In talking to attendees here (the conference was held in Phoenix), I noted a bit different thought process expressed, than at the CCH or Thomson Reuters conferences. I suspect that difference correlates directly to size and style of practice. The CCH conference draws a fair number of larger firms, which more or less mirrors its software footprint in the profession.
Thomson Reuters, while also drawing its share of large firms to its annual conference, seems to attract quite a number of small firms and sole practitioners. Finally, the Sleeter Group event draws a very large proportion of its attendees from small, independent bookkeeping and accounting software consulting firms. Many of these very small practices are also woman owned -- 72 percent of the attendees were female -- and most seem to service small business almost exclusively.
Almost every attendee I talked to told me of how tight they assumed the future was going to be -- and most had cut back on something else in order to attend this conference, which they termed “indispensable.” Many also told me of a friend or colleague who had decided to not make the trip. That said, the attendees made a hugely positive impression on the vendors. Every vendor with whom I talked reported that this was “the best show we’ve attended all year.” The reason -- engagement.
These attendees are serious. While not taking anything away from those attending the CCH and TR conferences, there is no doubt that the SGASCC attendees worked harder and longer. Period. Nearly 60 percent of them came in a day early for extra cost “pre-conference” sessions and they were all in class at every session.
And, probably most important to the vendors, they seemed to ALL be on the show floor and crowding every booth -- all the time. Hungry people. So many problems, so many solutions, and such precious little time!