NZQBA conference


5th July, 2022

Bookkeeper on tour: Live at the NZQBA conference

Leanne Berry continues her travels, this time catching up with Kiwi bookkeepers and speaking at the NZQBA conference.

About a month ago now I had the honour of attending and speaking at the New Zealand Qualified Bookkeepers Association (NZQBA) conference held at the Hilton Hotel in Auckland. Not only was it amazing to head across the ditch to spend time with my Kiwi counterparts, but the conference proved just how switched on the next generation of young bookkeepers are there.

After all, the NZQBA is led by the CEO of The Career Academy, Daniel Hunt, who has a knack for finding great student talent and helping them formalise career pathways with the assistance of the Career Academy. Hunt offers a bookkeeping course, but he also started the NZQBA in the past two years for the specific purpose of helping newly qualified bookkeepers find their feet in the industry.

The results are tangible. Not only has the NZQBA reached 1000 members in a short period of time, Hunt believes they’re on the path to double that figure in the next 12 months. And while there was only a subset of this number in attendance of the NZQBA conference this year, their excitement and enthusiasm to learn for their future success was really incredible.

Even the fact it was a hybrid event didn’t put a dampener on the atmosphere. In that sense, I think it’s one of the more successful hybrid events I’ve seen so far, with the virtual audience (around 50 percent of all attendees on the day), competing with the live audience in terms of crowd engagement.

Marketing in an online world

The main purpose of my attendance that day was to co-host a panel discussion with my colleague, MYOB Campaign Marketing Manager, Richard Holstein, where we were also joined by Gregor Jamieson from Digital Popcorn and Helen Steemson of Words for Breakfast to discuss modern marketing techniques for small businesses.

NZQBA conference panel
From left to right: Leanne Berry, Gregor Jamieson (Digital Popcorn), Helen Steemson (Words for Breakfast) and our very own Richard Holstein. Photo: Supplied.

Our aim was to demystify the marketing landscape and instil confidence in our audience that they can successfully generate more business for themselves with the right approach. Overall, the discussion was really well received and prompted a slew of questions from the audience.

Here’s a sample of some of the topics discussed:

  • From the early days of door knocking to social media – In some ways, the more things change the more they stay the same and that’s certainly true of the attitude of the modern marketer being as dedicated to making deeper, more personal connections
  • Relationship building means going beyond online – We may have gotten used to remote work, but forging deeper relationships requires bookkeepers to seek face-to-face engagements when possible in order to deliver authenticity and foster trust
  • Networking tips for getting your brand out there – Many of the audience members were already using social networks and digital marketing tools, so pointing them towards ‘old school’ networking opportunities offered a new set of options. Things like joining your local Chamber of Commerce or business network group are an excellent way to develop offline connections

We also chatted at length about considerations for making certain your online and physical brand presence align.

It might sound alien to a more traditional mindset, but marketing a small business often means relying on your own personal brand to help spread your message.

In doing this, many people forget that their website and social media profiles should align closely with your own personal style, your office and whatever other physical artifacts your audiences are likely to come in contact with.

Around the grounds

Beyond the panel discussion, there were plenty of other conversations, learning opportunities and coffee catchups to be had.

MYOB had a prominent stand on the showroom floor as always, and this became a bit of a focal point for attendees at various times throughout the day. Many of the attendees were thirsty for information on MYOB products and what we can offer them, including details of our recently revamped Partner Program.

Bookkeepers, like accountants, face some very serious challenges when it comes to their own digital journey, which are only compounded by trying to bring their clients along with them. Being able to address these concerns with a mixture of education such as was presented at the conference, or what’s on offer via MYOB Academy, plus the judicious application of the right software, meant there was a lot for attendees to be talking to us about – it’s fair to say the conference was quite the workout for not only the legs, but also the jaw.

And, of course, there’s more to come. While I’m back in Australia for a few weeks, I’ll be returning to NZ at the end of July for Bookkeepcon as hosted by ICNZB. Stay tuned.