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Celebrating its seventh anniversary, AAT’s 2015 Annual Conference proved to be an outstanding success, with over 240 delegates attending the weekend – a record number.
Taking place on the 15th and 16th of May at the Birmingham Metropole, this was AAT’s largest conference to date, giving delegates the opportunity to network, update their skills, share experiences, discuss key industry news, hear from a range of expert speakers and of course, to have fun.
Beginning with the Annual General Meeting, outgoing President Rachel Banfield passed the ceremonial gavel to former Vice President Allan Ramsay who now takes the Presidency for 2015 – 2016, whilst Mark McBride takes the post of Vice President.
After a discussion of the key items on the agenda, Martyn Strickett FMAAT and Secretary for the Isle of Man Branch, was bestowed with the Past President’s Award for his 15 years spent dedicated to maintaining and growing the island’s Branch community.
With the AGM wrapped-up and a short refreshment break, Rachel Banfield was back to deliver a knockout speech which would set the tone for the rest of the weekend. Highlights from the conference included keynote presentations from Philippa Foster Back – Director of the Institute of Business Ethics, cybercrime expert Rik Ferguson, who brought the dangers of having your data stolen or your computer network compromised into sharp focus, and former Royal Marine, wargames expert and Managing Director of Quirk Solutions, Chris Paton, giving his advice on how to plan for success and stress test your business.
Elsewhere Michael Steed was back by popular demand to deliver his much requested tax clinic, Chris Siddle from Tolley gave his talk on legislative and case law changes, and Karen Thomson from CIPP hosted an impassioned discussion on the post-election changes to payroll.
Workshops on tax simplification, accounting strategy, access to finance for small businesses, payroll and pensions and social media were extremely well attended, whilst drop-in sessions at AAT’s theatre also proved to be incredibly popular.
Another success was the Annual Conference application. Available for iOS and android, the app allowed delegates to build a personalised agenda, receive reminders when key sessions were taking place, download presentations from the keynote speakers and to connect directly with fellow delegates. To date the application has received over 24,000 pageviews and more than 500 unique users.
President Allan Ramsay delivered a stirring speech before the President’s dinner on Saturday night, whilst the post dinner entertainment was provided by the killer harmonies of the Rockabellas, whose vintage vocals inspired a welcome burst of dancing and revelry in the Metropole’s Kings Suite.
To wrap up the conference, a panel discussion on the post-election accounting landscape was delivered by experts Adam Harper, Michael Steed, Kay Allen and Brian Palmer. Overall the conference proved to be a fun and extremely informative weekend. We hope to see you there next year.