Woodard Events files for Chapter 11

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Woodard Events LLC, the organizer of the Scaling New Heights conference on accounting technology, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, but the head of the company, Joe Woodard, says the filing is about debt management, and that the company will hold its signature conference this year, and continue its other activities.

“Even though the company has had strong financial performance over the years, without venture capital or private equity capital we accumulated a measure of indebtedness,” Woodard said in an interview with Insightful Accountant. “To better manage this debt, and to ensure strong and reliable operations going forward, we chose to restructure the debt by filing a Chapter 11.”

Woodard Events is Intuit’s preferred event management resource and training partner to accounting professionals, and Scaling New Heights is the largest conference for Intuit ProAdvisors globally. Its inaugural session was held in 2009, and over the years, the conference has done well financially, according to Woodard.

This year, Scaling New Heights will be held in Woodard Events’ hometown, Atlanta. The event will go ahead as scheduled, and is even expected to be considerably larger this year than ever before. The 2018 conference will host 1,600 attendees, sponsors and Intuit representatives, and so the management company had to renege on some previously negotiated contracts with the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, as it needed more space, Woodard told Insightful Accountant. This incurred considerable cancellation fees, which Woodard Events is attempting to negotiate as part of the bankruptcy.

“Our new, roomier venue makes the show available to all accountants and bookkeepers who want to attend, allows us to involve a wider range of small business solutions/innovations within an expanded exhibit hall, and provides more space for movement between breakouts and networking experiences,” Woodard said in the interview.

Woodard Events has also conducted some layoffs in recent months, which Woodard attributed to the streamlining of the workload around the conference with the use of interactive and automated systems. “For our internal operations, we standardized much of our processes and deployed new tools (including customer service tools) that allow us to effectively produce the conference and support accountants with smaller teams,” he said. “So, with a streamlined workload, I made a difficult but responsible decision to right-size the company, and that means some roles were eliminated on our org chart. Other roles shifted to contracted or part time positions.”

The theme of Scaling New Heights this year is “Tame the Machines,” and the conference will be held at the Cobb Galleria Centre from June 17-20. More information can be found here.

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