AccountingWebLive 2021: Recap and Highlights
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We did a show—an actual show…with a beautifully designed stand, company merch to give away, bright white hoodies (I know, stain alert!), branded face masks, the lot!
This isn’t our first exhibition. The first one was back in 2019 PC (pre-COVID) and very much at the beginning of our tech start-up journey. We had a tiny one metre square pod at Accountex London, with a tiny sign, some leaflets to hand out and a story to tell…and not only that, it was my first month with the business, as employee #1!
We knew we had something special to offer, and we already had a handful of active clients, but it was early days, we were still understanding our audience, and trying to work out our ‘fit’.
Fast forward to just over 2.5 years on, with several twists and turns, our team has now expanded to twelve. We have over 150 firms working with us and WhisperClaims technology has processed over £220m of eligible R&D expenditure on behalf of our users’ clients. And, as you can imagine, our ability to confidently articulate what we do and why we do it has changed significantly too.
Much like for everyone, 2020 / 2021 has been turbulent, and when the opportunity for AccountingWeb Live was floated in September 2021, we did have some reservations. Should we do it, shouldn’t we? Will it even go ahead? Is the team comfortable being in a large venue? Who is going to manage the organisation of the event?
We took the decision to jump in; I mean, it was months away, loads of time to prepare—famous last words!
So how did it all pan out? Long story short – our travel from various corners of the UK to the venue worked out perfectly. Our merch arrived earlier than expected. Our branded clothing was super (our white hoodies were kept remarkably pristine). Our stand looked fantastic. And, for a company that is a bit quiet on the socials, we got some great traction! All in, (apart from an announcement that a new Rona strain was on the loose just days before show time) a great time was had by all, and the two days flew by!
Now a week or so has passed and the adrenaline has subsided, there has been time to reflect on the event and consider the highlights. For me, they were:
- Face to face time. We made some really great connections with new prospects, and got to catch up with some of our marketing partners and industry peers. Best of all, we got to meet some of our friends / collaborators and current clients in person for the first time. 95% of our client base have been demoed to and on-boarded via Zoom, so all together this was a real treat.
- Camaraderie. We were the only software R&D tax ‘offering’ exhibiting, alongside traditional R&D tax service providers—technically our ‘competition’. The vibe was super positive, with what felt like a great sense of fellowship and quite frankly relief; chatting to prospects, listening to feedback, talking about our products and what we can offer our audience – that was a really nice feeling.
- Wow factor. The size and effort that had clearly gone into some of the stands was just epic. We were next to Iris—absolutely superb and cracking merch!
- Team. For me, this was the biggest highlight of all. Mike, Jen, Stuart and myself all attended on the day and our magnificent designer, Markos, was there in spirit. We made this happen— miles away from each other, with none of us having experience of doing anything like this before, and we pulled it off! Not just by the skin of our teeth, but a really fabulous job was done by all, and everyone involved deserves a huge pat on the back. Well done Team WhisperClaims!
What did we learn:
- Experience. Doing anything like this, as well as being ‘an experience’, is also great experience!
- Be open minded. When control of a process is more than 50% out of your hands, you need to be prepared for at least one thing to go a little differently than expected, and that is ok!
- Quality. We knew that an impressive visual was going to be key in attracting potential prospects to our stand and we are so pleased that (a) we spent such a huge amount of time refining and re-working our ideas and (b) we had our fabulous in-house designer, Markos, to bring it all the life!
We’d like to thank everyone at AccountingWeb Live 2021 who made it happen; it was clear just how much work and effort had gone into the 2 days.
Accountex London 2022 is what’s next. But of course, you will be hearing from us again well before then!