Practice Marketing For Busy Accountants

Aug 8th, 2008 | By | Category: Marketing Professional Services

The economies of running any professional practice are based on the fact that the primary product, the professional has to sell is their time. Almost any professional service offered must be performed directly by one or more individuals. As a result, as practitioners focus on making the most efficient use of their time and productivity, to the detriment of their marketing activities.

Most accountants and other financial professionals use a basic variety of techniques such as networking, distributing client newsletters, direct mail and cold calling. Each of these methods alone can produce some results, but are usually more productive use as part of a coordinated marketing plan.

Almost every accountant develops his or her own business plan when they first decide to open their own practice. However, the average accountants business plan is woefully short on marketing specifics. The reason for this is simple, almost every business school in every college offering an accounting concentration, teaches technical skills focused on debit’s and credit’s, and almost nothing on the entrepreneurial skills required of a professional practitioner in public practice.

Despite this dearth of entrepreneurial training, the economics of self-employment require any self-employed professional in public practice to market their services.

Back in “ye olden days” professionals were prohibited by law from advertising, so many of them became very adept at skills that ultimately became referred to as “Rainmaking.” The term Rainmaker was first applied to the high-profile attorneys who attracted the clients that were serviced by the rest of the firm. Most likely a parallel was made between the way rain flowed down and the way the clients flowed down through the firm.

Because they could not advertise, these “Rainmakers” used the skills lawyers are trained to use, writing and speaking. This came naturally; those lawyers are trained to write, things like briefs and contracts, and to speak, especially when arguing a case.

Financial professionals, such as accountants, were not so lucky. Their college training focused on how to add and subtract. Harsh as it may seem, accounting rules are basically rules of when to add and when to subtract from one side of the ledger to the other.

Out of necessity, over the years top accountants began to develop the same skills, with the result that their practices began to grow and prosper, while the less fortunate, struggled and floundered.

However, with the advent of the Internet and a worldwide talent pool, new tools and techniques began to emerge. Among them were skilled ghostwriters, private label publications, and self-publishing. Financial professionals immediately flocked to these resources, adding features like platform speaking, small business academies, and distance learning to the mix.
Many of these resources turned out to be created by young technically savvy computer types, who, although they created many breakthroughs in software technology and product delivery, were not experienced in the rainmaking techniques used by people in the professions.

These technically savvy, but industry ignorant, individuals began to create new ways to deliver product and services. Things like online accounting and payroll were rushed to market. While these were technical breakthroughs and increased productivity, many times they did not answer the question “What does the client want?”

Did the client really want to enter their payroll online, or did the accountant want them to enter it online so he or she wouldn’t have to? What do you think? Whose workload was that easing? Do you think this client will be passing along referrals?

Apparently one old geezer of a retired accountant began to see the folly and began to digitize all of the material he had accumulated during his thirty years as an accountant, and make it available online, giving private label rights to accountants and other financial professionals just starting their own practice.

By taking advantage of this type of resource material, the startup professional receives a kick-start in their Rainmaking by being able to give speeches, seminars and training courses using the textbooks, lesson outlines, teachers’ notes and handouts available. These professionals were able to immediately present themselves as a knowledgeable expert and counselor. In addition, they immediately had access to a complete “Print on Demand” service, complete with ghostwriters familiar with financial rules and regulation, printers and a bindery to help them develop their own books and speeches.

Kirk first published this article at Ezine Articles on . You can continue this article at the Instant Practice Builder.

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2 comments
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  1. Hallo Kirk,
    The above article(the whole blog) occurs to be very useful for me (I subscribed this channel). I will go to an Accounting Company in about 2 weeks and maybe I get some help from them in exchange for their promotion.
    I want to work in the countries in which you are required to use English that your help is bull’s-eye.

    Thank you very much for your help and advice.
    I looked at your website and I found few more tips as well. I have benn reading lots of financial books to improve my writing skills. Maybe, there are some different exercises to achieve good results ?
    Can I ask you few more questions ?
    1. I am looking for the competition for Accounting and Finance students like me based in the UK. This is like the olympics where each student can show off his knowledge and passion for the subject that he study.
    I know that KPMG organizes this sort of competition sometimes.
    If you can give me one best tip together with the books I need to learn from. I MEAN A PRESTIGOUS ONE THAT CAN GIVE ME A BOOST FOR MY FUTURE CAREER.
    2. Do you know some good books that I could read to gain a real knowledge of a good accountant ( for a guy like me not much experieneced, but if I eat a first book I can get the second one more advances and so on…)
    3.Do you know any professional qualifications that I could obtain before fininishing my Bachelor of Science yet.
    I would be very appreciated.

    Regards

    Mario

  2. Mario,

    Go to your local bookstore and ask for books on “Rainmaking.” Two recent books that I find very targeted and helpful are “Rain Making: Attract New Clients No Matter What Your Field” by Ford Harding, and “The Rainmaker’s Toolkit: Power Strategies for Finding, Keeping, and Growing Profitable Clients” by Harry Mills.The “Toolkit” will give you an overview and understanding that will help you understand how the top executives at the firm think, while “Rain Making” will give you the steps to start using those techniques as you begin your career.

    My suggestion is that while you are in school, you start developing your own niche thoughts and begin studying or developing ideas for that niche. From there, write papers and reports on the subject and build yourself a mailing list of professional accountants (use the phone book to build your list if you have to), write them and ask them to give you their comments on the report, as you will be using it as the basis for a speech you plan to give.

    Then, start mailing groups and clubs in your area, offering yourself as a speaker on that subject. Let them know who you are, where you are in school, why you know about this subject and why it could be interesting to their members. Sooner or later someone will invite you to speak. Repeat that process and you will develop a following and become useful to any firm, both technically because of your research and promotionally because of your perceived recognition.

    Hope that helps.
    Kirk

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