Make the Most of Your Conference Budget

By Francesca Zampaglione, CPA, CGMA – May 13, 2016
Make the Most of Your Conference Budget

Around this time each year CPAs across the nation start to plan how they can sharpen their skills and extend their network. The opportunity for travel is great as many of these learning experiences are packaged in fun places. Is there anything better than mixing business with pleasure and achieving that elusive work-life balance?

To make the most of your conference time, here are five simple ways to enhance your experience:

1. Prepare

It’s not snooping; it’s just smart prep. Take a look at the list of people attending to see if you know anyone who can share the ride or maybe a cup of coffee. Having an idea of who’s there will serve you well when you enter a room and need a familiar face.

2. Load Up

Grab a fresh stack of business cards and put them in an easy to reach pocket. For all of the cards that you’ll receive, write something on the back of each business card that will remind you of why you need to connect with that person and where you met them.

3. Name Tag Necessity

The benefit of a name tag cuts in both directions. Not only does it help you identify others, but it assists others looking for you. Here’s a tip to always remember your badge: Keep your hotel key behind your name badge. More often than not, name badges are the square plastic clip-on type and that are a perfect home for your credit card-sized room key. Also, be sure to wear your name badge on your right side so that when you extend your hand, the person shaking your hand can look directly at your name.

4. Use Social Media

Chances are conference organizers will have enabled a few social media channels so you can get involved. There’s no easier way for someone to find you and for you to make connections. You may even win a few prizes.

5. Follow Up

Once you’re back in your office, use social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook) to follow up with the people you met. Also, be sure to go over your conference notes immediately, and make a priority list of the things at work you need to change.

Francesca Zampaglione

Francesca Zampaglione, CPA, CGMA is vice president - professional education, at the Pennsylvania Institute of CPAs.

Reprinted with permission of AccountingWEB