Microsoft




Microsoft Conference to Provide Consulting Help

S taff members who are their firms experts on technology and consulting are not invited to Microsofts June conference, but the nonexperts are. The Partners Conference, presented in cooperation with the American Institute of CPAs, is designed to help senior partners figure out the whys and hows of adding consulting niches to their firms—in technology or other areas. There will be no talk of specific products—Microsofts or anyone elses—and only one session devoted to technology. "Were directing the conference at sole practitioners and partners—especially managing partners—of small and midsize firms below the Big 6 level," Matt Davis, Microsofts marketing manager for the accounting profession, told the Journal . "We want to offer them the tools and strategies to begin the consulting process. The conference will help partners answer the question, Why should my firm invest human and capital resources in developing a consulting practice?"

The conference will give "the captains of firms a chance to listen to captains of industry," said Davis. Speakers will include Donald Tapscott, an expert on the transformation of business to a digital economy and author of The Digital Economy and Paradigm Shift ; Michael Brown, Microsofts chief financial officer, who will discuss consulting services and the CPAs role as a strategic business adviser; and AICPA President Barry Melancon. Breakout sessions will cover how to build a viable economic model for a consulting practice, the formal strategic planning process needed and various business models. These sessions will draw heavily on firms that have made successful transitions to consulting practices.

The conference will take place June 1-3 in Phoenix. The cost is $795, including meals and all sessions. Attendees can receive continuing professional education credit. Microsoft has set up a recorded message with all the details at 800-282-5988 as well as a special Web site: http://www.partnersconference.com .

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