By Gail Perry
Over 800 members of the Thomson Reuters tax and accounting community gathered in San Diego last week to learn about the latest innovations in their software, experiment with new tools, and connect with peers, colleagues, and members of the Thomson Reuters staff.
"It's so exciting for us. Every year we love to come out, we love to see our users, talk to them face-to-face about what's going on in their practices, what we can do for them, and just to see them talking to each other about how they're operating their practices and what new and exciting things they're doing themselves", said Baron.
This year marks the 31st year for the annual event and the focus has changed over the years to include mobile technology. (tweet quote from Jon Baron)
The Thomson Reuters Users' Conference for Professional Tax & Accounting Firms is a mixture of workshops, keynote addresses, roundtable discussions, hands on software training, product overviews, and demo theatres and provides something for users at every level.
"Things change quickly in the technology business, but the goal of the Users' Conference really hasn't changed since we started it back in 1981", Baron said. "We aim to foster an environment that will help tax and accounting professionals learn, network, and gain insight that they can put to use in their firms immediately, and I think that has really driven the success of the conference over the years."
Baron envisions a future where the conferences focus even more on mobile technology and particularly tablets. "Even one year to the next, it's staggering, the amount of change out there", said Baron. Looking to the future, Baron predicts technology will continue in the direction of mobile. "It's already out there and taking off at an incredible rate. What you'll see five years from now is accounting firms totally embraced in it. They're business model would have absolutely changed such that they're operating in both a desktop Web and a mobile Web world."
Traditionally the conference has included a little down time in addition to the training, and this year was no exception. On the last night of the event, attendees had the option to visit the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar, CA, where they were able to get a close-up view of the Marine Corps' most technologically advanced equipment, experiment with flight simulators, and have dinner at the Officer's Club.
The conference included the announcement of plans for a major expansion of the smartphone and tablet platform for Thomson products. According to a press statement, New Mobile CS functionality, coupled with enhancements to existing applications, will provide practitioners with access to key functions and data of the CS Professional Suite on iOS and Android mobile devices, giving them new power to share ideas, present finished documents to clients, and input data in the field.
"With Mobile CS, we have delivered a fully featured mobile app for accounting firms", Baron said. "Partners, managers, and staff alike can access critical firm and client data on the go, input time, make expense entries, and much more. We're now working on the next frontier, which will provide accountants with a firm-branded app that they can offer to their clients and the employees of their business clients."
See more of AccountingWEB's interview with Jon Baron and other attendees at the Thomson User conference.