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Randy Johnston


Randy Johnston, MCS,
top-rated speaker in the technology industry for over 40 years.


Tommy Stephens

Tommy Stephens, CPA,
CITP, CGMA, has presented over 3,100 educational sessions throughout the United States and Canada.
 

July 23 & 24, 2024
8:20am - 4:30pm
Virtual Conference via Zoom

Elevating Business Solutions

PD Nexus: Information Technology Insights 2024 strives to be the touchstone conference-style PD Day for members and organizations who want the best for the customers and clients. It seeks to offer practical technology strategies for today’s busy accountants and business professionals.

Discover how you and your organization can leverage cutting-edge tools and strategies to thrive in today’s business landscape. This year’s offering will present three streams of breakout sessions, along with four great plenaries.

Special feature: Choose to attend the full event or only single days

Full Event Registration Day 1 Registration Day 2 Registration


Special Bundle Pricing

A PD Nexus bundle discount of $50 is available if you register for this together with Business & Leadership Insights, July 25. The discount will be applied only if you register for both Nexus Days in the same transaction and use Promo Code Nexus2024.

Full Event:
Eligible CPD Hours: 14
Course Fee: $850
PD Passport: 24 credits

Single day:
Eligible CPD Hours: 7
Course Fee: $475
PD Passport: 12 credits

Day 1: July 23

8:20am - 8:30am

Welcome and Introductory Remarks

8:30am - 10:10am

PLENARY

Tech Update

Keeping pace with technology has never been more crucial, and this session is your key to staying informed and ahead. This comprehensive session is tailored for accounting professionals seeking to understand the landscape of technological advancements. You will gain insights into the latest developments and how they impact the accounting sector. Our expert-led program will delve into the newest Software and Hardware innovations, the evolving role of AI and machine learning in accounting, and the burgeoning impact of technologies like quantum computing and blockchain. This course guides you through the advantages and challenges of these technologies and helps you craft a technology strategy that aligns with your business goals.

Key topics

  • AI and machine learning trends
  • Quantum computing in finance
  • Understanding the growing impact of blockchain and digital currencies in accounting
  • Software and hardware innovations

10:10am - 10:20am

Break

10:20am - 12pm

BREAKOUT 1

Office Scripts - The New Macros

Office Scripts is a new feature that allows you to automate tasks in Excel and other Office applications. Unlike VBA, a legacy language that runs only on Windows, Office Scripts can run on any platform and device that supports Office on the web. Further, Office Scripts has a modern and intuitive interface that lets you easily create, edit, and share your scripts. Office Scripts are stored in the Cloud, and they work with Office Online apps and integrate with Power Automate for process automation. Save time and improve productivity using Office Scripts in Excel and other Office applications.

Key topics

  • Introduction to Office Scripts
  • Recording your first script
  • Integration with Power Automate

Getting Started with Artificial Intelligence

Much has been written and said about Artificial Intelligence (AI). But for many professionals, AI remains an enigma because they do not know how to get started using tools such as Bard, ChatGPT, and Copilot. If that describes your situation, relax because help is here! Participate in this session to learn to use today’s AI tools. This session will teach you how to access and use multiple popular AI tools to improve efficiency and productivity. If you are starting with AI, this is one session you cannot miss!

Key topics

  • Understanding AI tools available today
  • Creating accounts in AI platforms
  • Querying data from AI platforms
  • Customizing your AI subscriptions

The ABCs of Automation with Microsoft’s Power Platform

Automation and standardization are two of the keys to productivity, but most people who are not programmers are unsure where to start. Microsoft’s Power Platform is a comprehensive platform for creating automated workflows, integrations, and data-driven reports. Components include Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate, Power Pages, and Power Virtual Agents. Attend this session to learn about this platform and how everyone can use its low-code, no-code environment to solve process challenges.

Key topics

  • Overview of the Power Platform and its components
  • Review examples of business processes that may benefit the most from using automation
  • Discussion and demonstration of its low-code/no-code app development environment

12pm - 1pm

Lunch Break

1pm - 2:40pm

BREAKOUT 2

What's Now, What's Next: Emerging Technologies

The Internet, Cloud-based applications, blockchain, cryptocurrencies, generative artificial intelligence, and software as a service were all revolutionary in their time. Still, many more technologies are in the pipeline and will change how we work, play, and experience life. This session will begin with an update on some of the technologies highlighted in our first session on this topic in 2018 and will continue with a discussion of the innovations to come in 2024 and beyond. Attend this session and learn about innovative technologies shaping our world today and those that will change it in the future.

Key topics

  • Quantum Computing
  • The integration of physical and digital experiences
  • Self-supervised learning
  • Synthetic data and its implications for AI training

Accessing Your Company's Data With Power Query and Power BI

Power Query and Power BI are genuinely incredible tools to revolutionize your workflow. They offer the promise of "write once, refresh many" reporting, where your reports can instantly update by clicking a button. While incredible tools, these features require additional training and experience to master. This session will review the different methods of connecting to your data and have multiple hands-on activities to help you master these incredible tools. After completing this session, you will know how to turn your organization's data into repeatable, refreshable PivotTables, Power BI dashboards, and more!

Key topics

  • Utilizing Power Query to access data from the web, spreadsheets, folders, and databases
  • Using Power Query to perform various transformations to clean up data before importing it to Power BI or Excel
  • Producing various reporting documents from data delivered from Power Query

CPA Firm Technology and Management Update

In the ever-evolving landscape of public practice accounting, this session stands as a beacon of knowledge and innovation. This year's offering delves into the latest advancements in technology and management strategies. We will also explore cutting-edge developments in data analytics, cybersecurity, practice management, and client service excellence in a highly competitive market. We will examine technologies like AI-enhanced auditing, blockchain in finance, and the latest in Cloud computing and automation. This session provides a comprehensive overview of significant trends, helping you make informed decisions for your firm's current and future technological and managerial needs.

Key topics

  • Evolving trends in the accounting profession, including shifts in supplier dynamics
  • Advanced software solutions tailored for various service lines and niche markets
  • Innovative automation tools, with an emphasis on AI and machine learning in accounting
  • Optimized technology stacks to boost productivity and profitability

2:40pm - 2:50pm

Break

2:50pm - 4:30pm

PLENARY


Excel Best Practices and Features

Microsoft Office Excel is one of the most widely used applications by accounting and financial professionals. Yet, many remain unaware of new and improved features in Excel and, therefore, fail to reach the level of productivity and accuracy they desire. Further, with new features appearing in Excel provided through Microsoft 365 subscriptions and the forthcoming release of Excel 2024, it is more important now than ever to get up-to-speed on the world’s most popular spreadsheet! Make plans now to elevate your Excel skills by participating in this session. You will learn about the newer features available to improve efficiency and accuracy in it. You will also learn about the importance of numerous legacy features in Excel and how you can – and should – continue to use these tools to improve productivity.

Key topics

  • What to look for in Excel 2024
  • How to take advantage of new functions and features in Excel
  • Integrating Excel data with other applications
  • Improving Excel security

Day 2: July 24

8:20am - 8:30am

Welcome and Introductory Remarks

8:30am - 10:10am

PLENARY

Time to Advance Automation

In today’s business environment, automation is no longer just a buzzword but a critical component for enhancing efficiency and accuracy. This session provides practical insights on automating your organization using advanced tools from Zoho, Zapier, Microsoft, and others. We will focus on real-world applications, demonstrating how to automate key accounts payable, banking, and approval workflows. You will also learn to recognize and avoid common pitfalls in automation projects. This session is essential for accounting and financial professionals seeking to leverage automation to achieve greater efficiency, reduce errors, and foster a more productive work environment.

Key topics

  • Advanced Automation Strategies: Best practices for starting or enhancing your automation journey
  • Key Tools for Automation: Exploring the latest features in Zoho, Zapier, Microsoft, and other tools
  • Practical Automation in Finance: Automating tasks in accounts payable, banking, and approval workflows
  • Navigating Common Pitfalls: Identifying and avoiding typical obstacles in automation projects

10:10am - 10:20am

Break

10:20am - 12pm

BREAKOUT 1

Optimizing Your Tech Stack

In the ever-evolving landscape of business technology, it is about having the right tools and optimizing for efficiency and cost-effectiveness. This session is designed for professionals seeking to balance functionality with financial prudence. It delves into strategies for streamlining your technology stack without sacrificing performance. We will guide you through assessing your current tech tools, identifying redundancies and exploring less expensive yet effective alternatives. You will learn techniques to evaluate the total cost of ownership of tech tools and make informed decisions to avoid overspending. This session is necessary for professionals seeking the most value from their technology investments.

Key topics

  • Conducting a tech stack assessment, including an inventory of current tools and applications
  • Identifying essential and redundant tools
  • Exploring cost-effective alternatives
  • Calculating your total cost of ownership

Advanced Collaboration Solutions

In an era where seamless collaboration and efficiency are paramount, this session provides an in-depth look into integrating cutting-edge technologies to enhance client interactions and workflow. It explores the latest advancements in client portals, incorporating PBC (Provided by Client) and 1040 workpaper products, integrating payment options, and eSignature capabilities. Understand how these tools meet compliance standards and significantly improve the user experience and operational efficiency. We will guide you through selecting the right mix of technologies to address your business challenges, ensuring your firm has the best tools for success in today's digital landscape.

Key topics

  • Enhanced Portals for Collaboration: Including PBC and 1040 workpaper integration
  • Modern Payment Solutions: Understanding and integrating various payment options into your portal
  • Effective Use of eSignatures: Streamlining processes and ensuring compliance
  • Feature Checklist for Collaboration Tools: What to look for in the latest technology

Small Business Accounting Solutions

The landscape of small business accounting constantly changes, and this session is your essential guide to navigating these changes. This course focuses on the most effective accounting solutions and supplementary tools for today’s small businesses. We explore robust, user-friendly software options, from industry staples like QuickBooks Online and Xero to emerging Cloud-based platforms and add-ons. The session helps you understand how these tools can streamline financial management for businesses with annual revenues up to $15 million. You will gain insights into the latest advancements, integration capabilities, and how to maximize efficiency and accuracy in small businesses.

Key topics

  • Current landscape of small business accounting software
  • Strengths and limitations of critical solutions
  • Effective add-ons and integrations
  • Implementation strategies

12pm - 12:50pm

Lunch Break

12:50pm - 1:40pm

BREAKOUT 2

Consumer Electronics Show 2024 Review

The Consumer Electronics Show 2024 (CES) is the premier event for witnessing the convergence of technology and consumer needs. This year's show provides unparalleled exploration of the latest innovations in the tech world. Attendees will experience the newest trends in smart home technology, wearable devices, augmented and virtual reality, and sustainable tech solutions. Our expert-led session provides accounting-centric insights into how these technologies reshape consumer behavior and the global marketplace. Whether you are a tech enthusiast, an industry professional, or just keen on staying ahead of the technological curve, CES 2024 offers valuable insights you should not miss.

Key topics

  • Smart Home Innovations: Discover the latest advancements in home automation and IoT devices
  • Wearable Technology Trends: Explore the future of health, fitness, and personal tech wearables
  • Augmented and Virtual Reality: Delve into immersive experiences and their impact on entertainment, education, and business
  • Sustainable Technology Solutions: Uncover new developments in eco-friendly and energy-efficient technologies


AI Confidential? Privacy And AI

Generative Artificial Intelligence captured everyone's imagination when it launched in 2022, but it also creates opportunities for data leakage and inappropriate use of confidential data based on the terms of service. Unfortunately, everyone has clicked "I agree" on a Terms of Service (TOS) or End User License Agreement (EULA) document which they neither read nor understood. This session will review the standard terms embedded in these documents with thousands of words and incomprehensible terminology. Attend this breakout and learn what you wish you knew about analyzing and evaluating license agreements and privacy policies.

Key topics

  • Tools for evaluating and summarizing licenses and privacy policies
  • Definitions of significant terms and concepts often used in software licenses
  • Review critical terms associated with services like Microsoft 365 or QuickBooks Online

Better Reporting With QuickBooks Online

Presently, over seven million businesses use QuickBooks Online. However, these businesses often struggle to get the reports they need. In some cases, they are limited because of their chosen subscription. However, necessary reports are available in other cases, yet users do not know how to access them. Join us in this session to learn about better reporting options in QuickBooks Online. In this session, you will learn how to create and customize your reports in QuickBooks Online. You will learn about Standard, Custom, and Management reports. You will also learn about the new Spreadsheet Sync tool that allows you to create customized reports, including multi-company reports in Excel. If you use QuickBooks Online and want to improve reporting, this session is for you!

Key topics

  • The types of reports available in QuickBooks Online, by subscription level
  • Customizing reports to meet your needs
  • Spreadsheet Sync in QuickBooks Online Advanced

1:40pm - 1:50pm

Break

1:50pm - 2:40pm

BREAKOUT 3


Harnessing ChatGPT

Enhance your productivity and streamline your accounting practices with ideas learned in this session. This dynamic program, designed specifically for accountants seeking a competitive edge, delves into the practical applications of ChatGPT in your daily workflow. From conducting comprehensive research and creating compelling correspondence to swiftly addressing technical inquiries and optimizing Excel formulas, you will gain invaluable skills to expedite your tasks and improve overall efficiency. Furthermore, we will delve into the power of ChatGPT plugins, equipping you with the knowledge to process PDF documents seamlessly and efficiently navigate the vast expanse of the web. Join us on this transformative journey and unlock your potential as a proficient and empowered accountant.

Key topics

  • Leveraging prompt engineering in ChatGPT for various accounting tasks
  • Exploring the applications and limitations of ChatGPT in accounting
  • Empowering efficiency for everyday accounting tasks


Effective Automation and Outsourcing

While outsourcing and automation have been used in multinational corporations, the decline in accounting program enrollment at many universities has made finding qualified entry-level staff more challenging and forced a new conversation about these tools in small and mid-sized businesses. This session will discuss the business environment for outsourcing and review the ethical, regulatory, and practical considerations associated with revealing data and relying on the work of others in your organization.

Key topics

  • Overview of how firms and businesses currently use automation and outsourcing
  • Discussion of the management and regulatory compliance issues with offshore and onshore outsourcing use in small and mid-size organizations
  • Review of which tasks are best suited for offshoring, which solutions are best for onshore outsourcing, and which solutions can be solved with technology
  • Discussion of specific solution providers which provide solutions for tax and accounting firms as well as internal accounting departments

Saving Time with Electronic Forms

Web portals, "low-code/no-code” data collection, and survey tools have changed how we collect data. Modern solutions like Microsoft 365 Forms, Zoho Survey, SurveyMonkey, Microsoft PowerApps, and legacy tools like Adobe Acrobat Forms allow users to create web forms and integrate the resulting data into business process workflows. This session introduces the range of available tools, demonstrates standard features, and shows how tools permit users to expose or conceal questions based on answers given earlier in the survey. Attend this session to learn how to use tools you already own to collect data from your team, customers, and vendors efficiently.

Key topics

  • Comparing the capabilities and costs associated with forms/data collection tools and the different approaches taken by each tool
  • The benefits and risks associated with using each approach
  • Examples of how tools can be used effectively, with examples

2:40pm - 2:50pm

Break

2:50pm - 4:30pm

PLENARY

Ripped from the Headlines: Lessons from Interesting Crimes

Remote and hybrid work during the pandemic created new opportunities for cybercriminals and other fraudsters to exploit, and accounting professionals are among the most targeted individuals. This session is a series of case studies that examine actual criminal filings and news accounts and use them to highlight the actions you can take to limit your exposure to similar schemes. Atend this session and learn more about how high-profile control failures occurred so you can be more effective at preventing crimes such as theft, malware, ransomware, phishing, and hacking.

Key topics

  • Common security weaknesses that occur with hardware and software at home and in the office
  • Malware, ransomware, data breach, and incident response tips
  • Internal control failures which result in the theft of assets or unauthorized manipulation of data
Jeff Cook

Jeff Cook, CPA, CA, CITP is the president of Cook+Co, Chartered Professional Accountant, a virtual accounting firm that services small to medium sized businesses across Canada in advisory, tax, and information systems.

Jeff has a rich history in public accounting having worked with a specialized boutique firm that provides training and consultation exclusively to the public accounting industry; a large regional firm; and the Office of the Auditor General. Jeff is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), and a Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP), as well as a graduate of Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador with a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA).


Randy Johnston

Randy Johnston, MCS has been a top-rated speaker in the technology industry for over 40 years. Inducted into the Accounting Hall of Fame in 2011, Randy is listed as a Top 25 Thought Leader in Accounting from 2011-2024.

His influence throughout the accounting profession was highlighted again this year by receiving the 2023 Accounting Today Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting award for the twentieth consecutive year. In addition, Randy writes a monthly column and produces a weekly podcast for The CPA Practice Advisor, features for the Journal of Accountancy, creates articles for accounting and technology publications, and is the author of numerous books. He has started and owns multiple businesses, including K2 Enterprises in Hammond, Louisiana, and Network Management Group, Inc. in Hutchinson, Kansas. NMGI has supported CPA firms for 40 years and is the largest managed service provider serving the CPA profession in North America.


Mac McClelland

Mac McClelland, MBA, JD an attorney and accounting professional, is an associate of K2 Enterprises of Hammond, Louisiana, and Network Management Group of Hutchinson, Kansas.

Mac was formerly the director of the Centre for Financial Studies at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, where he lived and worked for seven years from 1990 to 1997. He was also a member of the faculty of the Advanced Business Programme, ranked in the top 100 MBA programs in the world by The Economist, specializing in business strategy and strategic management accounting. He gained his practical experience in information systems with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and has an established practice in business and technology consulting. Mac has taught hundreds of continuing professional education seminars to accountants and business managers in the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and Southeast Asia.


Tommy Stephens

Tommy Stephens, CPA, CITP, CGMA is presently a certified public accountant in Georgia, a Certified Information Technology Professional, and a Chartered Global Management Accountant. In 2003, Mr. Stephens affiliated with K2 Enterprises and in 2007 he joined the firm as a partner.

Tommy received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree (Major in Accounting) from Auburn University in 1985. In 1992, he earned a Master of Science degree (Major in Finance) from Georgia State University in Atlanta. During his professional career, Tommy has gained valuable experience in a variety of positions, including: working as an auditor and technology consultant for an Atlanta-based public accounting firm; leading an Internal Audit staff and managing a Cost Accounting team for a Fortune 500 company; serving as a Chief Financial Officer for an international engineering organization; and founding and managing his public accounting firm that provides accounting, tax, and consulting services to individuals and a variety of small and emerging businesses. Over the past thirty-eight years, Tommy has presented over 3,100 educational sessions to over 78,000 participants throughout the United States and Canada.


Brian Tankersley

Brian Tankersley, CITP, CGMA, certified public accountant in Tennessee, is a consultant who advises US firms and companies on accounting technology issues. He is a frequent speaker at continuing education courses for K2 Enterprises, and publishes a nationally recognized blog on accounting and technology.

Brian has also served as the technology editor for a major accounting industry publication. He has over 25 years of professional experience, including accounting, auditing, technology, and education, and has been with K2 Enterprises since 2005. Brian has been recognized eight times as one of the “Top 25 Thought Leaders in Public Accounting Technology” by Cygnus Business Media. He has made presentations in 48 of the 50 US states and has served as a guest speaker for many professional accounting organizations across Canada.