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Leaving Las Vegas a BIG winner!

December 6, 2010

I just got back from Vegas after attending Accounting Today’s Growth & Profitability Summit. It’s not often someone can claim to leave Vegas a big winner…but I can! No, I didn’t play the slots or the blackjack table. My “win” was not monetary…but rather it was an educational triumph. I honestly feel high from the whole experience. You know, that feeling of utter excitement that comes from true enlightenment.

My time spent speaking and networking with my fellow CPAs at the Summit was priceless. I have a renewed enthusiasm for the profession and where it’s going. Over the course of three days, I was able to hang out with several accountants and vendors who all provided me with new, unique, and profitable ways of doing business. It’s the type of information and insight you can’t get from sitting in your office, confined within your own four walls.

My journey to enlightenment started on the day before the conference with a tour of Zappos, the online shoe retailer. The event was attended by a large group of accountants. We toured the Zappos facility and learned about the importance of a positive working culture. It was truly eye opening! (More posts to follow about the Zappos culture.)


After the tour, we all headed to happy hour, hosted by Copanion, developers of GruntWorx. The iPads and smartphones were drawn, as everyone proceeded to tweet about the experience and check in with their firms. This spurred more great conversation around technology and its effective use by the profession. More enlightenment…mixed with Margaritas!

Conference sessions started the next day. I attended workshops on such topics as Selling Passion and Value Pricing—topics that I embraced in my own firm, though I had never taken an actual course. Being exposed to the information in more detail made all the difference.


The same day I presented with fellow CPA and friend, Jason Blumer. Our session was titled: “You have Your Dad’s Firm, Now What?” It was very well-received. What made our session so great was the audience interaction.


We had CPAs from across the country in attendance—many firm partners and owners who also embrace building a strong culture, understand the importance of adopting leading SaaS technologies, and have implemented a social media strategy.


The Summit proved to be a great success overall—with overwhelming response from various industry thought leaders. Mark Koziel of the AICPA said of the attending group that we represented “a movement.” Tom Hood of the Maryland Association of CPAs blogged about how our group IS the future. And Edward Mendlowitz from WithumSmith + Brown plans to use much of what he learned at the Summit in the AICPA’s tax season publications.


The Growth & Profitability Summit was a hotbed of information exchange. The interaction that took place clearly represented a feeling of true collaboration, which will be a key factor moving forward. We are (and should be) a generation of professionals that encourage collaboration among each other, our staff, our clients, and today’s vendors. The more we share information and knowledge the stronger our firm culture will become and the stronger the broad profession will become.


My time in Vegas proved invaluable. Being face-to-face with some of the most encouraging, motivational, and smartest people in our profession is the best way to renew excitement about being a part of one of the best profession’s there is. I left Vegas a BIG huge winner, which is more than most can say!


Jody L. Padar, CPA, MST, is a Certified Public Accountant experienced with Complex Federal & State Income Tax Compliance for Business & Individuals. Jody is an adjunct professor at Oakton Community College, where she teaches Taxation and QuickBooks Courses. She is part of Intuit Trainer Writer Network and speaks nationally on various Technologies and Taxation. She can be reached at

Comments (1)

We must have been playing at the same blackjack table. I left the conference feeling like a winner for having met so many in the profession who are forging new territory; you among them. It's exciting to see/feel the momentum that young leaders in the profession are gaining. The NextGen accountants are re-writing the rules of a successful firm and the ultimate winners of this re-write are the clients. Who, for the first time, are being valued from a relationship perspective not just the services they purchase from the firm.

Keep on doing what you are doing - lead the charge. We need more young leaders like you in visible places so others can see what happens when you let the next generation start embracing their future NOW!

You go girl!
Posted by eosborne | Monday, December 06 2010 at 11:00AM ET
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