9 to watch: 9 conferences, trends, themes to keep an eye on this year

Jan 23, 2020

The year is already flying by! When you got caught up in the day-to-day it’s easy to blink and miss what’s happening around you. That’s why this month we’re sharing 9 things to watch out for over the coming year – whether they are conferences to diarise now, tech trends to jot down to investigate further, or business themes to keep in the back of your mind. What would you add to the list?



Step outside the technical at these 3 events sure to stimulate some new thoughts and ideas over the year ahead!


Digital Marketers Australia Conference – 12-14 February, Melbourne, Australia

Ok so this one is just around the corner – but if you’re local to Melbourne it could be a must! While marketing isn’t typically an area accounting practices have put emphasis on in the past, it’s becoming more important (how else will you tell people about the great services you provide!). With sessions covering Marketing reporting, SEO, content marketing and business growth strategies you can use internally, through to topics that your clients will appreciate the update on such as growing their eCommerce brands and what elements of digital marketing to master, this agenda looks to be jam packed with motivating marketing tips & tricks.

Find out more here

Gartner customer experience & technologies summit – 16-17 June 2020, Sydney, Australia

It’s never been more important to look at your business and processes through the lens of the customer. While you might think you’re meeting the mark when it comes to customer experiences, there is always room for a little WOW factor – and it’s easier to add than you might realise. With agenda topics covering customer experience vision and strategy, how to build trust, and how to engaging your own employees, this conference is sure to give directors, client managers, and marketing / business development teams alike a host of new ideas and insights to delight your clients.

Find out more here

Future of leadership – Throughout August and September, various locations across AU & NZ

Dubbed as Australasia’s most forward-thinking business seminar, this one-day event is packed with actionable insights from leaders in business. While the full agenda is yet to be released, with speakers from a range of backgrounds this event is set to provide some refreshing perspective – which could be just what you need heading in to the second half of the year.

Find out more here

A few others to save the date for

Accounting Business Expo – 25/26 March 2020, Sydney – With conference tracks including Practice Management, People & Culture, and Automation & Analytics, ABE is set to be bigger and better in 2020.

Tanda Workforce Conference – 23 July 2020, Brisbane, QLD – A darling of the tech start-up world, these guys know how to put on a good conference. This year keynotes & panel discussions will be focused on case studies or best practices around workforce management with the help of technology.

Accountech.Live – 17/18 November 2020, Melbourne – Always a good opportunity to touch base with solution providers, hear updates from the ATO, and keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the accounting ecosystem


Tech Trends

It might look like more of the same, but there is no doubt that we’ll see a host of new innovations that take these tech trends to new heights in 2020.


Automation (it’s here to stay)

Automating repetitive processes is one of the easiest ways to gain efficiencies, meaning this tech trend is here to stay. What will you automate in 2020? Think about processes that:

  • you complete more than once,
  • follow a standard approach,
  • have multiple people involved,
  • and can be prone to human error.

Automations that save lots of time can be as simple as clever email rules to help you stay on top of your inbox or involve more complex automations with the help of software. If you’re looking for a big win in 2020 using automation, check out ATOmate – a smart AI platform that completely automates the processing, checking, and distribution of ATO correspondence. Find out more about ATOmate here.

Going mobile

Did you know that over the last decade, email consumption on mobile devices has grown from less than 4% to more than half of all emails today! This suggests we need to be hyper-aware of how we interact with our clients and consider not only whether we’re optimising our communications for mobile, but also how else we can leverage mobile communication. From redesigning your email newsletters to be mobile first, reducing friction in email correspondence by keeping them to less than 5 sentences, or even shifting your conversations into text, going mobile should be one to watch and act on in 2020.    

Machine learning

AI and machine learning will continue to play an important role in helping businesses to scale, improve efficiency and make an impact in 2020. While it’s an abstract concept for many of us, we expect AI to impact the accounting industry through advances in marketing automation, the addition of predictive / contextual searching and recommendations in software platforms, and automated email inbox triaging (helping us to cut through the clutter!).




We eluded to this in our last blog post of the decade (which you can read here), and we can’t move past the importance of putting your customer first. With business becoming increasingly transactional and digital, it’s never been more important to remember who is behind the email. Note down customer likes and dislikes in your CRM or create physical (and these days unique) touch points by sending a hand written letter or card to mark a milestone – simple actions that will spark an emotional response and create a memorable interaction sure to delight your clients and keep them talking about you.

Future Skills

With the increasing automation of a variety of compliance activities, we need to be supporting our team members to develop skills and specialties that might be considered a bit more “unconventional” for the industry. This strategic radar is worth casting your eyes over to help stimulate your thinking and identify what might be flying under your radar – prompting thoughts and ideas for what skills you might want to arm your team with for the future, and even highlight potential new service offerings or initiatives to explore.



In the wake of recent climate events across the country, it would be remis of us not to mention sustainability as a key theme for all of us this year and into the future. Small actions can have a big impact in this regard: consider monitoring and reducing your paper-based communications, start an office recycling and composting program, or review your regular suppliers to choose more sustainable providers. If you’re looking for something more meatier, check out the B Corporation movement: an independent certification for businesses looking to make a positive impact across their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. The certification assessment is free to take and can help you identify projects to improve sustainability across the business.