Russell Bedford North America Conference 2024

January 2024

It’s January 2024 and what a way to kick-start a new year! With renewed energy and excitement, Russell Bedford held its first physical event of the year, the North America Conference, in San Diego, California, and it was wonderful to be back amongst our colleagues from the US and Canada.

After an informal welcome dinner to reacquaint ourselves with old friends and meet new members for the first time, the conference officially began the next morning with a warm welcome from Global Chair, Daniel Ryba, followed by a network update from Stephen Hamlet, CEO, discussing latest developments, current priorities and future strategy.

Delegates then had the opportunity to share their own firm updates, achievements and any particular challenges to provide a foundation for future discussion during the roundtable sessions.

We were fortunate to have Matt Garrett join from TGG University speaking on the topical issue of talent management. With CPAs around the world constantly under-resourced, finding solutions to staffing problems is a necessity and Matt’s insightful session about offshoring, and the effective use of technology to support this, provided plenty of food for thought.

After a networking lunch, Board Director Deanna Salo from Russell Bedford’s Chicago member firm continued the morning’s theme with a roundtable discussion on attracting and retaining talent. As the pool for skilled employees seems to be ever narrowing against a backdrop of disruption to the more traditional accountancy business models, how firms adapt, innovate and market themselves effectively as an employer of choice is becoming increasingly important. This session gave delegates the valuable opportunity to share their experiences to inform strategies and techniques that they can take back to their practices.

Growth through M&A activity is another practice management issue impacting our members - highly effective from a strategic perspective, but not without its risks or difficulties. Led by David Barbeito, Partner at Russell Bedford’s Miami member firm, this was the topic for our next session. David shared his first-hand experiences of the benefits that this type of transaction can bring, as well as the challenges faced along the way. From cultural differences and management styles to harmonising IT systems and branding, David provided a full spectrum of what to consider, giving those who have not yet embarked upon such a journey a real insight into what is involved, and enabling those who have been through this process to share their own stories too.

The final roundtable discussion for the day was focused on growth in North America, facilitated by Stephen Hamlet and Network Development Director, Kempton Bedell-Harper, with valuable discussions regarding the future strategy for expansion in the region.

As the conference concluded with a final evening dinner, delegates reflected on their key takeaways from an insightful and productive day. As always, an invaluable opportunity to connect with like-minded peers from across the region and build those all-important relationships centred around trust.

Commenting on another successful conference, CEO Stephen Hamlet said: “A fantastic start to another calendar of events and we are delighted to be back in the United States for our North America Conference. It is always so inspiring to see the energy and engagement from our members and to hear the stories of their business journeys. Whilst this is a challenging time for the profession, there has been so much positivity and it’ll be great to see our members seize these opportunities to take their firms further.”   

Russell Bedford’s Global Chair, Daniel Ryba added: “It is a privilege to be part of this conference and to witness the collaboration within the region. Today’s meaningful discussions have enabled us to learn from each other’s experiences, leading the way for us to navigate the current uncertainties we all face for the benefit of our firms.”

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