Magazine article The CPA Journal

7 Essentials for a CPA Firm Marketing Program

Magazine article The CPA Journal

7 Essentials for a CPA Firm Marketing Program

Article excerpt

With an ever-increasing choice of marketing tools, it is important for CPAs to focus promotional efforts on the areas of greatest benefit to the firm. The following are seven essentials for any firm's marketing program.

A satisfied client base. Growth is not possible without a strong foundation of clients who are satisfied with the service and experience they receive. Satisfied clients provide consistent revenue, new business referrals, and testimonials, yet most CPA firms do not even measure client satisfaction. This is a lost opportunity; CPAs who are willing to gather evidence about the quality of their service delivery can differentiate themselves.

An image of the ideal client. Creating the image of a firm's ideal client requires analyzing and organizing the current client base; this analysis will reveal the firm's most profitable clients. The firm's income can be sorted by industry, service, or geographical area; clients may be sorted by fees collected, size, or realization rate. For example, 20% of the client base might represent manufacturing companies with average annual sales of $10 million located within a 40-mile radius of the office and paying the firm an average of $15,000 for audit and tax services. The firm should play to this strength and seek out more clients fitting this description.

Once a firm's target market is identified, a marketing plan should be formed. A good plan includes the following:

* Mission, vision, and core values

* The firm's current situation

* Goals and strategies

* Those responsible for implementation

* A timetable and budget

* A description of how the plan will be evaluated.

Description of what the firm offers. Be specific about the products and services the firm is able to offer; the smaller the firm, the more specific this should be. No firm can be all things to all people; the analysis performed above should help determine the firm's most profitable services.

A network of referral sources. Networking continues to be the number one way CPAs generate leads. The firm's pipeline can identify new referral sources; if none exists, identify the firm's current referral sources and rate them A, B, or C. Meet with A referral sources at least quarterly. A referral sources-

* provide multiple referrals per year,

* provide significant referrals,

* work with current clients,

* have similar client bases,

* represent the highest opportunity to receive the type of referrals desired, and

* use the firm as a primary referral source.

Meet with B referral sources at least twice per year. …

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