The times, they are a-changing.

Sorry to be so trite, but no truer words have been spoken in reference to Sleeter Group’s accounting solutions conferences, which for nearly its entire eight-year run were unabashedly QuickBooks-centric---but no longer.

I gladly attended this year’s Sleeter Group Accounting Solutions Conference in Vegas. Despite technical glitches with the hotel Internet being out for over half the conference, which also affected  phone and TV service (I believe one attendee referred to the experience as “five-star camping”), there was still a very energetic vibe.

The event was full of first-time attendees—40 percent by Sleeter’s count—and vendors, including those that seek to take some market share away from Intuit and QuickBooks in particular—not the least of which was Sage. That’s right, Sage and its Peachtree product were in full force on the vendor floor, with Sage’s booth placed adjacent to Intuit’s in one of the halls (there were two vendor areas).

Were it any other accounting technology conference, having such key competitors so close together probably would not be such a strange sight, but given Sleeter Group’s history with Intuit and QuickBooks, it was enough to give some repeat attendees some pause and was definitely commented upon. Not in a negative way, mind you, as it seemed the majority of attendees were simply not there to learn more about QuickBooks; far from it, in fact.

Granted, Intuit is still a major Sleeter Group sponsor and will likely be for the foreseeable future. They have a great history together. In fact, most attendees had a robust QuickBooks business of their own. But the general feel of the conference—and I dare say accounting technology conferences to come—is that attendees need to know more about what’s out there and how it can help their practices and their clients.

Aside from Sage’s presence, which was strong and even included a general session address from the company’s executive vice president of product and marketing strategy, Himanshu Palsule, there were many others capturing the attention of those looking beyond QuickBooks.

Of note was an entire session on cloud opportunities for accountants hosted by Rod Drury, chief executive of Xero, which many are touting as a cloud-based competitor to QuickBooks and even Lacerte. New Zealand-based Xero, by the way, is making significant moves here in the U.S., after opening a San Francisco office and hiring some key people to run North American operations. More on that to come soon.

Other notable vendors looking for a slice of the QuickBooks pie included ZohoBooks, Wave Accounting and FreshBooks; all of which, not surprisingly, are cloud-based offerings.

Clearly the underlying theme of the conference was that cloud accounting is not coming, it’s here for those who want to accept it, and it’s only going to become more prevalent. And to that end, we are going to show you a good example of who’s doing things accountants need right now and assemble people who can speak on the topic.

Again, not surprising, was that the majority of the breakout sessions during the Sleeter Group conference focused on the next level of accounting trends, such as cloud accounting use and applications, social media, mobile applications, and customer relationship management. This is all a sign of the times and things to come for Sleeter Group and accounting technology conferences in general. For sure Doug and Sherrill see the writing on the wall as well; it’s not just for QuickBooks anymore.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Accounting Today content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access