By Deanna C. White
As the owner of the independent consulting firm Sargent Consulting Group, LLC, in Mokena, Illinois, Brad Sargent's duties include more than simply serving as his company's head financial officer. These days, he's also the firm's head IT guy.
"In this new millennium, a five-person firm needs to use the same technology as a 2,000-person firm", Sargent said. "As a small business owner, I need to stay abreast of emerging technology because I'm the guy who's buying it."
So where does a CPA or a small business practitioner like Sargent go to learn about the latest technology trends?
Sargent is just one of the nearly 2,100 business and finance professionals who will descend on the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois, August 23-24, for the Illinois CPA Society (ICPAS) Midwest Accounting & Finance Showcase.
"As far as state accounting society shows go, the ICPAS Showcase is one of the biggest and one of the best", said Sargent, who plans to take his entire firm to the Showcase. "The information it provides on emerging trends and emerging technologies is very valuable to a small business practitioner like me."
In its thirty-one year history, the ICPAS Showcase has grown into one of the largest and most popular state accounting society shows in the country, according to Wendy Sech, Director of Education for the ICPAS. Since its inception, the Showcase has grown from drawing attendees from Illinois and throughout the Midwest, to attracting visitors from twenty-eight U.S. states as well as Canada and the United Kingdom.
Sech is certain that the society's thirty-one years of in-house management expertise and its ability to draw top-notch speakers to address hot business topics have contributed to the Showcase's premier reputation. She also believes that the location of the Showcase, less than five minutes from O'Hare International Airport, is part of the attraction.
Another draw, Sech said and Sargent concurred, is the affordability of the CPE. This year's Showcase features two days of educational sessions offering up to 16 hours of CPE for $285.
Attendees can select CPE sessions from nine educational tracks:
- Accounting and Auditing
- Corporate Finance
- CCH Educational Center
- Technology Walking Tour
- Intuit Academy
- Practice Management
The ICPAS is constantly revising its curriculum to provide the most relevant content. Timely topics are covered this year in such sessions as:
- Healthcare Reform: Health Insurance Issues Every CPA Should Know
- Consuming Content on Tablets, Smartphones, and Netbooks
- Sustainability Accounting: I Don't Have Time To Be Green
Keynote sessions are geared around issues impacting today's rapidly changing business environment, including the 18th Annual Tomorrow's Technologies keynote presented by Dana "Rick" Richardson, technology futurist and President of Richardson Media and Technologies.
For Sargent, it's receiving answers to his critical questions, such as those about cloud computing and data security, from industry experts that keep him coming back to the Showcase year after year.
"An event like the Showcase gives me a chance to run the pros and cons of some of these technologies by people who are at the top of their fields", Sargent said. "It gives me so much information to help me figure these issues out."
For more information or to register for the ICPAS Midwest Accounting & Finance Showcase, visit www.icpas.com or call 800-993-0393. To receive the latest updates on the Showcase, follow the Twitter at Illinois CPA #ICPAShow.