Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Accountants and tax advisers marketing? Call them old-fashioned!

office of Jacob Fugger; with his main-accounta...Image via Wikipedia
You could call me old-fashioned because I still wear a suit when visiting my older clients, but that is what they expect. Most of the time I live in the modern world, but strangely many accountants and those in allied trades simply do not. They are, as the saying goes “sooo last century”.

What am I talking about? Well, not accounting software, because we all have to be up to date with the requirements of the profession and those of Government. I mean marketing.

“Marketing? What's that?” I have been asked by an accountant friend.
“Don't you do any?” I said.
“No, never needed to. I just get referrals and new clients walk in off the street”

My friend is long established in business and has an office on a busy road in a commercial area. I am pleased he has a good reputation and has never had to think about promoting the business. Probably it has not expanded all that much over the past few years, but even with the inevitable churn of clients (none of us can eliminate churn altogether), he has maintained a satisfactory income and lifestyle. Good for him.

Others do think about marketing of course, but for many, if they have a website, they never do much with it. They don't think about content. The website just sits there. It probably doesn't serve as an attractor of business, and they have a website just because others do. Other than that, marketing consists of an ad in a newspaper or magazine without much thought about the target audience.

Of course some others don't even have a website. They may have reserved and still pay for a domain, and may have been doing that for years because they know they need an email address, even if only just one. They will probably get listed in the free on-line directories, but they are as much use as the paper directories for getting business – in other words no use at all with no website for anyone to click through to.

I think that unless accountants have an office in a prime location they are going to struggle if they don't market. The recession has forced many accounting staff out of permanent employment. They still have to get by and will try to set up on their own. In the future the tech- and web-savvy amongst them are going to out-market complacent old-established firms. 

My friend expects to retire soon, but for everyone else, the message must be “Get out there and market”. What do you think?
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