From Bottom Lines to Surfing: Our Top 5 Insights from SleeterCon 2015

Gusto Editors

Another SleeterCon is in the books, and it’s safe to say it was the best one yet. The Gusto team was thrilled to be there to connect with our accountant and bookkeeper friends, as well as to attend the inspiring sessions and keynotes.

It comes as no surprise that 82 percent of CPAs surveyed by The Sleeter Group said they needed to better understand innovation. Hence the two main themes of SleeterCon: preparing for the future and disruption. If you aren’t familiar with SleeterCon, it’s the largest technology-focused conference in the accounting space. Weren’t able to make it this year? Have no fear — we’ve prepared a list of our top five insights from the event.

Learn to surf

That’s right. The accounting industry is evolving with changing regulations, technologies, and challenges — all of which will impact how accountants interact with their clients. Tom Hood explained this trend in his keynote, “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” He offered five ways that accountants can become “future-ready,” including leveraging modern tools so firms can offer more to their clients. Read more of Tom’s tips for preparing for the future here.

Relationships will always matter most

Despite technology automating your workflows and making your business more efficient, your client relationships will always be the most important thing. This isn’t surprising: in a survey of Gusto partners, 70 percent said that maintaining client relationships was one of their top priorities. As Tom Hood put it, “Computers can’t have empathy.” So invest the time in listening to your clients and offering them advice in areas they need help with, even if this means expanding beyond your traditional scope of services.

Value-based pricing can increase your bottom line

In one of the most-packed sessions (standing-room only), Ed Kless held an informal Q&A about factors to consider while making the move from hourly to value-based pricing. One key takeaway was that pricing shouldn’t always be based on cost, but rather, on the value you are delivering to your clients. And with value-based pricing, you can capture all the benefits of becoming more efficient with your practice.


Take the time to understand your business costs

One of our favorite talks was Leslie Shiner’s session, “Understanding Labor Cost, Productivity and Efficiency for Service Companies.” Before hiring more, think about how you can increase utilization with what you have, which may be through new technologies. Check out the Shiner Group’s free tool for calculating the labor costs of your business here.

Hiring is an area you can help with

Several keynotes and sessions touched upon the importance of hiring for not only your business, but also your clients’ businesses. Gene Marks talked about how most small businesses are looking to hire more, and this is an area where you can provide valuable advice. Helping your clients determine the tax impacts of hiring, as well as costs of workers’ comp and benefits for new employees, can make you even more indispensable.

And to close, here are some photos of our team having a fabulous time at SleeterCon 2015. Until next year!

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Gusto Editors Gusto Editors, contributing authors on Gusto, provide actionable tips and expert advice on HR and payroll for successful business management.
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