange public holidays for different days, buy extra holidays, and embrace hybrid working so they can better balance work with life.
2. To solve talent shortages, consider reengineering your processes. Think first about how an improved process can be automated or leverage outsourcing / offshoring before you target recruitment and retention of talent.
3. The title of Managing Partner is flawed, as Partners cannot be managed, and Managing Partners need to lead (not manage). The business model is evolving - driven by private equity investment in accounting firms, changes in expectations of clients, and the removal of geographical limitations.
4. Clients are getting frustrated by disjoined channels to exchange information and communicate with their advisors. Firms can focus on providing a better client experience.
Thank you to the speakers who prepared fantastic presentations and openly shared their perspectives.
When we attend conferences, we like to make valuable resources available to delegates, so they can leave with practical takeaways to advance their firm.
At this conference we gave away the following resources:
- My book, A Better Axe – helping leaders use the power of storytelling to communicate the need to embrace innovation,
- Our guide to Recruiting and Retaining talent sharing 10 tips to help accounting firms make they great staff want to stay, and attract more talented people,
- My white paper covering the Audit Tech Ecosystem a framework to help accounting firms evaluate their existing audit technologies, identify opportunities for improvement, and select new solutions to solve challenges.
Use the links above to get your copy of these resources. Or drop me an email or message to request a copy of A Better Axe.
The night was rounded out with a fantastic afterparty, with close to 100 guests staying on for 1 more drink (or a few more in some cases)!
It was great to see so many people celebrating a fantastic year of advancement in the accounting profession. I met many customer firms from around the world who were achieving great success from their implementation of the Inflo platform.
Steve, our Chief Revenue Officer, even got behind the bar to make cocktails for our guests. And Tony Szczepaniak, CEO of Leading Edge, turning the bar into a dance floor brought great energy at the end of a long day.
Congratulations also to Mr GerkeVan Garderen, Head of Innovation, Joinson & Spice, who won our sweepstake and took home an iPad!