The third and final day of the Taking Your Firm Virtual Summit was jam-packed with more sessions to help your virtual firm thrive.
Day 3 Review
If you are just tuning in to our reviews of the Taking Your Firm Virtual Summit, make sure you go back to our Day 1 Review and Day 2 Review. But now let’s talk about what happened on the last day of this awesome event.
We kicked off the day with a Coffee & Chat. I know I’ve said it in the last few blogs, but wow, the Airmeet platform was amazing for these networking sessions. In the Coffee & Chat, we were matched up one-on-one for a few minutes of conversation, and then we re-matched and did the same thing with the next person. It was a super cool “speed networking” type of event, but very informal since there was no specific agenda. I enjoyed my time spent with the other attendees, especially because I hadn’t had the chance to talk with them one-on-one.
Next up was Kellie Parks presenting Make a List and Check it Twice. I am a list-maker, but that doesn’t mean I get everything done, or even prioritize the most important tasks. My biggest takeaway from this session is that “the key to a killer checklist is defining your desired outcomes.”
Following Kellie was Clever Communication presented Keila Hill-Trawick, Logan Graf, CPA, and Kate Josephine Johnson, discussing non-traditional venues for client communication.
Keila shared her journey to build a podcast and her brand, which has led to new connections, new clients, and even speaking opportunities. Her company is “Little Fish Accounting” and her podcast is “Fish Food,” with bite-sized accounting and tax tips for coaches, consultants, and other professional service providers. She also co-manages a Facebook community, Accountants of Color, community for BIPOC Accountants to receive guidance, ask questions, share resources and encourage each other! Her three tips for changing up client communication are to “Just do it! Start it!” to be consistent, and be intentional.
Logan discussed how video can be used to build relationships with clients. As mentioned in a previous session, using video and putting a face and a voice to a name makes clients feel like they know you on a personal level. Instead of just sending an email for engagement/proposals, or frequently asked “how-tos,” prepare reusable videos and share them with your clients. With this session, attendee Melanie Randall, CPA said “this conference has given me the confidence to start doing videos.”
Kate brought us her “weekly office hours” tactic and how to have group coaching sessions. She sets up a weekly recommended checklist, then members can pop into office hours on Tuesday to ask questions; and potential members can check it out for free. She feels like she is truly making a difference, and gives space and support in a group setting for her members.
Then we had a 30-minute block to Explore Vendor Booths and Networking in the fluid space. Next up was Let’s go live with Camari Ellis. He discussed how to go live- to be you, be comfortable, and be authentic. Go live and talk about events and situations others can relate to, go behind the scenes and show what you’re working on and how it’s going, and consider going live at work-events, or conferences. After this session I felt inspired to try more live video when we are out at events and conferences… Xerocon is coming up and that may be our first try! Lastly, when you go live, keep it short and simple! Our Lunch & Learn on Thursday was presented by Jennie Moore showing the capabilities and her experiences of the Ignition platform.Following lunch was Crossing Borders: Working with Remote Staff Securely with Kristen Keats. When finding the “right team” consider:
- What is the skill set you need?
- What hours do you need your team to work?
- Will time differences be an issue?
- Language and culture barriers
- Are you willing to travel to visit your team or have them come to the US?
- Does the company/team member share your core values?
It’s important to find the right fit, then be sure to set up onboarding, training, processes and documentation for the new employee, as well as clearly defining roles and expectations. From the employer’s side, you need to be aware of local culture, laws and customs, to have a team champion in the US and a team liaison in the remote country, and to always have continuous check-ins and feedback for your employees. Remember- your remote team is your team.
A Firm of My Own: The How and Why of Setting Boundaries was another power-packed group presentation with Alicyn McLeod, Amber Gray-Fenner, Adam Markowitz, Denise C. Yelvington, CPA, Jessica Goedtel, Keila Hill-Trawick, Mike Moïse, Mike Sylvester, CPA, Sabrina Cook, CPA, and Vimal (vic) Bava, all asked questions about what has worked and what hasn’t worked for them, in regards to setting boundaries in their firm.
Mike Sylvester, CPA, was asked, “What worked?” and answer was *communication* – he takes on fewer clients and lets them know it. He is all about “eliminating the square pegs” because then there are less people to make boundaries with. If clients are making your job difficult, there are plenty of other options for them out there, and again, he lets them know it. He explained not giving out his cell number to clients, and how adding an automated message on his email and the office phone, can explain the current situation of the firm and when clients will hear back. He encouraged everyone, “if people are violating your boundaries- stick up for yourself!”
Another thought- provoking question asked was, “How do you allow staff to set their boundaries?” Adam Markowitz explained he is still building boundaries for himself, but creating known boundaries for staff is a must. He has made it very clear that the employees do not need to keep up with him and how he’s working, and that they absolutely should not be working weekends! Keila Hill-Trawick explained her game-changing “sick and sad days” which are untracked days for staff to take off when they are sick, or need a mental health day. Both Adam and Keila discussed how culture is very important, and as leaders, they should be setting examples for the staff to follow.
Our last session was the summit wrap-up with Nayo. There were fun prizes based on attendee engagement, comments and questions about the summit, and a last call for the All Access Pass, with lifetime access to the session recordings (go to the event to purchase). Lastly, DJ Scene returned to close out the summit, just like last year. We all had fun in the comments listening to the music and chatting to end our Thursday, and such a great conference.
As a return attendee to Taking Your Firm Virtual, I can genuinely say this is the best virtual conference I’ve ever attended. Each year the already-amazing event gets better and better. I would say I wouldn’t change anything about it, but Nayo will find a way to make next year even better. If you are considering putting on a virtual conference- you need to work with Nayo. This event is the perfect pace, with thought-provoking, inspiring, and inclusive content, as well as ample opportunities to network with new connections and old friends.
What an overall INSPIRING and FEEL GOOD event. We can’t wait until #TakingYourFirmVirtual2023!