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Transform, Motivate & Ban Excuses!

Posted by Richard Francis on 07 Mar 2017

The inaugural Transform Summit is over and what an event to reflect back on!

When I founded Spotlight Reporting 6 years ago, I’ve always dreamt of holding a conference for the progressive thinkers of the industry. To now be at the scale and cadence to not only organise and host, but to attract great talent was humbling and exciting in equal measure.

Wellington was the obvious host city - our home town - and boy did it deliver a cracker of a week for our guests. Flying in from the UK, Hong Kong, Australia and other New Zealand cities, there may have been whispers that Wellington could be a bit edgy, weather-wise. Not a bar of it - we had sunshine, gentle breezes and the twinkling azure of the harbour was the order of the day.

Transform kicked off with our first Australian Spotlight subscriber, Xero Award-winner, and awesome accounting thought-leader Steph Hinds introducing me. Getting the ball rolling, I challenged my peers to #ban_excuses and grow perfect advisory firms. Transformation is about moving out of comfort zones, delivering what the customer needs and then deploying the myriad resources required to make it happen. You can view my presentation 'Transform, Seize Opportunity, Grow Perfect', PDF.

It was then a thrill to introduce Kevin Biggar, whose adventures trekking to the South Pole and rowing across the Atlantic had us all on the edge of our seats. Kevin's amazing journey from couch potato to endurance athlete was not only fascinating, but cleverly woven into the theme of transformation and success.

Steph Hinds was back for a very useful and engaging exploration of leadership. Leadership of course is a key ingredient in transformation and Steph used many examples from her own successful Growthwise practice to illustrate the steps required to take a practice, team and client base to the next level. Download Steph's presenation 'Being a Strong Transformative Leader', PDF.

Viv Brownrigg and Mark Jenkins have carved an enviable following in the industry via their brainchild, The Gap. Outlining the systems and processes that underpin transformation, Viv and Mark offered a step by step exploration of how fundamental change can be implemented by accounting decision-makers. Lots of food for thought. Download Viv and Mark's presentation 'Achieving Seamless Monthly Recurring BD Revenue', PDF.

Around a coffee table, our Super VCFO Panel talked about pricing, packages, virtual CFO work and more. Mark Talbot (Deloitte), Steph Hinds (Growthwise), Paul Gardner (Fresh Accounting) and Lisa Callaghan (Interactive Accounting) talked about how they use a mix of Spotlight tools to drive new revenue and deeper client engagement.

Our CSO David New then put the questions to our Gold Sponsors, Practice Ignition (represented by CEO/Founder Guy Pearson) and SimPro (with Richard Pratley, NZ GM in the hot chair). Both Guy and Richard explained how their popular and highly regarded software was driving 'transformation in the trenches'.

Xero's new Chief Partnership Officer Anna Curzon led us on an exploration of emerging opportunities in the Fintech sector. Sharing Xero research, Anna underlined how "trusted" the accounting profession are compared to other professionals, and how we need to move that from just the world of compliance to the opportunity of advisory services. Download Anna's presentation 'Better Together - The Network Effect', PDF.

Finishing off an action-packed conference, it was an honour to welcome Sir Ray Avery - scientist, author, social entrepreneur. As a former New Zealander of the Year and Knight of the realm, Sir Ray brought an insightful and irreverent twist to the need for better imagination and creativity in our business sectors. He dared us to dream, believe, build business families not corporations - and to use our remaining days as fruitfully as we can.

Over dinner on the Wellington waterfront, we celebrated a number of firms that have really gone to the next level in terms of advisory services and Spotlight Reporting expertise and deployment:

Enterprise Winner - Deloitte New Zealand

(short-list: PwC Next, KPMG New Zealand, KPMG Australia, RightWay)

1 Enterprise Partner - Deloitte_Transform Summit awards_Spotlight Reporting-278595-edited.jpg

Super VCFO Winner - Laurenson CA

(short-list: Valued, The Wow Company, Bluerock, Interactive Accounting)

2 Super VCFO Partner - Laurenson CA_Transform Summit awards_Spotlight Reporting-624831-edited.jpg

Small Firm Winner - Growthwise

(short-list: Inform, Ezebiz, Kinder Pocock, Omiga)

3 Small Practice - Growthwise_Transform Summit awards_Spotlight Reporting-753689-edited.jpg

Emerging Firm Winner - Fresh Accounting

(short-list: Polson Higgs, Cornish Accounting Solutions, Bellingham Wallace, Maisey Harris)

4 Emerging Partner - Fresh Accounting_Transform Summit awards_Spotlight Reporting-329784-edited.jpg

A huge congratulations to the winners and nominees.

And finally, a huge hanks not only to the attendees at Transform! but to my awesome team too. The Spotlight crew are true believers in transformation, which is why we'll be back next year for Transform Summit 2018!

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