Thursday, 23 April 2015

2015 User Conference an unprecedented success

Our User Conference is an annual highlight for us at idu, and for many of our clients as well. The event held last month was an incredible success.

80 CFOs, Financial Directors, Financial Managers, Financial Accountants, IT managers and other key financial role-players travelled from as far away as New Zealand, giving the event an overall approval rating of over 90%. The number of attendees has increased steadily every year, along with the conference approval ratings.

Our goal for the conference is to provide our users with 2 days packed with value; from product training, to sharing our goals and plans for the year ahead, to collaborating on what they would like to see us focus on moving forward. 

We also work hard to ensure there is a good balance of fun and downtime, with a comedian to add some lightness, a spectacular and unique gala event and amazing food. One of our key focuses is to secure high quality speakers to share personal journeys rich in relatable business lessons.

Our primary focus through 2014 was building on V5 and rolling it out; so this year’s training and workshops showcased its new functionality, the Revenue Module, the Analytics Module and the Spend Management Module. From the enthusiasm and response to this, we expect to see a large portion of our client base moving across to Version 5 over the coming year. 

Speakers this year included Riaan Manser, Guy Lundy, John McLoughlin, Keith Fenner, Gary Hope, Riaad Moosa and of course our very own Kevin Phillips; and the attendees rated them 8.1 / 9 on quality and value.

So, what does the road ahead look like? 

“Our client base is growing constantly, and we will be continuing to form strategic alliances that support our expansion internationally,” says Kevin Phillips. “In terms of product, we will continue to stay abreast of developments and browser compatibility, investigating new opportunities and expanding on our cloud platform; while updating and rolling out V5 modules.”


Planning has already begun for next year’s conference, which will be held on 7 and 8 April at the Vineyard Hotel and Conference Centre; so get it in your diary today and keep an eye out through the year for sneak peeks and information.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

With great power comes great responsibility

Power has an important role to play in the business world, especially in the context of leadership. Leaders need power in order to get results, but they also need to be accountable for the results of that power and understand the value in empowering others. 

In broad strokes, power can be used in two ways, for good or for evil, and we are all familiar with the great examples of power and leadership found in the annals of superheroes. 

There are lessons to be learned from all the great superheroes. Whether your power lies in resources, money and people or an exceptional strength unique to you; whether you operate in openness and honesty with transparency that earns the trust and loyalty of others like Iron Man or you are more like Batman, working behind the scenes, overcoming obstacles while remaining unknown, a symbol of a shared belief or goal. 

Superheroes can have intrinsic superpowers like Superman, or have gained them through some seeming misfortune like Spiderman or simply use the strengths at their disposal to achieve a goal like Batman or Iron Man; they can work together in teams like the Avengers or with side-kicks like Batman and Robin. But they are all “good”, using their power to benefit others never themselves, predominantly through self-imposed moral standards. The takeaway – anyone can be a leader if they use the power they have to lead by example.

Problems arise when someone wants all the power for themselves, it becomes not the way in which they achieve a goal but the goal itself, and thus a supervillain is born. The supervillain uses people with no regard for who they are and their potential strengths are seen only as a means to a personal end; they use their power or resources to manipulate others into meeting their own agendas, blaming others for every failure and hoarding all the praise for every success. Most of us have worked with or for “leaders” like this in our careers.

Perhaps in business, the answer lies more in teams of leaders, like the X-men, all with their own unique powers and one person whose purpose is to bring them together and teach them how to share that power and how to bring their own special strength to the fore when the need arises.


Power itself is neither good nor evil; it is how it is wielded by those who have it that sets the tone. Part of being a good leader, and a good superhero, is the ability to work with others, sharing power and responsibility and inspiring others to believe in something bigger than themselves. When wielding your power, are you a superhero or a supervillain?

*As published in Accountancy South Africa magazine in September 2014