At our inaugural AcuityCon, there were a lot of special moments for us. From the on-stage rapport of our two founders, Kenji and Matthew, to bringing together our team and partners in one place for the very first time, to hearing from the companies in our AcuityCares program, this two-day conference was one for the books (get it, because we’re bookkeepers?).
Back when we cooked up the idea to house the first internal conference for the Acuity team, we knew we wanted AcuityCon to be about learning, networking, and a whole lot of fun. And this year was the perfect opportunity to make that idea a reality.
Kenji kicked us off with a little inspiration that carried us through the week: “Independence is the freedom to be exactly who you are. That means being flexible in how we work, in what is beneficial, in the nature of our work. We are here to cultivate the ideal work environment — for our team, our partners, and our clients.”
And that’s what we did. Here are the highlights from AcuityCon 2019:
1. We brought our full team together for the first time.
The Acuity team structure is unique — we’ve got over 80 employees in our 6th year as a full-service financial firm — but the overwhelming majority of them are remote workers. In fact, our team is spread out across the country and even across the world. This was the first time that we gathered everyone together for our first in-person all-hands meeting. In fact, Cyndi Cole, a financial controller who’s been with us for five years, had never even met anyone from Acuity (IRL) until this event. It’s crazy to think about, but these moments made it that much more special.
We offer outsourced financial services, so due to the nature of our business, we’re used to connecting virtually — with our team and our clients. Video conferencing, Slack, and other tools allow us to build relationships virtually and establish a human connection with everyone we work with and serve. But the face-to-face time was admittedly awesome.
2. We learned from our partners.
At Acuity, instead of building our own software, we’ve opted to become partners with the best technologies in the industry — including Xero, QuickBooks, Bill.com, and more. In fact, we are the most certified could accounting team with over 100 certifications across various softwares.
AcuityCon originally was originally conceived as a meetup for our internal team, but then we thought “Maybe our partners would be interested in attending.” We put some feelers out and were blown away by the response — the answer all around was an enthusiastic “Hell yes!”
And it couldn’t have worked out better. Day 1 featured breakout sessions with our partners which gave our team members the opportunity to hear what’s on the roadmap for these technologies and, in exchange, share feedback and ask questions. Day 2 included a networking session that allowed our employees to mix and mingle with the partner representatives – many of whom they’d worked with closely over the years but, again, had never met face-to-face.
Partners in attendance:
- Clarus R+D
- Intuit QuickBooks
3. We hosted the first-ever live recording of the Cloud Accounting Podcast.
To be an accountant by trade, you kinda have to love this stuff. And we do. We even wrote an entire eBook on the history of accounting — just for fun. So it’s no surprise that collectively, one of our favorite podcasts is the Cloud Accounting Podcast. In our opinion, it’s one of the best sources for industry news. We even reference the latest episodes in our weekly team meetings, because it’s a great way to make sure everyone is well-versed on the newest trends and technologies and are able to anticipate concerns or questions that our clients might come to us with.
So, all that to say, we were ecstatic when Blake Oliver and David Leary agreed to join us and film a live recording onsite at AcuityCon. You can access the full episode here.
4. We had a lot of fun.
Our leadership team is comprised of people who love to have fun and who love to play host / hostess. So it truly wouldn’t be an Acuity meetup without a party. Tuesday night we took everyone to the rooftop of the Atlanta Tech Village to socialize, imbibe, and relax. With some of the best BBQ in town (Fox Bros), an open bar, and some incredible views of the Atlanta skyline, it was the perfect way to conclude Day 1.
5. We shared our passion for doing well while still doing good.
One of the things we’re most proud of at Acuity is our AcuityCares program. This is our way of using our time and talents to give back to the community.
In 2018, we started working with New Story to provide financial services and help them work toward their mission to end global homelessness. At AcuityCon we had the pleasure of hearing from New Story Co-Founder & CEO, Brett Hagler. He is one of the most inspiring public speakers out there, and it was such a treat to have him share with our entire team the impact that their work is making on the New Story organization.
We also used this time to proudly introduce our newest AcuityCares project: Refuge Coffee Company. Their mission, to make everyone feel welcome, starts with a cup of coffee in Clarkston, Georgia, and extends to creating a safe space for people to get to know their refugee neighbors. In the coming year, we’ll work closely with founder Kitti Murray and COO Walt Anderson to help them continue making moves right here in Atlanta’s backyard.
And that’s a wrap on our first ever AcuityCon! Keep an eye on our events page to stay up-to-date on which events we’ll be attending, speaking at, and hosting in 2020!w