It didn’t take long for Art Bowman, formerly of Bowman’s Accounting Report, to resurface, following his abrupt departure in July from his eponymous newsletter.

Word came yesterday that the Advisory Group, a consortium of accounting industry consultants like Allan Koltin, Jay Nisberg and Troy Waugh, has invited Bowman to speak at its annual “Winning is Everything” conference in January in Las Vegas.

That’s got to be a burr in the side of Hudson Sawyer president Martha Sawyer (Bowman’s former boss), who’s also holding her annual Management Symposium in January, in Las Vegas.

While the Advisory Group’s conference is only three years old, as opposed to Sawyer’s 12-year-old gathering, both groups are seeking attendees from the same small and mid-sized managing and key partners’ pool.

In the past, many firms attended the more well-known Management Symposium because Art’s name was attached to it. The Advisory Group of course realizes this, and seized the opportunity to grab more market share by sending out a press release yesterday announcing Art’s addition to the speaker list.

Of course the fact that Bowman is speaking there at all is interesting, since last year, Bowman publicly aimed some potshots at the Advisory Board conference in a public forum. Not that his rivals didn’t give as good as they get. Koltin may have bruised Sawyer’s feelings when he was quoted after Art’s departure as saying Bowman -not Martha- was the famous brand at the organization.

But Sawyer’s a savvy businesswoman. She apparently asked Koltin to speak at the symposium this year – but was turned down.

Whether Bowman ever becomes a full-fledged Advisory Board member probably has a lot riding on this conference. He’ll have to overcome some bad blood, and prove himself to his new peers. His rainmaking ability for the conference might be an initiation rite to get into the exclusive club (where it’s been said that all principals earn at least $300,000 per year).

When all is said and done, both conferences offer great speakers (Sawyer has marketing guru August Aquila and noted New Mexico consultant Steve Erickson lined up) topics and setting (who doesn’t love Las Vegas?) and those attending either should get their money’s worth.

Got some extra cash in the budget this year? Go to both. You’ll learn solid practice management tools from some of the best in the business, hobnob with your peers – and if you play your cards right, you might even discover the untold story behind Bowman’s job change. That’s worth the price of admission in my book.

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