– Ty’s Summer Internship – Day 15 –
It sounds funny to me that I am traveling from Honolulu to Vegas for business. I don’t know if there is any occasion that I will encounter this kind of situation in the rest of my life. This moment is priceless.
The trip to Vegas was really fun. I was able to experience Donny’s high frequent flyer status: the First Class line for check-in, the priority tag for the luggage, and the airline lounge. He was friends with the ladies at the lounge counter since he travels so often, and they even re-arrange his travels for him too. He had some seat changes he wanted to make and just chatted with those ladies, and they took care of everything! According to Donny, they even call him for the better seating and flight deals. Wow, that is called service.
The first part of Vegas trip is for Donny to lead the IMTA Executive Committee meeting. They have these planning meetings a couple times a year to figure out what to do for the upcoming months, check on the progress of the committee’s task forces, and discuss the overall direction of the section. This means that I did not have anything to do at this moment, so I decided to work on projects from “home” (in the hotel room). I think this is the beauty of working as a consultant. As long as you have access to your PC and Internet (and cell phone), you can pretty much work from anywhere you want. Essentially that’s what Donny does. Since he frequently travels, he fully utilizes mobile technologies to work remotely, and this gives him great insights and ideas from his own experiences which he uses to advise his clients.
After 3 days of intense meetings (for Donny, not me), the real fun part of the Vegas trip started – the Practitioner Symposium & Tech+ Conference by AICPA. This is one of the largest conferences put on by AICPA, with more than 1,400 participants from all over the nation. IMTA has oversight of the technology-related tracks in this conference (other tracks are accounting & tax, and marketing), so this is the best and busiest conference for Donny. As we go through the registration process, people come up to Donny every 2 minutes. I don’t think I am exaggerating this, but the Exhibition Hall is about a 5 minute walk from the registration office, but it took us almost half hour to get there because Donny had so many people come up and say hi.
I think this is the strong backbone of his business. Donny has been serving the AICPA, speaking at many conferences, and networking with other CPAs and people in the related fields. A big majority of his business is obtained by referral, and it makes sense now that I’ve seen how many people he knows–this is how he manages his sales. Also, since ITK is the only CPA firm that does this type of work in Hawaii (and possibly one of few in the nation), the CPA/CITP has been a strong advantage for him. I think he has established a strong foundation in the niche area of the business world.
After meeting dozens of Donny’s colleagues, we finally get to the Exhibition Hall, where all the vendors have their booths to promote their organization or products. Now, it’s time for me to do “demo hopping”, which is one of my missions in this conference—to learn about all the various accounting and business software.