Five years after the last meeting of the Bergey’s International Society for Microbial Systematics (BISMiS) was held in South Africa, the Society hosted its 5th meeting in Guangzhou, China, from 6-9 November. The meeting was attended by more than 600 delegates representing around 30 countries. Prof. Fanus Venter attended the meeting and gave a presentation advocating for an all-inclusive approach when describing new bacterial species. Several of the well-curated databases contain genome sequences and biological and distribution information linked to it. He believed that inclusion of this data, when performing taxonomic studies, will assist in creating an evolutionary framework and ecological and functional context for the new taxa. Such an approach will certainly improve the relevance of systematics and be of benefit to the end-use. On the final day of the meeting Fanus took part in a round-table discussion on the impact of the newly established SeqCode on bacterial systematics. The executive Board of BISMiS was also announced and Fanus joined it as President-elect. During his visit Fanus also attended the board meeting of the Bergey’s Manual Trust at the Sun Yat-Sen University in Gaungzhou where the future of the Manual and new publication strategies were discussed.