10. You know that box that you need to get to make your tax software do something correctly? Come on, you know the one. Well, I found it. One of the support specialists during a break was able to show me exactly where it was. Score!

9. This was the first year I brought Alex, one of my team members. It was really cool to watch her get excited as she learned about the tools and the processes to make her job and work life easier.  These are tools we already own we just were not using all of their capabilities. We also saw some demos and we will go back and use them this coming tax season.

8. And yes, I was sold. We bought an additional tax research product. When I saw Alex’s eyes light up I could not leave the booth without buying it! I’ll admit it - I’m a sucker for cool tech and a tool that will make our firm work smarter. A new research tool and two new pairs of shoes came back from Vegas.


7.Periscope(short-term social media video) is an interesting new medium for social business.  This was the first time I periscoped at a conference and had 134 people watch my live stream video of the closing keynote. The possibilities are endless for this new social video tool and I’m excited to continue working with this new medium.

6. Meeting Peter, my new friend, and a tax partner from California who was so excited to share with me his classic Paul Dunn tapes from the mid-90s. He had converted his tapes to mp3 files while cleaning his office.  Because he thought I would enjoy them, he sent them to me via Google Drive the very next day.  I have been a longtime fan of Paul Dunn and can’t wait to listen.

5.  Finding my old tax partner and mentor from my previous firm. I love him and learned so much from him. I haven’t seen him in years. User conferences are such a great place to make new friends and reconnect with old ones.

4.  Meeting up with my Twitter friends, some for the very first time in real life (IRL). I have to give a shout to my #twitterfriends @brownbarr, @cpajeff, @tomhood, @nittygrittytax, @mark_lawler, and all my new followers!

3.  Josh Linkner, venture capitalist and entrepreneur, closed out the event teaching us about the obsessions of innovators. One critical element is a “what’s next” mentality. Josh referred to Coach K’s “Next Play”in basketball. I remember when my husband Chris and I had to go through video training for my son’s team, thinking how appropriate it was for my firm. To me this is just a continuous reminder to focus on the present and move forward. It’s wild when you have an idea and its gets reinforced by a keynote speaker.

2. On the flip side, I have to mention the kick-off keynote. Author and management consultant Geoffrey Moore’s idea ofusing four groups (zones)within an organization to create disruptive change and how to have those zones work together to make things happen was inspiring. It was a very left-brained keynote but set up the day for a lot of innovative thinking. My favorite takeaway from Moore: “Don’t just rethink your infrastructure model – rethink your operating model, and possibly your business model.” Rethinking the CPA business model is exactly what a Radical CPA does.

1. Let’s get this innovation party started! There was absolutely a new feel at this year’s Connections Conference and it wasn’t from CCH. You know Wolters Kluwer always treats their customers well - lots of good food, drinks, and fun evening parties. The vibe was coming from the attendees -they were honestly engaged and wanting to learn how to start down the path of change. Exciting!

Jody Padar, CPA, MST, is the chief executive officer and principal at New Vision CPA Group and the author of The Radical CPA (www.theradicalcpa.com).