Though registration is down this year, the participants here at the Wynn in Las Vegas attending The Forum for Women in Accounting and The Forum for Recruiting and Retention are seemingly happy to be here and are enjoying the intimately sized sessions that The Advisory Board planned for this year’s double event.

This year was the first time The Advisory Board hosted both events at the same time in the hopes of drawing more attendees here - knowing the recession has forced many firms to slash their out-of-state travel budgets.

“We know it’s lower,” said Gary Shamis, managing director of SS&G Financial Services in Cleveland and a member of The Advisory Board. “We believe it’s lower because most of the larger firms have put a moratorium on out-of-state travel. That has been the biggest effect on attendance.”

Shamis said larger firms that had once sent six to eight people to either conference in the past have sent no-one to represent them this year.

“It’s in line with what we thought,” said Gale Crosley, president of Crosley + Company in Atlanta. “Most conferences are off by 30 percent. It’s only a matter of time to get back to where we were. Our people are our inventory. We have to keep them shiny and in good condition. We can’t cut back. We have to invest in our people.”