16th September, 2022

Bookkeeper on tour: A celebration of culture with FCA

This year’s First Class Accounts conference was a truly impactful event, bringing together its network of bookkeepers from around Australia.

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the annual FCA conference hosted by First Class Financial Group in Darwin.

This year’s conference, dubbed ‘Immerse Yourself in Business and Culture’, demonstrated the integral role that advisors play not only for businesses, but for the entire community.

The attendees were treated to an agenda spanning four days, including presentations on the future of bookkeeping and presentations from the FCA business partners who support then to deliver excellent services to their clients as well as a series of success stories from some of the FCA bookkeepers themselves.

As usual the event was also a chance for FCA’s franchisees to catch up and socialise together, with the conference culminating in a gala dinner on the final night where everyone celebrated winners of the FCA awards for 2022.

Ask not what your community can do for you

Indigenous performers at FCA conference 2022
Attendees of the conference were treated to performances from First Nations people.


A true standout of the conference was Margaret Lim, Founder of The Youth Mill, a non-profit that works to advocate for marginalised young people in the Northern Territory.

Margaret demonstrates what can be achieved when talented people donate a portion of their time to community-centric activities, offering an insight into how other bookkeepers can leverage “pro bono” work to enhance their portfolio and expand their networks.

The day following Margaret’s session, the conference held an excursion to the Tiwi Islands, where we were treated to a Welcome to Country and had the honour of spending time with the Tiwi people.

For me, the experience reinforced the importance of our First Nations people in terms of what they can teach us about living a more sustainable life – it also offered the attendees the opportunity to consider how they might be able to apply their own specialist skills to help others in our community.

Digital journey continues for bookkeepers

Leanne Berry at FCA conference 2022
One of my own stints on stage, here I am sharing insights into the future of business management and MYOB.


I also had the honour of presenting MYOB’s research on digitisation and digital disconnection, providing an overview of the six core areas our software addresses.

We had some very positive feedback about what we’re doing to develop MYOB as a business management platform as bookkeepers come to understand what that means for them and for their clients.

That’s because bookkeeping is about so much more than keeping a client’s books in order, extending to include software recommendations, referral and even training.

We know that bookkeepers are increasingly asked to come to terms with things like customer relationship management (CRM) systems, eInvoicing, business intelligence and so much more, which is why we’re bringing them all together into one platform – making it easier to learn and recommend, as well as creating some real efficiencies when it comes to data storage and handling.

Vale Carol Girwan – a bookkeeping inspiration

The dinner on Friday night at Admiralty House sponsored by MYOB was another real highlight, featuring an awards presentation that included the inaugural Carol Girwan Encouragement Award.

The worthy recipient for 2022 is Sham Taneja from First Class Accounts Beenleigh.

As a franchisee for 17 months and commencing his FCA journey at the heart of COVID General Manager Debrah Stanton had this comment regarding Sham being the worthy winner: “His attitude to his business and the FCA system is unwavering, he works hard at building his business and is very conscientious with his work”

This memorial award was given to a deserving franchisee in memory of Carol, who was an amazing bookkeeper and MYOB partner of 20 years.

Sadly, Carol passed away recently, but she’ll always be remembered at MYOB and FCA, alongside all the clients she worked with along the way.

You can read more about how Carol spent her final years touring the country with her husband in this interview we had with her back in 2017.

Wrapping up yet another successful event

Overall, this year’s FCA conference was incredibly impactful. The FCA family once again showed how they are collaborative not competitive.

Not only did it bring attendees closer to our First Nations people, but we were also given the opportunity to deepen our own bonds as a network of peers.

More than just an opportunity to let our hair down, this event was quite the eye-opener in terms of what it really means to be a career bookkeeper.

I can’t wait for next year’s in Sabah, Borneo.