Next up in our new speaker Q&A series is Steve Pipe, founder and head of research at AVN.

How did you get in to the accounting and finance profession?

I did two degrees in economics, and would loved to have been a professional economist. But, I was getting married in Wakefield, and there were no jobs for economists there. So I became an accountant instead.

What is one common misconception about the industry you would like to change?

Far too many accountants don’t understand the awesome impact they can have with their skills as accountants. So I would like to see the profession break free from its crisis of self-confidence. I would like to see accountants standing tall and fully understanding the difference they can make. And I would like to see them using those skills in more creative and energetic ways to make even more of a difference.

Who has inspired you most in the industry?

Unquestionably Paul Dunn. 20 years ago his Bootcamps revolutionised the profession. And today his movement is revolutionising the way small businesses around the world make a difference.

What do you think are the key opportunities for the industry in the year ahead?

The single biggest opportunity is to help clients cope with and capitalise on the uncertainties, changes, challenges and opportunities that the Trump and Brexit era will bring.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Do what you love. Because then it will never feel like work, and you will do it extraordinarily well.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that most people don’t know

I once stood in a urinal at Leicester Forest service station next to Gary Lineker.

What are you most looking forward to at Accountex?

Meeting old friends, making new ones and learning from the very best in the profession.

Managing change is a key theme at Accountex, what is the one thing accountants must do to adapt and remain successful?

Recognise the need to never stop learning. Every accountant I meet understands the importance of keeping abreast of the latest tax and accounting technical issues. But far too few invest enough time energy or money in really getting to grips with technology, soft skills, strategy and all the other essential commercial elements of running a 21st century practice as a business.

What key questions should accountants be asking vendors when looking for new products and services at the show?

The key question is probably: “How much better will this make business and life for me, my firm and my clients?”

With a lot of unknowns in the world right now, how can an accountant best manage difficult questions from their clients?

The best approach is to be proactive rather than reactive. Don’t wait until clients are so desperate that they turn to you for help. Instead go to them first with an offer of help – perhaps in the form of a “Brave new world review”.

Why would you recommend a visit to Accountex?

Having all the profession’s leading thinkers, strategists, suppliers and practitioners under one roof provides an incredible shortcut to success.

Tell us about your journey with Accountex, how has the show shaped your growth?

I have learnt so much from Accountex over the years, that it is now the first date I put in my diary every year, since there’s no way I want to miss it.


See Steve at Accountex 2017:

Officially the world’s most highly rated advisor to accountants, Steve Pipe is a best-selling author, dynamic speaker, founder of Accountants Changing the World and creator of  His new book, ‘The world’s most inspiring accountants’, has been described as a “masterpiece”, “ground-breaking” and “desperately needed”.

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