September 20, 2019

Marketing

4 Ideas to Help Accounting Firms Improve Their Marketing

Previously on Going Concern, I wrote a post called "Why Accountants Suck at Marketing." As a follow up, here are four simple ways accountants can do better. Don’t focus on the details of what you do Focus instead on how you make your clients more successful. I love this graphic (from the Intercom Blog). If […]

Why Accountants Suck at Marketing

Ed. note: Today we welcome Blake Oliver as a contributor to Going Concern. We interviewed him last May after he sold his firm, Cloudsourced Accounting to HPC1where he now serves as Director of Technology and Marketing. Before all that, he majored in classical music and worked briefly as a freelance cellist in Los Angeles. You […]

Accounting Firms Have One Use for Marketing

A recent survey found that 75% accounting firms consider revenue growth to be, "the primary purpose of their marketing efforts." In other words, partners quote Jerry Maguire while everyone in the marketing deparment rolls their eyes and makes the jerkoff motion. [AT]

Deloitte Reveals the Secrets Behind the Life at Deloitte Twitter Account

How many times have we wistfully wondered "there is no way this can be a real person, it has to be some HR bot" while scrolling through the Life at Deloitte account? Surely no one is that intoxicated on Kool-Aid. Are they? According to this interview with Marketing Sherpa, they are. Deloitte saw the account […]

What Accounting Firm Logos Say About Those Firms

I was screwing around on Pinterest earlier today because it's a slow Friday (and a half Friday at that, at least for us, so barring some huge accounting scandal at 4:01 PM, find me at the bar later this afternoon) and got really enraged by PwC littering up my screen with their obnoxious graphics. Exhibit […]

The AICPA’s Latest Marketing Tactic is to Make Themselves as Indispensable as Basic Hygiene

What's this, now? Make must-have connections.   Let's just get this out the way first, you're not making any connections unless you also bathe regularly. So no, no one is making you do either but one is a far better idea to keep up on than the other if you ever want to get anywhere […]

Looks Like Grant Thornton’s Much-Beloved Chief Marketing Officer is Out

We're guessing everyone who cares already knows. But just in case, here is the most thorough of the many tips we received on this news this afternoon: Today Grant Thornton's chief marketing officer, Tricia Conahan, shared two important announcements with the marketing and sales team. First, Michelle Mazur [sic] was promoted to the new head […]

If Accounting Firms’ Slogans Were Honest, What Would They Be?

Surely you’ve seen Honest Slogans floating around your Facebook newsfeed? If you haven’t, the premise is pretty obvious:

Blind Item: Something Might Be Going Down in Grant Thornton’s Marketing Department

We received this snazzy little item in the tip box and while it has not been confirmed, the commentary is so passionate that we can't help but think maybe just maybe this can be trusted. Names have been removed to protect the innocent: [Marketing Lady] says only 4 positions eliminated but does not mention the […]

PwC Is Missing a Huge Opportunity to Market Its IRS Resolution Services

Tax Masters. JK Harris. The Tax Lady. Their late-night commercials have all, at one time or another, pierced through the blood-shot eyes of insomniacs across the nation, ensuring that the sleepless masses are treated fairly and with respect during their IRS resolution. Unfortunately, they have all been killed off in some fashion or another. But […]

CPA Exam Marketing, You’re Kind of Doing It Wrong

I don’t say this to be mean, I say this to be helpful I swear. I noticed something sketchy about this Becker marketing campaign.

Apparently they have a Posterous (news to me) and share CPA exam tips. That part sounds awesome but somehow it fails in the execution. Here’s what I mean:

Did you know that the sections of the CPA Exam have different time allotments?

You can use as much of the time allotted to complete each section as you like. The testing computer screen displays a countdown of the time you have left. As you practice, it’s important to learn how to budget your time wisely, so you don’t find yourself scrambling at the end to finish.

Sorry but that’s horribly vague. What is that supposed to tell someone about time allotments on the CPA exam? What on Earth is ‘You can use as much of the time allotted to complete each section as you like?’ supposed to mean? Sure you technically can use as much of the time allotted (I’m assuming they mean per section?) but I don’t think that’s a very helpful suggestion to give someone actually trying to pass the CPA exam.

In a different post, they also say “Getting your CPA is a little like getting to Carnegie Hall — it’s all about practice!”

Each post ends with an obvious link to one of their products that is tangentially related to whatever the vague “tip” says.

In fewer words, WTF purpose is this supposed to serve?

Like I said, meant to be useful, I swear.

Five Ways Not to Suck As an Accounting Blogger

Initially Caleb got butthurt and thought I was writing this article about him but I guess that means he thinks he sucks. I can’t name any accounting bloggers that actually suck and know plenty so here’s how not to tip that number past 0 if you’re thinking of taking it up.


Write about what you enjoy Believe it or not, there are people who care about: CPA exam experiences, SOX compliance, non-profit accounting, accounting technology, Big 4 bashing, rence, accounting education, the Fed (cough), tax law… you name it and someone is writing about and looking to read about it right now. If you write about what you think people want to read about, chances are they won’t read it. Someone out there is totally into keeping LIFO even after we adopt IFRS so if that’s your thing, go for it but stay true to what you’re into.

Don’t isolate There are some folks who get away with being reclusive hermits or narcissistic pricks that don’t engage with the broader group of us (I won’t name names) but for the most part, if you want people to embrace what you’re doing, you’re going to have to bite it and talk to them sometime. Don’t trip, we’re not that bad. You can pick and choose which of the bunch you associate with and no one is saying you have to like every other accounting blogger out there. But at least find a few who don’t annoy you to talk to and share ideas with every now and then. If Dennis Howlett can manage, so can you.

Don’t get stuck in your niche Even if you’re strictly into LIFO, think about reaching out beyond your specialty and even beyond accounting to areas like finance, law and politics. It’s OK, it’s all relevant. The great thing about writing about what you love is that no one can tell you how to do it, not even us. The broader your subject matter, the more appeal you’ll have.

Actually try The thing about writing for this audience is that you have to keep doing it without getting much interaction back. We’ve personally seen countless state societies of CPAs abandon or under-evaluate their efforts in this medium simply because they didn’t get the Seth Godin reaction they were expecting. You aren’t Chris Brogan and accountants aren’t going to flock to your content by the bazillions, there are only so many of them to reach in the first place. Being in such a small, specialized group, it’s important to remember that you might not get the reaction you want right off the bat, if ever. But if you give up early, you’ll miss out on that reaction later.

Don’t think you know your audience’s expectations The best way to figure out if you’re delivering to your target is to access your site’s analytics and see who is coming from where and how. But even if you’re a stat whore like some of us, you can only tell so much about your audience from your side. Listen to what people are saying and try to recognize patterns in what is well-received and what is ignored. This isn’t just a blogging thing, you can use that sort of wisdom with e-mail marketing, Twitter, whatever. They’ll let you know what they like so don’t be so busy yelling your point to listen.

And as a bonus 6th tip, try to shake things up a little. This didn’t make the list because it really doesn’t work for everyone but for some of us it’s the only way to do it. If you aren’t afraid of being humiliated out of the industry with your big fat mouth, try pushing the envelope every now and then. Trust me, it feels awesome.

What the AICPA’s New Website Means for CPA Exam Candidates

The short answer: not really anything but I spent 3 years slogging through that last design and can I tell the AICPA that it was absolutely awful? I’m not bitter or anything but I can only imagine what candidates felt like trying to find even the simplest bit of information.


They tell you before you take on the CPA exam to check out cpa-exam.org and run the tutorial before you actually sit down for a section so you can familiarize yourself with the computerized format. CPA Review providers cannot duplicate exam content or the environment exactly, as it is proprietary information, so simulations are a must-do and navigating is a skill you’ll pick up along the way if you don’t already have it. So as long as you’ve already done that, your next stop is the redesigned AICPA website.

Watch a PPT on becoming a CPA, learn about joining the AICPA as a candidate member, or check out their many resources on career options in the accounting industry. You’ve seen Start Here Go Places (an AICPA project that markets the exciting career of accounting to high schoolers and beyond), I don’t need to point you to that.

The AICPA is hot on marketing and excellent at it, even if they do make a poor choice every now and then (Benjamin Bankes, I’m talking about you, dude), so it’s no surprise that they are trying to seduce undecided college students and disgruntled finance professionals looking to switch professions. Things are slightly better in accounting so it isn’t all slick marketing, but I digress.

You can check licensure requirements for your state and even find out how much “average” accountants make. I encourage all of you considering accounting as a career to doublecheck those numbers with Going Concern salary threads.

Anyway.

Overall it’s an improvement and hopefully aggregating this information on the AICPA’s website will make it easier for candidates to find what they need. What do you think?

(Remember also that the ultimate authority on your CPA exam experience is your state board, NASBA, or CPA exam administrating company (like Washington), not the AICPA. Always check with your state board et al. before filing applications or forms if you are unsure on any CPA exam information you read.)

Adrienne Gonzalez is a Going Concern contributor and former CPA wrangler. You can see more of her posts here and all posts on the CPA Exam here.

Accenture Loves Animals, Just Not Tigers

Thumbnail image for Tiger accenture ad.jpgAfter taking a stab at making the Tiger image still work and then realizing that the Andersen treatment was the only way to go, Accenture has rolled out their new advertising campaign.
Rather than take your suggestion that an ultimate fighter — with an accounting degree no less — would be the best route, Accenture has decided that sticking with the animal mantra was the best way to go.

The Journal spent 1,100 words telling us about the new Earth shattering idea:

After nearly a month of focus-group testing and production work, Accenture is rolling out the new global marketing campaign this week. The creatures, which include an elephant, a chameleon and some frogs and fish, will star in a series of TV, print and online spots.

One of the posters shows an elephant balancing precariously on a surfboard. The text reads, “Who says you can’t be big and nimble?” Another ad shows a frog leaping over three others, with the tagline, “Play quantum leapfrog.”


So the marketing team is sitting around, drinking bottled water, drumming on the conference table and suddenly, someone blurts out “You know, Tiger is man but it’s also an animal.”

Everyone stares at this fool that just said the stupidest thing they’d ever heard, “And?” one team member snaps back.
“Well, since everyone is used to Tiger, which is also an animal, we’ll just replace the man with animals that aren’t tigers. That way, people will still think ‘animals = Accenture is good’ but not ‘the guy named after an animal is a cheating bastard.’ Get it?”

The light bulb finally clicks on for everyone else. “You’re right. We’ll just put animals that aren’t tigers in the ads. No one cares if animals cheat on their spouses. Brilliant!”

Prior to this revelation, Accenture apparently considered jugglers and jump ropers. We understand this was five alarm blaze for the company but elephants on surfboards and leap frog was the solution? Maybe they’re just had the whole animal thing on the brain and couldn’t shake it.

But hey, what do we know? We’re sure it’ll be a huge success. Can’t wait for the Super Bowl commercials. Get those frogs to drink beer and then you’ll have a winner for sure.
After Ditching Tiger, Accenture Tries New Game [WSJ]