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Seek New Success in Back-to-Basics
Next big gains to come in better profit management, not raw growth
by Rick Telberg/For the CPA Channel Marketer
AICPA Custom Media Solutions
What are CPAs thinking about? We think we know…
and you should too.
As I chat with professionals and practitioners around
the country, a few of their concerns surface as top-of-mind. It’s
worth paying attention to these concerns because they provide a
vocabulary for marketers seeking to reach the tax, accounting and
You’d think that today’s tough and uncertain
business conditions would be uppermost on CPAs’ minds. And,
to be sure, they are important. But not quite as important as flawless
In fact, accountants and finance managers have already
made the most significant adjustments they think they’re going
to need for the current conditions. They have restructured and rationalized,
toughened up on collections and clamped down on operations. And,
this being busy season, CPAs are, more than they have in a long
time, going back to basics to make sure they implement the strategies
they have set in place. The economic outlook comes second.
To be sure, costs, prices and new business development
rank high on the top 10 worry list for CPAs. Still, “implementation
and execution of plans” remains No. 1, according to a recent
AICPA Insiders/CPA Trendlines study.
Top 10 Issues on CPAs’ Minds:
- Implementation and Execution of Plans
- Economic Outlook
- Individual Taxation
- New Business Development
- Personal/Professional Development
- Business Taxation
- Management and Leadership
- Staffing and Personnel
But you don’t have to take my word for it.
Listen to Ralph Mooney, a loyal reader at Mooney Thomas CPAs in
Aurora, Ill. Here is his list of priorities for 2010:
- Stay focused to be more effective.
- Hold myself and my partners accountable for
- Don't do as much work beneath my skill level.
Or listen to CPA Edith E. Smith, who’s tackling
her second tax season with a new document scanner in place. Her
plans for implementation this year also boil down to a list of three:
- Offer better service for what we do.
- Offer more services to existing clients.
- Offer incentives for referrals.
Neither CPA is working with a bad set of plans.
But it’s all fairly basic business.
For the final word, let’s turn to Dean Owen,
owner-operator of a 30-person business accounting and financial
planning agency in Paducah, KY. After years of heady growth and
then the tumult of recession, Owen is zeroing in on day-to-day operations.
He believes that he can increase assets under management and increase
average billings by 20 percent through “better customer selection.”
He is ready, he says, to “transition”
his business “from ‘build it up’ to ‘manage
it well.’” Speaking for many CPAs I’ve been hearing
from, he says, “My next big gains will be from better management,
not increased size.”
The vertical and channel marketers who understand
people like Ralph, Edith and Dean will be the ones to emerge busier
than ever after busy season.
for CPA Channel Marketers by Rick Telberg:
is president of Bay
Street Group LLC, which provides research and marketing and
communications services to CPA firms and the vendors who serve them.
He is the founding editor of the Insider newsletters and serves
as AICPA Editor at Large and Director of Online Content. In his
two decades in media and marketing for the finance, tax and accounting
industries, Telberg has played pivotal roles in the development
and operation of the leading media and e-commerce outlets in the
business, including Accounting Today, The Practical Accountant,
Accounting Technology, WebCPA.com, SmartPros.com, and CPA2Biz.com.
Contact Rick at email@example.com
or (914) 674-4531. He blogs at cpatrendlines.com.
Trendlines on Twitter.