Recently, Yooz participated in five industry conferences in five weeks as an exhibitor, session presenter, sponsor, or all of the above. They included: Sage Intacct Advantage 2018 for Intacct ERP users, the LeadingAge Healthcare Conference for administrators in the healthcare for the aging industry, the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP) 2018 for finance and treasury professionals, the Restaurant Finance and Development Conference for owners/operators of restaurants and restaurant groups, and the Fall 2018 APP2P conference for procurement and payment professionals.
We sat down with Melissa Hendrick, VP of Marketing for Yooz North America, to learn more about why these particular events were chosen and what she learned along the way.
Q: So, when we ask, “What were you thinking?” during those five weeks you were probably asking yourself the same thing! But we are asking in a literal sense. In general, what were you thinking when you chose these industry events to participate in?
A: Yes, “What was I thinking?” went through my mind sitting in many airplanes, checking into many hotels, and walking through many convention centers! That’s not important though. We believe it is important for the finance and accounting industry as a whole to support organizations that provide thought-leadership and transfer of knowledge to those that have a strong commitment to educating professionals in finance, fintech, accounting.
At Yooz, we want to support those organizations and professionals as well by doing our part to help to educate and inform, not only on the accounts payable topic specific to our industry, but also on broader topics of finance and technology.
And equally as important, each of these conferences gave us the opportunity to interact with our customers in those verticals.
All in all, we were supporting the industries, organizations, partners, and customers in our industry.
Q: General finance professionals who use the Intacct ERP, finance professionals specific to the restaurant industry, finance professionals and administrators specific to healthcare for the aging, procurement professionals. Pretty diverse groups of attendees. What were some of the common themes you discovered across all five events as they relate to AP automation?
A: What is interesting is that the same pain points experienced with manual finance workflows exist and are agnostic across industries, industry type, and size of company. (In fact, we recently published a blog series called “On Common Ground” that features three of our Yooz clients from three completely different types of company, their common pain points, and their similar successes from implementing the Yooz solution.)
Hesitation, bordering on fear, for automating workflows that have been mostly manual has shifted from as recently as a year ago when we attended several of the same conferences to now. The hesitation is diminishing as finance professionals are seeing the benefits of automating.
What we’re seeing across industries are three groups: Innovators—those that are leading the way in incorporating emerging technologies and new processes; Early adopters—not the first to try new technologies or methods, but among the first to adopt; and laggards—those that are still on the sidelines watching and learning but taking a while in deciding to make a change. More and more companies are coming off the sidelines and are leading the charge in their industries to serve as innovators. One example that comes to mind is the City of Cleburne, Texas. Government agencies are notorious for being slow to adopt new technologies and update their processes, thus always operating in a cumbersome and inefficient manner. The City of Cleburne, Texas transitioned to AP automation with the Yooz solution and has since served as one of our advocates for how municipalities and other types of government agencies can successfully take the leap.
Q: Members of the Yooz staff, including account executives, yourself, and COO Laurent Charpentier participated in or led panel discussions at the Sage Intacct Advantage and Fall APP2P conferences. At Advantage, the panel participants were Yooz clients and at APP2P the panel was made up of industry professionals. What was the difference in how the audience responded to the clients—actual users of the Yooz platform—versus a panel of industry professionals?
A: Both types of panels serve an important purpose. Finance and accounting professionals need to hear from industry experts as unbiased voices from the industry. The questions there are more general with the answers being more educational or research-based. The difference with a customer panel is the “You’ve walked in my shoes” factor. The questions to a customer panel are more “me-centric” and referring to specific examples or circumstances.
In Part 2 of this series, we’ll find out what excited attendees most about the Yooz solution, what the Yooz team learned from the events, and what they might do differently next year.