I've heard far too many CPAs refer to business development - with denigration - as "scheduling appointments" and "walking the halls."To borrow a phrase, it often seems that business developers are from Saturn and CPAs are from Mars. Despite a shared purpose, their methods often appear dramatically divergent. Behind closed doors, CPAs candidly ask me, "What the heck are these people doing? They walk the halls, flit from meal to meal and attend social events. It doesn't look like work to me. I wish I could have that much fun. Is all of this really necessary?!"

Indeed, it is necessary and it is hard work, I assure them, grateful for the opening. Beyond their intense curiosity about how rainmakers operate lies an important need for CPAs to understand the business development process. Only then can they understand what they're observing and become informed participants in the process, helping to lead their firms in terms of resource deployment and strategic direction.

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