A successful weekend

This past weekend was a good one for Excelguru.

On Thursday evening we travelled over to Vancouver and stayed at the Westin Grand, downtown. I have to say that I quite enjoy the Westin hotels, and this one was no exception. Exceptional service, clean and comfortable room, and central to everywhere that we needed to be, which was awesome.

Friday morning we were up and off to Blink Media Works to shoot 3 more Excel videos for the Certified General Accountant’s PD Net. I shoot all the Excel specific on-screen footage in the Excelguru offices, but I’m on screen in full HD when going through PowerPoint slides doing introductions and wrap-ups for each of the examples. It’s always an interesting thing being on camera, as it’s not forgiving at all. Unlike a live audience where, if you make a mistake you can just laugh it off, you can’t do that. Naturally, with 3 videos being done, there’s no way to memorize all the material (it would detract from the “realness” even if we did, I think), so I’ve got bullet point notes for each slide. Forgot one, reshoot. Forget the points you want to make, reshoot. Stumble over a couple of words, reshoot. It’s actually pretty hard work!

Regardless, we managed to get through all 3 in one day, which was awesome. In my impression it was the most comfortable, relaxed and on-key shoot we’ve had yet. What I didn’t count on though, was how dehydrated I felt after the shoot was over. Even though I was drinking water all day, I guess the lights and talking cause you to lose a LOT of fluids. (I pretty much spent most of Friday night pounding down the water to get re-hydrated for Saturday’s live course.)

When we broke out of the shoot the sun was shining, so we decided to walk back to the hotel. That was a really nice way to stretch the legs, get a little exercise and chat about the experience. We also took the opportunity of being right downtown to walk to the Keg in Yaletown for dinner. This may seem weird, but things aren’t all laid out in walking distance in Nanaimo, so this was a bit of a novelty to us.

Saturday morning was a bit drizzly, so we cabbed it down to the Terminal City Club for that morning’s session on Data Cleanup and Summarization, hosted by the Certified Management Accountants. I always enjoy teaching there too. The staff are fantastic and easy to work with, the facilities are always impeccable, and it just feels good to be in such a classy place. J

I had ten people for the course on Saturday, who seemed to enjoy the material. As I normally plan my hands on courses for about 20, we ended up going off topic a few times, as we had time to follow some topics I hadn’t planned on covering. We also ended up with about 45 minutes of great questions and discussions at the end of the session as well. I always love that, as it really makes me think and approach things from angles I might not be used to. The best part of teaching any of these sessions though, bar none, is when the attendees leave excited about Excel and wanting to learn more about different areas that they haven’t worked with. Very cool stuff!

About a week before the session, a colleague had also invited us out to lunch. I’d never actually met Tony before, so it was great to go and chat with him.

Tony and I have very similar backgrounds as we’re both Certified Management Accountants, and we’re both very solidly branched into the IT field as well. Our discussions primarily revolved around how integrated the roles of IT and accounting are becoming, yet how most people don’t seem to recognize that combined value for some reason. When you see job postings it’s generally for an accountant OR a systems person, but not a hybrid of both. While that may make sense for large businesses, especially since both roles are complicated and technical in their own ways, for a small business it’s important to have an IT person that understands the impact of their decisions on the overall business process and cycle, and an accountant that understands the benefits and drawbacks of the current and future IT enhancement plans.

Having said that, if you’re looking for IT work, and want it done by someone who understands the overall impact to your bottom line, Tony runs a company called Abakox Solutions Inc, and that’s what they do. J

All in all, it was a great weekend. I met a lot of great people and got to talk about Excel in depth. Tough to beat that!

I hope your weekend was a good to you!

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