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Taking Your Firm Virtual 2023 – Day 3 Recap

Taking Your Firm Virtual 2023 – Day 3 Recap

Well, it’s the final day of the Taking Your Firm Virtual Summit (womp, womp, womp). After Day 1’s focus on technology and marketing and Day 2’s focus on client interaction, we were treated to sessions centered around staffing, gracefully disengaging with less-than-ideal clients, and creating chatbots for optimizing firm operations on Day 3. If you missed out, I’ll do my best to summarize the sessions, but you may want to grab an All Access Pass to check it out yourself.

To get the day started, we had another Coffee & Chat. Yesterday, I forgot to mention this session is like speed-dating. It’s a perfect virtual networking exercise where you have five minutes to introduce yourself, have a quick conversation, and make a new acquaintance before matching with the next person. I love the intention behind this, to ease into the morning and for everyone to mix and mingle one-on-one before the content begins.

The first session was Creating an Attractive Virtual Job Offer, presented by Hennither Gant. This talk gave attendees insights and tips about creating a planned approach to creating and advertising a job offer. Before starting the search, you must consider essential factors such as the work environment, recruitment and onboarding timelines, employment duration, and potential career progression opportunities. Although we see it all the time, Hennither discussed the importance of having a job advertisement that isn’t just a job description. A job advertisement is a marketing tool for your company; you want to market the job, your business, and why someone would like to work there. To attract the right candidates, she emphasized being honest and transparent in the advertisement by:

  • Clarifying the primary responsibilities of the role.
  • Listing the compensation.
  • Describing the benefits.
  • Explaining how to apply.
  • Highlighting the company culture.

This session offered valuable information for someone looking to post a job or look for a job to consider.

Next, Amber Smoot presented The Formal Interview – How to Manage and Run the Virtual Interview Process. An HR expert, Amber guided attendees through the key elements of virtual interviews. She talked about the importance of having the same process and asking the same questions so everyone has a fair shot. She discussed biases and how to avoid them, then went into the hiring process. 

  1. Phone interview
  2. Hiring manager interview
  3. Team interview (with at most five people!)
  4. Debrief
  5. Conduct reference checks and notify candidates that won’t go forward in the process
  6. Give a verbal offer, then a written offer within 24 hours
  7. Onboard new employee

She then discussed the timing and content of each interview, plus the dos and don’ts. Amber’s expertise fostered confidence among attendees to navigate the formal interview process with ease and professionalism. I even heard from one attendee that she was reconsidering hiring a new staff member after that session.

Jose Zavala was up next to present Letting Go – How to Delegate Effectively. Delegation is essential for any successful leader, but it can be challenging to let go. So why should you delegate? To optimize productivity, achieve goals, and prevent burnout, which many people said they had been affected by at some point. Next, he discussed the team benefits of delegation, including skill development and empowerment, and motivation, among others. Then, he got into the delegation process and the importance of accountability and trust, the key to overcoming fear and anxiety about delegation. One tactic he uses is a stand-up meeting to check in on the person, task(s), and progress. The big takeaway from this session is the relationship between delegation, communication, and accountability on a team. 

After that session, we had time to explore the vendor booths and network in the Fluid Space. And by the way, it looks like Space. You can move around and approach those you wish to converse with, whether in a one-on-one setting or a small group, and either chat, speak over audio or connect through video chat. I enjoyed chatting with a few return attendees and discussing writing these recaps! 

Sherrell Martin conducted an insightful afternoon session on Disengaging with Grace. Many attendees were excited about this session because they want to disengage with certain clients but don’t know the “right way” to do it. Sherrell discussed navigating challenging situations with diplomacy and empathy, ensuring positive outcomes even when parting ways with clients. She even brought in ChatGPT and how it can help craft that empathetic message when you can’t. Attendees were very engaged and asked questions like “How do you approach referrals when they are an icky client?” to which Sherrell gave a very professional approach about them not being the right fit. Another attendee chimed in and said, “Yes! I love doing this; it makes me feel so good when I say no to people who are not right for me.” To takeaway, Sherrell gave us a worksheet to break down the disengagement, including an offboarding checklist (so smart!). 

The last session of the day was Build-A-Bot by Chad Davis, and it was highly anticipated. Throughout the conference, attendees were excited to learn how to create a chatbot, and this session delivered. He discussed ways accountants can use chatbots in sales, customer service, onboarding, and analysis to streamline processes and boost efficiency. Chad broke down how chatbots work and gave some tips before beginning. Finally, he discussed some of the technicalities of using Chat Thing and Botpress to build a bot. Attendees are left empowered to harness automation technology for maximum firm productivity.

We then had a quick Summit Wrap-Up with Nayo. Throughout the summit, attendees earned points for participation through the platform by attending sessions, chatting, reacting, asking questions, etc. The top three participants were recognized and awarded with gift cards. In the chat, we talked about memorable moments and key takeaways from the event, like: 

  • Jennifer Dymond’s “Wow Your Clients to Woo Your Clients” 
  • Rachel Vaughn’s “Underpricing is a disservice to my family.”
  • Carmen Henderson’s “Real imposters don’t have imposter syndrome.”

… And for me, how Kellie Parks defines her ideal client to ensure no “Bookkeeper Booty Calls” (you just had to be there). 

Nayo explained the benefits of the All Access Pass and asked attendees to give feedback via a survey to build next year’s program. She thanked sponsors, media partners, and attendees for supporting the event. She also reiterated the importance of embracing technology to remain competitive and successful in today’s business environment.

To end on a high note, DJ Scene hosted the End of Summit Vibez Dance Party. This is always SO FUN! We listened to music, danced with gifs, celebrated our shared experience at the summit, and ultimately just had a good time.

Wow, what an amazing event the Taking Your Firm Virtual Summit was! As we “leave” the conference, we have new knowledge and inspiration to embark (or continue) on our virtual journeys with confidence. The summit succeeded (as always!) in empowering attendees to navigate the virtual landscape, embrace digital transformation, and lead their firms to success. Until next time, let’s stay connected and lean on each other to succeed in our virtual firms!

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