QuickBooks sent an email to attendees on Sunday morning to inform them that it made the “difficult decision” to cancel QuickBooks Connect London out of “an abundance of caution”.
“Given the rapidly changing situation with COVID-19 and the size and scale of the QuickBooks Connect London event, we are cancelling out of an abundance of caution,” the email read. “This was a difficult decision, but the health and safety of our employees, customers, partners and communities are our top priorities.”
Attendees of the two-day event were expecting to see big ticket keynote speakers such as heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua and star of TV’s The Apprentice, Karen Brady, as well as workshops on wellbeing and mental health, technology and networking opportunities for new firms.
Every year, the two day QuickBooks Connect event attracts 1,500 QuickBooks customers and exhibitors from around the world, with the accounting professionals having a dedicated programme on day one.
Intuit is working on ways to share the stories and announcements that would have come out of the event. On the product front, QuickBooks watchers were anticipating enhancements to QBOA such as client benchmarks and dashboards to support advisory work. If things have been going well at the development labs, there might have been a glimpse of the much-anticipated Cashflow Planner that produces a 90-day cashflow forecast out of the data within QuickBooks Online.
During the past three months, Intuit has also been rolling out new features such as receipt capture and mileage tracking as well as new Open Banking connections.
The key theme driving all these enhancements is “saving time” Intuit’s head of product for Europe Shaun Shirazian told AccountingWEB in November.
“Getting data from my client into my software to manage their books is a time-consuming process, with accountants having to chase and send Excel spreadsheets, receipts and paper invoices. Giving accountants and small business owners have better can facilitate better decisions and better support on things [clients] should be doing. You have to move away from the manual work for the accountant to be more of a strategic adviser for small business owners than they currently are,” he said.
Intuit’s decision to cancel its event comes as the Prime Minister says the spread of the virus is likely. However, Boris Johnson has encouraged people to “go about business as usual” and the UK was “very well prepared”.
This is not the first time QuickBooks Connect London has suffered from events beyond its control. In 2018, the event felt the arctic blast from the beast from the east, which sent temperatures freezing. Speakers battled on and delivered their panels and workshops on Making Tax Digital and other topical topics wrapped in blankets, while the attendees at the freezing London Printworks venue kept their coats buttoned up.
QuickBooks Connect is one of many tech events which have had to cancel before the doors even opened due to the coronavirus. Facebook, Google and Cisco have also pulled shows due to the fear of spreading the virus.