Accountants Don’t Understand Marketing

In a debate on the Daily Telegraph Business Club forum, members recounted experiences of accountants’ lack of understanding about marketing and business development.streaming movie Lights Out

James Hurley wrote a great article entitled:

Accountants Don’t Understand Marketing

Maybe the title should have read ‘most accountants’ or ‘some accountants’, but obvious not ‘all accountants’.

Re-reading the article, it is really rather good. Yes, I precipitated the debate but after that I am innocent. This is not about me but about the opportunities that are available to some/most accountants if they could become more customer-focused and think a little bit more about how they present themselves and what they offer their clients (their marketing).

A couple of key points:

  • a poor understanding of marketing and business development could be leading to overly negative advice being given to clients
  • a general lack of proactivity in the industry provides an opportunity
  • many excellent professional-services organisations have no idea of what they don’t know.
  • time-sellers should wake up and smell the coffee and start to sell results

Here are some quotes and highlights from the article.

Accountants Don’t Understand Marketing

  • ‘Poor grasp’ of marketing and business development could lead to poor advice for small companies, entrepreneurs fear.
  • Accountants have a poor understanding of marketing and business development, which could be leading to overly negative advice being given to their clients.
  • Robert Craven: “The majority [of accountants I speak to] are only interested in battening down the hatches and hoping that they can survive without too much pain.”
  • Robert Craven: many accountancy firms have cut or frozen their marketing budgets in response to the recession, but haven’t switched to more cost-effective forms of lead generation now. He said many firms were showing “no interest” in winning new business. 
  • Robert Craven: “One accountant said, ‘I can tell you that marketing doesn’t work for us so we try not to do any’.”
  • Peter Lashmar: “We are delighted that the majority of the accountancy profession does not know about or bother with effective marketing as it enables us to grow significantly each year without any real effort or cost.”
  • Jeremy Thorn: “I am consistently fascinated how so many excellent professional-services organisations see marketing, management development and organisational development, or even wider business strategy and business development, as being so readily within their undoubted intellectual grasp that they have no idea of what they don’t know.”
  • Julian Rowe: “These accountants are no doubt currently acting as advisers to many clients who count on them for advice”.
  • Some members suggested the attitude of accountants towards their own sales and marketing budgets had led to unnecessarily aggressive cost-cutting advice being given to business owners in some cases.
  • Professional services companies often try to position themselves as proactive business advisers, but business owners said this didn’t sit well with the reactive, “time-selling” approach they take to winning new business.
  • Mr Craven said: “It is time that many of these time-sellers wake up and smell the coffee and start to sell results.”

The discussion was on the Business Club’s forum, hosted on LinkedIn.