May 26th 2011
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Reflecting a 30 percent increase in attendance over last year, Joe Woodard's Scaling New Heights conference attracted just over 500 attendees this week at the JW Marriott Resort and Spa in Las Vegas. Scaling New Heights is a conference geared toward helping QuickBooks practitioners grow their business, expand their consulting services, prepare for certification exams, and network with their peers from around the world.
The name of the conference, Scaling New Heights, reflects conference host Joe Woodard's vision. "There are a lot of people who have been doing QuickBooks consulting like I have for over a decade, or at least over five years. And they really really know their stuff. We were having fewer and fewer choices about where we could go and be really challenged educationally within the QuickBooks ecosystem," explained Woodard. "So I wanted to create a conference event that would give us a place to go and learn, not just a place to go and network or a place to go and teach others, but a place to go and learn. So the vision was for the people who are already high to scale new heights."
Woodard is president of Creative Financial Software, a QuickBooks and Peachtree consulting firm based in Atlanta. He designed the conference based on the needs and successes of his own business. "I know what's worked very well for me and my peers who have taken QuickBooks and added on a lot of strategic third party apps, so in building Scaling New Heights, I let the conference reflect my practice to say, okay this worked for me, I believe it will work for you."
Conference participants can follow their choice of training tracks, including advanced QuickBooks training, ISP certification and sales training, Reports, QuickBooks Point of Sale, Fishbowl, ACCTivate!, Method training (beginning and advanced), and business development. Some of the tracks prepare participants for certification.
Woodard explained that in his vision for the conference there are two levels of scaling new heights. "One is that we scale new heights in our knowledge. The other is that we scale new heights in the caliber of our clientele. Scaling New Heights is also about making a move to the mid market."
"I picked the tracks that would empower people to move to the mid market, get new consulting opportunities." Woodard continued. "So many times we go to these [conferences] and we learn all these great facts and tips, it's fantastic for professional education, but we don't make any money from it. The return on investment is professional, it's not economic, and I wanted ROI that is both, where people can leave this conference and having done 18 hours of QuickBooks point of sale or having done 8 hours of Method or 16 hours of Fishbowl, whatever their choice is, and be empowered to consult."
In addition to the training, the networking opportunities abound at Scaling New Heights. It's unusual for the sole or small practitioner to have an opportunity to join forces with colleagues from around the world, share ideas, and learn from one another.
There might be a tendency to compare Scaling New Heights to the annual Sleeter Accounting Solutions Conference, another conference geared toward QuickBooks practitioners. "I started this conference because I saw a place to create something comparable to [the Sleeter conference], not competitive with it. [The Sleeter conference] focuses a lot on business development, future technologies, broad scope concepts, and that is a brilliant move for that conference to take, while still providing great QuickBooks training. Scaling New Heights, though it may pick up a few of those things ancillary, it will forever and always be a series of tech workshops in a conference environment. And that’s probably the largest distinction between the two," said Woodard.