1. Prepare. This is a great chance for every CFO, controller, or accounting manager to take stock of where they are by asking two key questions. First, where are we experiencing problems, issues, exceptions or bottlenecks? Second, where is our business going? This will lead you to determining what functionality you need to investigate, what processes you need to understand, and which additional modules you should test drive. Are you looking at mergers and acquisitions - do you need to perform consolidations? Are you going global—do you need multi-currency? There are different directions that you will discover if you evaluate your current status and that will lead you towards the sessions you will want to attend, and the topics and questions you want to discuss with your peers. Do not miss the opportunity to prepare!
I started about two weeks ago—just jotting notes. Every time something comes up, I add it to the list. This starts to create a theme of issues and from that I've already picked some sessions. I'll review my agenda once a week until Advantage. I'll also have many questions ready for the folks I plan to run into while I'm there.
2. Attend. If you can manage, send your Intacct power users, your leads, and your managers—they should all attend Advantage. Any exposure to Intacct can be very beneficial to your finance team. If everyone on your team can’t attend every year, consider a rotation schedule.
3. Plan. Build your schedule using the Advantage website and the app! These tools allow you to plan your day around the topics and features you're looking for. If your team is attending, you can divide and conquer. Make sure you're covering all the sessions that might be going on simultaneously. These tools also come with the ability to book personal time. We use this to set aside time for partners, exhibitors and other customers. Blocking out time, even if it's just 15 minutes, is great when you have it all in one calendar. This is also your opportunity to schedule a meeting with your account manager or to meet with an Intacct expert in ‘Everything Intacct'—which is where you can get your list of questions answered. Whether you spend a lot of time on one topic or a little bit of time on several topics, the expert will get you pointed in the right direction. You'll have an understanding of things you can do and can't do and you might even get a glimpse as to something that's coming - everyone is pretty aware of what's coming in the future releases.
4. Schedule pre-conference classes and workshop sessions. This is an absolute must for new customers. We attended as prospects with minimal experience and found the workshops to be great introductory sessions. Bring your laptop and get as many people in these sessions as possible. The reporting workshops, both for new users and advanced users are invaluable. It's one of the best ways to leverage the information in the system. If you learn reports, learn dashboards, learn different ways of getting to your data—leveraging the features that you don't think about day-to-day - you will bring out information and shed light on your company’s decision-making process.
5. Share your knowledge and subject matter expertise. Talk to attendees and prospects. If you’ve been using Intacct, take a minute to interact with a prospect and share your insights. If you’re newer to Intacct seek out customers that have the 2-5 year buttons on their lanyards.
Last year, I had the opportunity to sit with prospects over lunch. Prospects want to hear from experienced Intacct users—specifically about trials and tribulations! Take a few minutes to share.
6. Make your opportunities. This conference includes the chance to meet with executives. The accessibility that Intacct gives you to executives and managers during the conference is exceptional. If this is something high on your agenda, don't miss the opportunity. The entire team is very accessible and will make time whenever needed.
Similarly, make sure to plan which vendors and partners you need to meet with in the Expo Hall.
7. Attend the Keynotes. These sessions help you understand where Intacct is heading. They always help me realize that regardless of the size of our company, Intacct can scale. Intacct is successfully helping a significant number of customers process high volume transactions—I always feel better about our business when I realize that Intacct has already solved the problems we’re going to face as a growing company. The keynotes help me go back to our stakeholders and give them the proof points that Intacct continues to be the right choice for our financial solution.
8. Network! Use the Intacct Community to connect with conference attendees! Send a message, "Hey, I'm here. Want to meet up?" This is a great way to use your time and get to the folks who can help answer your questions or solve your problems. At the various networking opportunities, start a discussion by sharing your issues, this usually draws people in and creates discussion around topics. When everyone is sharing, it's a great way to get exposure to new approaches or discover capabilities you didn't even realize were available. To me, that's the magic of being in Orlando or in Las Vegas—outside of the sessions, outside of meeting with experts - finding out what everybody else is dealing with, and sharing what you've done when you found yourself in a similar situation.
9. Attend the CFO Summit. As a CFO, the chance to be focused on your needs and challenges with Intacct executives is extremely valuable. The ability to ask questions and form relationships with peers, and Intacct management, creates a great advantage. I don't see this at other conferences!
10. Debrief with your team. Spend time after you return from the conference to share what each person has learned and begin to lay the groundwork for where you're going.
Make sure to meet Doug at Advantage this year!
[ Published: October 19, 2016 ]