Want to stay ahead of the CPA profession and learn how CPAs can utilize technology and AI? Join me at the virtual Innovation, Technology, and Accounting Conference hosted by CPA Alberta on Feb 22 & 23, 2021!

In the past, I have written a number of posts that highlight the different ways to stay up to date with the CPA profession and the industry. For example, the Pivot Magazine, the InFocus Magazine and articles online are all excellent ways to achieve that. However, if you want an immersive experience with networking opportunities, attending an industry conference is a way like no other. In a little less than two weeks, I will be attending my first ever CPA conference called The Innovation, Technology, and Accounting Conference. A full day of presentations catered to CPAs by industry experts on the topics of innovation, AI (artificial intelligence) and technology is then followed by a full day of workshops. The conference schedule is designed to allow attendees to learn and then apply.

If you have been following me on Instagram, you are probably aware that I started learning about Python (a programming language) this year. The journey is going to be challenging, slow and long. However, I strongly believe that the future of accounting will be inseparable from technology and AI (some may even argue it already is). Therefore, when I first found out about The Innovation, Technology, and Accounting Conference hosted by CPA Alberta, I knew I had to attend. Since many of you are CPA candidates like myself, I want to share why I decided to take two days off work for this 2-day conference.

Note, CPA Alberta has graciously sponsored my attendance at the Innovation, Technology, and Accounting Conference in exchange for my 100% honest opinions. As such, opinions expressed in my posts are solely my own and do not express the views or opinions of CPA Alberta.

Attending A CPA Conference To Stay Ahead Of The CPA Profession & Industry

I once read a quote encouraging people to not be afraid of exceeding expectations because the dividends from your hard work will pay off in the long run. When I was younger, there was a period of time when I was reluctant to show people how hard I tried in fear of them thinking “I try too hard.” I didn’t realize that was irrational until I was working full-time at an office job. I learned that people who truly want the best for you will commend you for your hard work and drive and not the opposite.

As a result, I think it is commendable to exceed expectations as a CPA candidate if that is what I (or you) want. Don’t get me wrong and think I encourage the pursuit of perfection because I don’t. However, I am encouraging myself (and you) to not be afraid of working hard for what we want. In this scenario, staying ahead of the CPA profession and the industry is one of my ways to exceed expectations as a student. As CPA candidates, we are by no means expected to attend an industry conference. In fact, there are CPAs whose main reason for attending a conference is because of the PD requirements. However, if you consider the many benefits of attending an industry conference I talk about here, you will see that it is something that will pay dividends for your professional career.

Attending A CPA Conference To Network With Peers Virtually

Prior to the pandemic, most of the industry conferences took place in-person. I don’t think virtual interactions can ever replace in-person interactions completely but I believe both methods have their own pros and cons. For example, if The Innovation, Technology, and Accounting Conference was taking place in person, it would have most likely been in Alberta. That would mean that I will have to take more than 2 days off from work, pay for a plane ticket and accommodation in order to attend the same conference as I reside in BC. The virtual format opened up doors to a broader networking pool as CPAs and candidates all over Canada can attend. The online format makes it more affordable and accessible to all of us. This means you can meet more peers in the same profession and make professional connections during the two-day conference.

Personally, I learned about companies that I have never heard of just from reading the Pivot Magazine. Some of the companies made me wish I would get a chance to work with in the future (e.g., LiveCA). As I will talk about in my last point, attending a CPA conference will allow you to find out what you didn’t know.

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Attending A CPA Conference To Witness Textbook Concepts In Real-Life Situations

I always encourage candidates to find a way to witness concepts we learn in school (e.g., strategy formulation) in real-life situations. This is because I find that to be one of the best ways to really understand a concept. For example, I shared the relevant CPA competencies for a few articles in an issue of the Pivot Magazine in the past. You can often read and re-read the same textbook chapter multiple times but never truly understood the concept until you saw it applied in a real-life situation. To me, attending a CPA conference will help me achieve just that. Since we all learn differently, it never hurts to explore the different ways of learning by experimenting. You might find attending a CPA conference solidifies your understanding of management accounting no textbook ever could.

Attending A CPA Conference To Find Out What You Didn’t Know

As Socrates once said, “I know that I don’t know.” This has been one of my favourite quotes because it helps remind me to stay curious. Also, from experience, I would often find out how much I don’t know about a topic only after I devote time learning about it. Attending a CPA conference where industry experts on the topics share their knowledge from years of experience and/or research can replace many hours of Googling and reading. This is part of the reason why Ted Talks are so popular and inspiring as many of them are presented by experts in the topic they are sharing.

Conclusion

There is no set timeline for one to start attending a CPA conference. In fact, I have attended many non-CPA virtual conferences (paid and free) last year. The pandemic had a lot of downsides but one of the upsides was the opening up of industry conferences that were normally inaccessible to many. If you want to take advantage of the opportunities and the benefits I mentioned in this post, hop over to this link to register for the Innovation, Technology, and Accounting Conference. If you need more time to decide, be sure to come back for a post where I will share what I learned at my first-ever CPA conference.

Want to stay ahead of the CPA profession and learn how CPAs can utilize technology and AI? Join me at the virtual Innovation, Technology, and Accounting Conference hosted by CPA Alberta on Feb 22 & 23, 2021!

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