The Association for Accounting Marketing has released its 2006 Accounting Marketing/Sales Responsibility and Compensation Survey Results. The survey was very comprehensive, and shows an interesting snapshot of where many firms are with regard to marketing.

For example, the survey shows how new marketing is to many firms, as 66 percent of the respondents are either the first person to ever serve in that role within their firm or followed the first person in that job function. Respondents indicated a wide variety of reporting relationships, and the conclusion in the survey’s executive summary was, “[F]irms may be unclear about how to structure the marketing function internally, what should be the objectives of the position, how will success be measured, etc.”

I thought the most interesting part of the survey was the respondents’ rating of their firm’s culture. With respect to marketing, 14 percent of the firms were getting started, 48 percent were making progress, and 38 percent believed it was integral to their firm. With regard to sales/business development, eight percent believe it is nonexistent, 24 percent of the firms were getting started, 46 percent were making progress, and 23 percent believed it was integral to their firm.

Overall, the survey reinforces my impression that many firms haven’t sufficiently defined the roles that the marketer plays in their firm especially in regard to business development, practice/client-base analysis, strategic business planning, client satisfaction surveys, sales management, and staffing. Communication, establishing a firm brand, and advertising seem to the majority of the work done by marketers.

The roles of CPAs in firms are usually well defined. This survey confirms that isn’t the case with regard to marketers, except with regard to basic, and obvious, responsibilities. The really good marketers that I know do so much more.

This limited definition can probably be explained by a number of factors, but the net result is probably underutilization by many firms of their marketers. And if that is true, the leadership of these firms need to realize and rectify that. 

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