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Alan Sugar and Gabby Logan

On Monday this week 4 very excited accountants from The Boss Partnership set off on the 7.08 train from Trent Valley to London. We were heading for a 2 day conference in the Docklands hosted by Quickbooks. If you haven’t already heard of QuickBooks you soon will!

As we headed out of Euston Station we passed Gary Lineker which made Luisa very excited and Logan continued to wind her up for the taxi ride all the way to Tobacco Dock with various “fake” celebrity spotting

First up was a presentation by various big cheeses at QuickBooks– they updated us on all the exciting new developments in the software and gave us a preview of how they foresee how we will be doing business in a few years’ time – imagine a glamorous business woman reclining in the back of her chauffeur driven Tesla giving instructions to siri to place orders and raise $000’s finance for her by Friday – if only it could be that simple!

This wasfollowed by an introduction to James Caan from Dragons Den. James arrived in the UK from Pakistan as a baby (Note his original surname was Khan – any relation Logan?) and built up a successful recruitment company. He was later asked by the government to set-up a start-up loan scheme for small businesses – apparently Mr Cameron expected him to take on this role in his own time with no financial reward and due to the timing of the political scandal involving MP’s expenses he couldn’t claim any of these either!

We had a scrummy lunch then followed a series of workshops and panel discussions on various topics to do with Quickbooks, Marketing, Apps, and other topical issues facing the accountancy profession. All very interesting – it doesn’t take a lot to get an accountant excited about numbers and ££££’s and anything that would make our job easier

At the end of the last session we were invited for Canapes and fizz – rude not to! Angie managed to down the first two glasses in approximately 30 seconds and we all wobbled out to a taxi about an hour later and headed over to the Hotel in Canary Wharf. Admiring the great views across the river we all managed somehow to order Fish and Chips from the Hotel Restaurant – Logan could have saved a small fortune by taking us to the chippy round the corner. The last of the great party-goers managed to turn in for the night at 10.00pm – who says accountants are boring?

Day 2 and we headed back to Tobacco Dock for the highlight of the event – A talk by Alan Sugar (sorry Lord Sugar). He entertained us with a potted history of his early Del Boy style trading with aeriels and music station covers (which sadly I remember all too well) then filled us in on how he built up his successful computer company Amstrad and he stressed the importance of weekly targeting and management information (Quickbooks anyone?) Most interestingly he talked a little about his role in the House of Lords and his input into the Brexit Process. He was asked about his views on his US Apprentice counterpart Donald Trump. Without saying as much he said DT should have had a little think before he started issuing orders and throwing his weight about.

The Vice President of Intuit SasanGoodarzi (The Worldwide parent company of Quickbooks) gave us his rags to riches story of how he arrived in the USA as a small child from Iran after fleeing the revolution in the 1970’s and was raised by his elder brother– interesting stuff,

We were also treated to a panel discussion hosted by Gabby Logan with 18 year old entrepreneur Ben Towers (who communicates with his clients by instant messenger and doesn’t know what a letter is) Melissa Hemsley of the Hemsley sisters (TV cooks who brought us courgetti and spiralised vegetables) and the CEO of the Brompton Bikes (Those foldyuppy things that men in suits use in London) Will Butler Adams – very entertaining

Next came more workshops the highlight of which for us all was a talk from the Apprentice winner Mark Wright on Digital marketing (Not the TOWIE guy as he was quick to state). He gave us his account of his childhood in the Australian outback where he described himself as not really suited to school. He arrived in London with £171 to his name after working and touring around Europe and got a job working for an SEO company. A friend suggested he auditioned for the Apprentice and the rest is history. He now runs a successful marketing company Climb-online.co.uk and gave us all a surprising number of tips on how we can improve our own visibility on the World Wide Web.

The final session of the afternoon presented by Gabby Logan introduced us to Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden) and Mary Portas (Queen of Shops). Bruce gave us his account of how he became an airline pilot and also a champion Fencer as well as a few anecdotes of his antics as an entertainer. His parting comment was that he was about to take a “holiday” and go on a month’s tour with Iron Maiden. It seems life as a businessman is hard work by comparison to being a rock star.

Mary Portas was probably the highlight of the 2 days for the girls (Angie, Luisa and me). Very funny and entertaining lady with an interesting approach to managing her staff – she advocates giving her employees unlimited holiday, flexi-time and home working – something we all like (especially me!). She also describes herself as a “slashy” meaning company boss/TV presenter/mum/wife/writerand talked about how work practices were set to change beyond recognition as the millennial generation take over the workplace demanding more flexibility, efficiencies and free time to spend on their numerous extra-curricular activities.

After the final round of applause we headed back to Euston and the fast train back to Lichfield. Unfortunately Logan booked us onto the quiet carriage – not such a good idea when you have to share with three hyper and slightly tipsy women! All in all it was a great 2 days spent and as well as acquiring a load of freebies we came away inspired and full of exciting new ideas to take the practice into the next phase of the digital world (Making Tax Digital is coming – more on that on a later post!)

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