Accountancy Practice Conference - The Future

Join us at our exciting conference looking at the current status and future of the accounting profession. Join other leaders to discuss the future landscape and evolution of the industry, exploring themes such as technology, audit, leadership and much more.


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Full conference agenda


Mark Lloydbottom, IGNITE Practice Management

Structuring you and your business for the clients you most want to serve

Are we evidencing service evolution or revolution? We will explore the changing profession as we look at a future accounting firm service success model and an overview of key success factors. Seen a benchmarking survey recently? How do you compare to the truly successful firms? Be prepared to be enlightened and challenged. We will look at how to improve services through a client meeting plan and areas where you could profitably expand your service offering. Remember those school reports? We will explore service from a client perspective and ask you to rate how you perform in 8 essential areas.


Cheryl Pettitt, Wilmington Plc

Are you struggling to employ new talent into your business? Recruiting professionals in 2022 is challenging to say the least! In this session we will look at the best ways to engage with professionals and the best recruiting strategies for a talent short market. We will also cover inclusive candidate attraction options and how to appeal to different demographics.


James Bannerman, Creative Change Agent

Increasingly, accountancy firms need to think more innovatively if they want to attract, retain and engage early ‘career talent’ in a highly competitive environment. With this in mind, the purpose of this Innovative Engagement session is to help delegates explore the creative psychology of engagement from fresh perspectives, so they are better-placed to:

  • Engage ‘early career’ individuals (e.g. Millennials and Generation Z) more effectively
  • Inspire and motivate others (using deceptively simple lateral thinking tools and techniques)
  • Step beyond ‘what is’ to start imagining ‘what could be?’

David Norris, Mercia Group

2022 could prove to be a challenging year with many firms finding salaries and other costs rising at an alarming rate but clients still reluctant to pay more. This session will look at a range of issues to consider when quoting for work and talking to clients about fees.

Topics include:

  • Being transparent and proud of your fees
  • Are fee changes a negotiation?
  • Fixed V Variable fees
  • Billing for extras
  • Using different entities
  • Timesheets – help or hindrance?
  • Giving clarity about why a client should use your firm
  • Looking at how do you fit in the market?
  • Grading clients and getting ready to lose some

Tom Herbert, AccountingWEB

The past two years have seen a flood of accounting firms adopting digital accounting systems as hard-pressed practices seek more efficiency and flexibility in how they work. But is your firm really making the most of the new technology available?

This session will help busy practitioners make the data locked in their firm work harder, improve their compliance functions and potentially start a journey towards offering more value-added services.

Join AccountingWEB technology editor Tom Herbert and special guests to discover why being a paperless firm doesn’t always mean being a digital one.


Mark Lloydbottom, IGNITE Practice Management

There are not many accountants who have a high regard for sales, sales techniques and closing the sale. Mark is one of them! As he tells it, accountants usually say, Put me in front of a prospect and I will win them as a client. However, as he tells it, we all sell – we just don’t readily call it selling. 

In this session Mark will highlight a range of techniques and strategies that will help improve your success in winning new clients. You will hear approaches and ideas that will help you improve.


David Norris, Mercia Group

For many years there have been doomsday messages about the end of the profession as we know it and the fear that accounting work will be done by robots. However, in 2022 firms are still recruiting hard and the vast majority of work for the vast majority of firms is compliance based.

This session will look at areas that are changing now and will continue to shape the profession into the future. Topics include:

  • Who will work for you, and when and where will they work?
  • What computers can and cannot do
  • Is there really an end to compliance work?
  • The future of audit work
  • One stop shop v Specialists
  • Small firm or Large national firm
  • Environmental concerns and reporting 

Conference speakers


Mark was a practitioner for 16 years having started his own practice in 1978. He is the founder of Practice Track (now owned by Wilmington), PracticeWEB and online with IGNITEPracticeManagement.com. Mark was a non-executive director of SWAT (now part of Mercia). 

Mark lectures throughout Europe, the United States and in Africa. He works extensively with global accounting firms and many of the world’s accounting associations. His IGNITE Practice Management and in-house Margin Mastery workshops have been received with great acclaim. The results from this last programme have been outstanding with firm recovery rates increasing by more than 10 percent.


Cheryl Pettitt has worked in the recruitment arena since 1997. She currently heads up the Talent Acquisition team of Wilmington plc. where she and her team are responsible for the acquisition of talent in a variety of areas including but not restricted to technical consultants for Mercia Group but also sales, product, technology and support roles across the global portfolio.


James Bannerman is a Creative Change Agent who combines creativity with psychology to help businesses innovate (Aston Martin, Disney, DLA Piper, Duracell, Eversheds, HSBC and many more). He also lectures on business ‘innovation, creativity, enterprise’ on the MBA programmes at Grenoble Ecole de Management and Warwick Business School (where he has twice been awarded the ‘Outstanding Teacher Award’), and on business leadership at Oxford Brookes University where he is in the final stages of his PhD on the impact of lateral thinking upon organisational performance.
James is trained in clinical psychotherapy, and has an M.A.Hons from Edinburgh University in English Literature. More recently, James Bannerman authored 2 best-selling books - Genius! and Business Genius! - that have gone on to be translated into multiple languages around the world from Italian to Japanese.

David is the Head of Audit & Accounts and Compliance.

He joined SWAT UK in 2000 as an audit lecturer and reviewer, having qualified as a Chartered Accountant with South West firm Thomas Westcott. In 2014, David was appointed to the board of SWAT UK as Training Director and then moved to the board of Mercia when the companies merged in 2016. He moved to his current role in 2021.

David is responsible for the technical quality of Mercia’s Audit & Accounts and Compliance Reviews, Technical Queries and Manuals, with a remit to ensure they are also practical and relevant to firms of all sizes. David also retains a lot of client contact and performs a large number of lectures and review visits, throughout the country and online.


Tom is a journalist and broadcaster specialising in technology and its application to the accountancy profession. He’s held various roles in the accountancy press, including as editor of AccountingWEB and ICAEW Insights, and is now technology editor for AccountingWEB.

One Day Conference