"Accountants can't do it."

"Accountants don't need to do it."

"More and more accountants are doing it."

" Accountants have to do it."

The above quotes represent what I think is a changing mindset over a number of years about a typical CPA in public practice with regard to marketing.

Accountants who have been in practice for some time can remember when advertising was prohibited and almost new business came as a direct result of referrals. When advertising was initially permitted, few saw the need for it and many saw it as unprofessional.

That seems like ancient history. Acceptance of marketing started with the Big Six and spread to upper management of the larger regional firms, and now almost all decent sized local firms employ a professional marketing person.

What is particularly interesting is how these marketing personnel are becoming a vital component by adopting themselves to the operations and needs of CPA firms.

First of all they view themselves as business developers. They are directly involved in both identifying and in evaluating business opportunities. They are extremely conscious of how much an engagement is relationship driven and seem to enjoy working with CPAs in a collegial professional environment. What is also nice is that they represent fresh blood to a CPA firm bringing in different experiences and vitality.

But what I find most fascinating is not all the good things that they have brought in, but rather that for so many years they were considered foreign to the profession.

In the broader sense, I wonder what this portends for the future. Aren't CPA firms, like the business community, experimenting with joint ventures and alliances with their so-called competitors?

So I guess what seems strange today, might become commonplace in the future.

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