How to Form an Accountant's Meetup Groups in Your Area
All over the United States, QuickBooks® professionals are getting together in informal groups to find mentors, jobs, clients, staff and most importantly, mutual support. QuickBooks professionals are reaching out to each other and building relationships that allow them to focus their practices on what they do best or the work they enjoy most. Instead of personally trying to meet their client’s every need, we’re teaming up, with everyone honing in on their unique specialty so they can collectively serve up any size or flavor of “QuickBooks help.”
Click on the link to find a QuickBooks meetup group near you: QuickBooks® Meetup Groups.
Here’s what Amy Lazenby, product manager for the QuickBooks ProAdvisor® Program, says about the success of ProAdvisors who connect with their peers in an article she wrote in December 2011: “I’ve talked to hundreds of ProAdvisors over the last year in an effort to learn how we can improve the program to help members achieve their business goals. In doing so, I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon. ProAdvisors, who are well connected with their peers, tend to have healthier practices, happier clients and enjoy their work more. There’s no science or statistics behind my observations, but connecting with like-minded people seems to have a powerful impact in boosting happiness, solving problems and building practices.”
The NW QuickBooks Meetup Groups got started when the employees at my QuickBooks consulting company wanted to keep getting together, even after they had moved on to starting their own firms or individual QuickBooks consulting practices. After learning a lot together over the years, we didn’t want to lose the spark that kept our creative fires burning. We knew that, at the end of the day, nobody shares our enthusiasm for figuring out a new way to do something faster, or better, with QuickBooks. Our friends and families don’t get excited when we say, “You won’t believe what I did in QuickBooks today!” Without each other to engage with and challenge, we feared we would become less interested in our work, and eventually our technical skills would be as outdated as Microsoft Money.
So, we met for happy hour at the Pike Place Market, an upscale spot near the waterfront. Why not enjoy a snack and a delicious beverage while you engage your brain with a new process, add-on, service or idea? You could discover something can be done in QuickBooks that you didn’t think possible before you had the conversation that triggered the spark. This kind of environment is exactly what Jonah Lehrer says is the “root of creativity” in his book, Imagine: “Because the act of invention is often a collaborative process-we are inspired by other people-it’s essential that we learn to collaborate in the right way.”
What are our QuickBooks Meetups like? (Watch this short QuickBooks Meetup video). We introduce ourselves and then we talk. The introductions, alone, are invaluable because we challenge ourselves to describe what our QuickBooks consulting practices are all about. Our groups are based on the principle of mutual support, meaning that each of the group’s members has something of value to contribute, and rarely does the group call in “experts” at get-togethers.
Instead, we share information, resources, laughs, advice and sometimes even clients. While we keep each other informed about QuickBooks training opportunities and changes to the QuickBooks programs that affect us all, we mostly get together to share in an environment of mutual respect, understanding and encouragement. Everyone who makes QuickBooks their business, from data-entry level bookkeepers to long-time QuickBooks trainers, troubleshooters, CPAs and software programmers, has something to offer and share at our QuickBooks meet-ups.
Occasionally, we have a sponsor such as Intuit’s Merchant Services, the Intuit Accounting Professionals Trainer/Writer Network or a product like Concur that integrates with QuickBooks. These companies buy our meals, and in turn, we listen to a 20-minute or less presentation. Although training and information is definitely a valuable benefit of the meetup groups, it’s the peer mentoring and support that we keep coming back for.
How Make Your Meetup a Success:
- Food/Beverages: However you make it happen, food and/or beverages are a must!
- Structure: It doesn’t have to be much; in fact less is often better, but your meetings should have some kind of continuity.
- Clear Expectations: It’s the individual members that make peer support successful, so make sure that the individuals at your meetup are the right fit for the group.
Bookkeeping and consulting work can be really isolating. Plus, we are in a field that has no end to the knowledge and skills that can be gained. It’s an ever-changing environment with end-users accomplishing unpredictable results, so we can’t know it all. The best we can do is to know who or where to go for the answer to a problem, and we can’t be afraid to reach out to our peers for help. Working collaboratively, everyone benefits.