Last month I attended Scaling New Heights, a popular conference in the accounting industry. The theme was “Tame the Machines,” but what struck me most was the people I met there. And more to the point, I was inspired by how passionate they were about their work and the people they serve.

So inspired, in fact, that I wanted to capture some of what I saw at the conference here on the Bento Blog.

What’s the Buzz?

First, let me explain why Bento was at the conference. We recently launched our Bento Expense Expert (BEE) program to support accountants, bookkeepers, and financial advisors in bringing better expense management solutions to their clients.

When you sign up to be a BEE, you not only save yourself and your clients time and money but also build trust by establishing yourself as a proactive expense expert. We help you introduce Bento as an expense tool for your clients (and even your own practice!) so you can help them consistently improve their (and your) finances. By doing that, you become that much more valuable to everyone you serve.

Naturally, to spread the word about the BEE program, we decorated our booth with lots of bee paraphernalia: bee antennae, bee glasses, and even a photo booth where people could take pictures of themselves in full bee regalia. Our goal: to help attendees “put some buzz in their biz!”

We figured, expense management may not be a “fun” topic. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun with it. Turns out, that attitude really resonated with the amazing people we met at the conference.
Every advisor I spoke with was deeply invested in their work. Many of the people I talked to were solo practitioners or owners of small firms. They loved being able to provide top-tier personal service to the people they worked with, and even felt personally responsible for the financial well being of their clients. That’s why they were always on the lookout for tools to make life easier and better for their clients.

I know that feeling.

At Bento, our motto is “Be Human.” We use that to guide everything we do, from the kind of customer service we provide to the partners we choose to work with to the resources we make available to our customers. We’re not as big as some of our competitors, but we find that our ability to provide a really personal (human) service is one thing that sets us apart.

But maybe the coolest part of the connections I made at the conference was seeing how excited accounting professionals got about helping each other and discovering new ways to help their clients.

Tapping into the Hive Mind

Besides working our booth, I was lucky enough to have several unscripted interactions with the attendees—at the breakfast coffee line, outside waiting for our ride, and even a memorable dinner with a group of new friends. Best of all, I worked closely with Liz Scott, an Advanced Certified ProAdvisor and partner of a practice called Accounting Lifeline based in Oklahoma.

Liz Scott, me, and Liz’s ’Appy Hour co-host Heather Satterley (more on ’Appy Hour below!)

Last fall, she wrote an article naming Bento as one of her favorite apps, so I reached out to see if she’d serve as our brand ambassador at the conference. She said yes! I was excited to have her on board, but I was bowled over when she showed up to our booth decked out in all her own bee gear – wings, a plush bee toy, antennae – without us even asking.

She’d gone above and beyond for us, and we weren’t even a client.

But I learned that this level of enthusiasm is completely normal for Liz. It comes from her belief in the power of learning from your peers to get better.

“Leaning on your community and asking other advisors what tools they’re using is really the best resource,” she said. “I always say, ‘If other smart people are using this, then it’s got to be right!’”

I love that attitude.

I also love another thing Liz said: “I learn from other people on a daily basis. I’m one person – I don’t have all the answers.” At her firm, Accounting Lifeline, they operate under the assumption that things are better together – that together, they’ll be able to work out problems.

But Liz doesn’t just say inspirational things about being part of a community. She’s living it. In fact, at Scaling New Heights, in addition to teaching six courses for ProAdvisors, she also launched a new webinar series, ’Appy Hour.

Every month, Liz and her co-host Heather Satterley recommend the QuickBooks apps they find most useful for anyone interested in hearing about them. Even better? They develop a drink recipe inspired by each app to encourage people to unwind and enjoy themselves while they discover ways to grow their practice.

What’s Next for Bento & the BEEs

Today, when you become a BEE, you get a dedicated account manager, personalized onboarding, round-the-clock support, and materials to help you grow your practice – in addition to a free Bento account with two cards you can test out for your own practice. Oh, and you can earn referral fees for as many people as you refer – seriously. No limits.

In the near future, we’ll be launching other exciting programs, some of which were inspired by the conversations I had at Scaling New Heights. Sign up now to be the first to hear about them – I know I couldn’t be more excited to spread the word!

The Bento hive decked out in bee gear!

 

About the Author

Shuyi Shang works closely with accounting partners (Bento Expense Experts, a.k.a. BEEs) at Bento for Business, a QB-friendly solution that combines Mastercard® prepaid cards with a desktop/mobile platform to control and track employee expenses. She loves her QBO community and is a regular participant of the weekly #QBOChat on Twitter.