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Client Spotlight: Randy Nail, HoganTaylor

Posted By Heather Robinson, Wednesday, March 8, 2017


 

Firm Name: HoganTaylor LLP

Location: Tulsa, OK

# of Offices: 4

# of Partners: 30

# of Employees: 235

 

Getting intentional about innovation.

For Randy Nail, CEO of HoganTaylor, core values are not just words on a page of the firm’s website. The firm’s third core value, “Be Dynamic,” means they are constantly watching what is going on in the industry and how technology is changing. Nail says he and the rest of the partners at HoganTaylor are “always thinking about how we can get better or prepare ourselves for things that are coming. We don’t want to be the stereotypical accountants, always looking in the rearview mirror.”

Nail was acquainted with Gary Boomer because HoganTaylor’s Chief Innovation Officer is a member of the Boomer Technology Circles. So when he heard about Boomer’s Innovation and Future-Ready Workshop, he knew the firm needed to do it.

The firm’s focus on being dynamic meant he had no trouble getting others on board. “The firm was excited,” Nail says. “It’s not just about tech. Where is our profession going? What place do advisory services have? We’re naturally curious and want to participate in new things.”

As a result of the workshop, the firm designated a Partner of Innovation and is defining what the innovation process looks like at HoganTaylor, having a process for filtering and implementing innovative solutions.

Making the profession better

Nail’s excitement is palpable when he talks about one of HoganTaylor’s newest innovations, their audit and tax project management tool, HTOne. It’s a secure portal where clients and the firm can interact in real time, exchange documents and communicate about the status of projects with an efficiency that just isn’t possible over email. “We developed it in-house to make ourselves more efficient. Now we’re making it available to other firms. We’re not just making ourselves more efficient, but making the profession better,” he says.

Get to know Randy

Nail grew up in Ada, Oklahoma. He took an accounting class in high school, and his instructor encouraged him to continue the subject in college. Nail earned his B.S. in Accounting from East Central University in Ada. After college, he moved to Oklahoma City to work for one of what was then the Big 8 Accounting Firms, Touche Ross.  He’s spent his entire professional career in public accounting and was promoted to CEO of Hogan Taylor in 2012.

When he’s not focusing on providing leadership at Hogan Taylor, Nail enjoys reading (both business books and spy novels) and playing golf. He has one 2 ½-year-old grandson and another on the way.

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Boomer Team Building Workshops

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The sessions will help your team clearly define individual responsibilities, management’s expectations and the firm’s strategic plan. These workshops offer lasting results that will motivate your #1 resource, your people, to higher levels than ever before.

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Project Management and the Communication Rules That Drive It

Posted By Erin Cheever, Project Manager, Friday, March 3, 2017

Communication. Such a simple word, but is it really that simple? With all of the types of communication used in the business world today, it could not be any more complex! So many communication rules and types. From non-verbal communication to the written word, the list is endless. It’s hard to keep up with, and each project or situation necessitates following a particular communication plan. What does your communication plan look like? What are the rules you live by? What must happen or not happen to not only make your project work but succeed? 

Here are the five communication rules I live by when I start a project and what drives it throughout the entire process.

The written word in communication

While some of your communication is oral, another part is expressed through written words such as emails, spreadsheets or reports. When structuring your written forms of communication, there are several different elements that must come into play to make sure your message is clear and concise.

First, you must decide what type of written communication is best for the situation and consider your audience. Will a simple email suffice? Does the situation call for a detailed report? Are you speaking to the owner of the company or the IT staff? Depending on your audience and the structure of your document, your message and tone will vary.

Second, remember to break up your text so that it is scannable and easy to read. You want the reader to be able to pick out the key information by just scanning the document.

Third, brush up on your grammar skills before you start writing. Providing your clients with error-free writing displays your professionalism. If proofreading and grammar checking is not your forte, ask a coworker to help make sure your correspondence is planned, organized and most importantly, mistake-free.

Listening is key

Most people consider themselves good listeners, but in actuality, most people are not. Sure, they hear what you are saying, but are they really taking in the information? Do they understand what you are trying to tell them? In communication, listening is just as important as talking. In some situations, it’s the most important part. You must understand and receive messages just as well as you send them out. Try actively listening to what your client wants. Engage with their needs and understand their wants. Clear your mind of all other thoughts and concerns. Know when to be quiet and not interrupt. Follow your active listening plan and show your clients that they are your top priority.

 

Planning is essential

Must we always have a plan when we start a project? Not unless you want it to be successful. A plan doesn't always have to be a detailed strategic or business plan (although it should be at the beginning of the project), but you do always need to ask yourself these questions: who needs what, what do they need and when do they need it? How much detail or lack of detail should I provide? Can this be a simple email or do you need to send a spreadsheet or report along with it? What kind of person am I talking to? What are my obstacles? What are my challenges? Tackle the who, what, where, when, why and how and you will see the worth of planning before you take action on your project. 

 

Identify your barriers

There are so many obstacles and barriers – personality, cultural, political - to overcome and acknowledge when you are preparing to communicate with someone. Realizing that everyone does not require the same amount or type of information will help you know how to best craft your message and get the answers you need. At Boomer Consulting our knowledge of Kolbe and use of Kolbe A to determine communication styles has helped us determine how to adapt our communication methods depending on who we are talking to. We have determined that if you can learn to change your communication plan and tailor it to each of your clients based on their learning styles, you can change the way the game is played.

 

Don't beat around the bush

This rule is simple and probably something your mom told you when you were growing up. Be clear. Be concise. Be direct. Mean what you say and say what you mean. Period.  

 

Everyone has their own rules and checklists to follow to deliver great communication. Make your communication count. Identify your personal communication plan and you’ll take your projects farther than you could have imagined.

 

 

 by Erin Cheever

 Project Manager

 Boomer Consulting, Inc.

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Client Spotlight: Mark Radetic, MarksNelson

Posted By Heather Robinson, Thursday, February 23, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, February 22, 2017


Firm: MarksNelson

Headquarters: Kansas City, MO

No. of Offices: 8

No. of Partners: 20

No. of Employees: 154

 

Focusing on leadership development as a competitive advantage!

When Mark Radetic joined MarksNelson in 2003, the firm had 35 people and no formal education and training program other than the requisite 40 hours of continuing education hours per year. In a little over a decade, the firm grew to 150 people and was competing for talent with other great firms in Kansas City, including Big 4 and national firms. As Managing Partner of MarksNelson, Radetic recognized that to recruit the best and brightest, the usual CPE just wouldn’t cut it. They had to provide leadership development.

Working with Gary Boomer and Sandra Wiley of Boomer Consulting, Inc., MarksNelson began to focus on talent development and education as one of four firm-wide strategic initiatives and developed success profiles for every experience level. For managers wishing to become a partner, leadership and the ability to gain followship were identified as crucial skills.

After thoroughly researching alternatives, including handling leadership training on their own, MarksNelson turned to the P3 Leadership Academy, where their managers could develop skills in self-management, client management, team management and practice development. The firm sent all managers, 25 people in all, to the Academy over the course of three years.

Today, Radetic says he “tips [his] cap to the P3 Leadership for getting the firm going in the right direction.” The results speak for themselves: as of July of this year, three of those managers have been promoted to partner and two more will be promoted in January of 2017. Radetic says participants in the P3 Leadership Academy have been able to master leadership and followship, but the benefits don’t end there. The members took on out-of-class projects related to the firm. Some focused on education, administration, culture, or another area. These projects allowed participants to really dig in and learn what MarksNelson is all about, but Radetic says the firm’s existing partners learned from the process as well.

Today, the firm continues to focus on talent development and education as a strategic initiative, and not just at the partner and manager level. At MarksNelson, leadership development and education begin as soon as people walk in the door.

Get to know Mark

Radetic was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, the third of seven kids. His parents are now 91 and 89, still going strong in St. Louis. Radetic attended Benedictine College in Kansas. He started out as a math major but switched to accounting after a rough semester of calculus. Radetic took a job in public accounting in Kansas City after graduation, expecting to spend about two years in public before moving on but has found a career he loves and has turned down several opportunities in the private sector.

Radetic has been married for 25 years and has three children. When he’s not working, he enjoys crossword puzzles, golf, speed walking and watching sports. He and his wife, also one of seven kids, enjoy entertaining at home.

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P3 Leadership AcademyTM

The P3 Leadership Academy focuses on developing and elevating the middle of your firm to cultivate astute leaders in the areas of People, Planning and Process. During our three-year program, your Emerging Leaders will develop skills in self-management, client management, team management and practice development.

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Recognizing Your Why

Posted By Michael Wherry, Consultant, Friday, February 10, 2017

When there is something that you don’t like about yourself or your work, or you realize something is interfering with the pursuit of your goals, change it. Simple, right? Anyone who has tried to change knows it’s rarely that simple. Change can be slow, frustrating and painful. That’s why some people choose to stay the same and miss out on the rewards that powerful change can bring.

To make a difficult change or seek out your purpose in life, it’s essential to find your ‘Why?’ We see this a lot in personal development: Why push through a training program to run a marathon? Why change careers or start a business? Most significant change involves an element of suffering, and it’s the ‘Why?’ that gives you clarity, sees you through the tough times and provides a deeper well of motivation from which to draw. But how often do we ignore the pain points that make up our ‘Why?’

One big red flag that we’re ignoring our ‘Why’ occurs when a new person joins a team and asks questions about why things are done a certain way. When the answer is “I don’t know” or “Because that’s the way we’ve always done it,” there’s a good chance that someone is ignoring an opportunity. Consider these scenarios:

  • Your clients are always complaining that they don’t understand their invoices. They’re constantly asking why the bill is higher than they thought it would be. How could their “simple” tax return take so long? You’re always comparing current year fees to prior year fees to justify the amount you’ve billed them, but that’s just the way clients are. Everyone thinks their return is “simple” and everyone is looking for a discount.
  • Someone in the firm didn’t want to get on board with your move to a paperless office years ago. This person circumvents procedures that everyone else has been using for years, prepares all work papers by hand, and forces admin or staff to adapt. It adds more time and confusion to an already hectic busy season, but that’s the way it’s always been done.
  • It seems like every new CPA candidate you hire leaves within five years of joining the firm. They pass the exam, get some experience and then they’re gone. You hire another crop of new graduates and go through the same thing every few years. It must be that young people don’t have a work ethic anymore. They can’t take the heat.

Is some variation of one of these stories happening at your firm? If so, recognize them for what they are: they are your ‘Why.’ Like a nagging pain that we just learn to ignore and live with, we sometimes just learn to live with a bad situation when we should recognize them as pain points that can be addressed.

Chances are, whatever nagging pain has been bothering you is bothering others in the firm, too. Start asking ‘why’ you’re doing things this way and asking others how they feel about the current process. To get to real change we need to look past the hard part. We need to get into the right mindset, let go of outdated traditions, and reprogram new norms and behaviors. But first, we need to recognize why we need to change. 

 By Michael Wherry

 Consultant

 Boomer Consulting, Inc.

 

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Member Spotlight: Bob Fink of Honkamp Krueger

Posted By Heather Robinson, Wednesday, February 8, 2017

 

Firm: Honkamp Krueger

Headquarters: Dubuque, Iowa

No. of Offices: 11

No. of Partners: 33

No. of Employees: 500

 

Recognizing the value of honest answers and helpful direction from a peer community!

Bob Fink, Partner (previous Director of Information Technology) at Honkamp Krueger, says, “being in IT in an accounting firm can feel like you’re on an island and joining a peer community helps you get off the island.” His predecessor, Natalie Hoffmann was an early participant in the Boomer Technology Circles. As Fink moved up in the firm, Hoffmann started taking him with her to the meetings, eventually paving the way for Fink to be the person representing Honkamp Krueger at BTC.

 

When Fink took over the role of IT Manager, he worried that, while they were ahead of many firms from a security perspective, they were behind when it came to infrastructure. He immediately began taking notes about what other firms were doing, participating and listening to find out where their firm should be.

 

The value Fink received from BTC is what led him to petition the firm to join the Boomer CIO Circle as well. He says he enjoys the ability to make contacts, build relationships and have an open dialog with other members of both groups. “If you’re getting off the path, they’ll straighten you out,” Fink says. “It’s a place to ask the difficult questions. There’s nothing you can’t ask to get helpful direction and honest answers. We just don’t have those kinds of resources here locally.”

 

Those resources have helped the Honkamp Krueger work toward becoming more cloud-oriented and implement flex initiatives, including half-day Fridays and flexible schedules. 

 

Get to know Bob

Fink grew up in Darlington, Wisconsin and went to school at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. His knack for computers and plans to join the family business led to a double major in computer science and business. Instead of joining the family business, he took a job with Honkamp Krueger within a year of finishing college. That decision is one he appreciates when he’s in a cozy office instead of running an agriculture business during cold Wisconsin winters.

 

Fink met his wife, Jolene, in college and they have three children. Outside of work, he enjoys anything outdoors including boating, fishing and golf.

 

Next time you talk to Bob, be sure to congratulate him on making Partner at Honkamp Krueger as of January 2017!

 

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The Boomer Technology CirclesTM

The Boomer Technology Circles are technology-focused communities that bring together firm and IT leadership from peer accounting firms. Members share knowledge, experiences and insights to help one another with management and technology decisions. Members meet three times per year and benefit from access to top solution providers and influencers within the profession.

 

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Winning is Everything

Posted By Heather Robinson, Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Last month, several consultants from Boomer Consulting, Inc. had the opportunity to attend The Advisory Board’s Winning is Everything Conference, a venue for partners in the profession to “come together, brainstorm and inspire one another.”

Here are a few of their takeaways from the conference.

Michael Wherry, CPA, LSS Black Belt, Consultant:

I really enjoyed the keynote speech from Bruce Tulgan, author and founder of RainmakerThinking, Inc.

“Today’s workforce thrives under strong leadership that coaches all day long.”

“It is important to keep score at work. Today’s Millennials have the stigma of ‘everybody wins’ but ask the players on a youth soccer field what the score is. There might not be an official score, but the kids know who is winning.”


I also had the chance to attend the keynote from Mark Shapiro, former GM of the Cleveland Indians and now President and CEO of the Toronto Blue Jays, who said,

“Tough conversations require a solid foundation built with respect, trust and collaboration.”


This conference reminded me that firms need to have a Lean mindset to help them in all areas, not just process. A key principle of Lean is the voice of the client, both internal and external. These points above all start by listening to the voice of the internal customer and with proper focus you can coach/mentor/lead them with the right “scorecard” to deliver external client experiences that will lead to tremendous growth.

Dustin Hostetler, LSS Master Black Belt

From the Mark Shapiro keynote, the focus on culture as a strategy really resonated. Building a culture of accountability separates great leaders and great organizations from the rest. And the fact is, with a good culture built on accountability, you can look at all levels to make meaningful contributions.

Shapiro shared stories of an intern and entry-level personnel who made key contributions to the organization. This definitely applies to CPA firms.

I’m also hearing more and more from senior leaders that remaining relevant and growing a sustainable practice into the future are key vision points that firms need to be addressing. Innovation is a key part of this dynamic and firms are talking about innovation more today than I’ve heard in over ten years in this profession, which is a good thing.


Were you able to attend the conference? Share some of your favorite speakers and takeaways in the comments.

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Client Spotlight: Kimberly Bustamante of Wiss & Company LLP

Posted By Heather Robinson, Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Firm Name: Wiss & Company LLP 

Location: Livingston, NJ 

of Offices: 3 

of Partners: 26 

of Employees: 200 

 

Building a culture of continuous improvement!

Kimberly Bustamante of Wiss & Company LLP took an unusual route to her role as Director of Operations. She was hired as an administrative assistant over ten years ago after another admin assistant quit – in March! – because she didn’t like the commute. Within a year, Bustamante began working on project management for Wiss, then as a marketing assistant, then the Director of Marketing before being promoted to her current position, where she oversees IT, bookkeeping, processing, office administration, ordering and HR.

 

When she took over her current role, Bustamante says, “We had a lot of internal processes and procedures in place that were cumbersome and inefficient. Things were done the same way year after year.” After she heard Dustin Hostetler give a seminar on Lean at a LEA meeting, she spoke to the managing partner and other leaders at Wiss about attending Boomer’s CPA Green Belt Training. They told her to go for it.

 

As a result of her Green Belt Training, the firm began evaluating several processes and made changes to utilize resources better and provide a better experience for both internal clients (employees) and external clients. In particular, they looked at their outsourced accounting services and realize that every client the firm worked on had their own procedures. In some cases, services were being provided that the clients weren’t necessarily expecting or paying for. Once the firm created a standard way of doing things, they started saving hundreds of hours every month.

 

Bustamante has really taken the “continuous improvement” mindset to heart. “Once you start, there are always improvements,” she says. “We reevaluate every six months. Next, we’re taking a look at the client onboarding and proposal processes, the 1040 tax preparation process, extensions and 1099s.”

 

Get to know Kimberly

Bustamante grew up in New Jersey and dotes on her three-year-old grandson. She went to school to become a French and English teacher but counts herself fortunate for ending up at Wiss. When she’s not ensuring firm operations are running smoothly, Bustamante is an avid reader and loves to write, study science, bake elaborate 3-D cakes, and go camping.

 

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Boomer CPA Green Belt Training

The Ohio State University/Boomer Consulting, Inc. CPA Green Belt Training program is targeted directly to CPAs. Because it is designed for you and your firm, the learning curve is shorter – helping you make improvements in your firm much quicker.

After the training is over, you will continue to receive remote coaching on your own process improvement project from Dustin Hostetler, a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, to ensure you reach the true application and immediate benefit of your certification. 

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4 Lessons Your Child Will Learn at Eagle U

Posted By Jacqueline Ratzing, Project Manager, Friday, January 13, 2017


What do you want for your children? If you are like most parents, you want them to figure out which direction they want to go in life, find their path to happiness and fulfillment and surround themselves with people who will build them up and help them reach their full potential. Did you know there is a program that can help your high school and college-age children do just that? Each year, Eagle U offers a four-day fun and action-packed program where participants meet with mentors and receive inspiration, wisdom and a new way to develop direction in life.  What else will your child learn?

How to figure out what they want to be when they grow up

It is estimated that 20 to 50 percent of students enter college as “undecided” and 75% change their major at least once before graduation. Only 27 percent of college grads have a job related to their major. Following your passion is difficult when you don’t know what it is.

Don’t send your student off to college or into the working world with little or no idea about what they want to be when they grow up. Eagle U teaches them how to research a future career beyond looking through career guides or glancing at job boards. They’ll learn how to talk to people in real careers, and ask questions to find out what they do every day and what they like and dislike about their current job or career path.

How to build and use their network

Research shows that 70 to 80 percent of jobs are never published, so combing job boards and sending out resumes is often a waste of time. Give your child the skills to land a job the most effective way: networking.

Eagle U will teach your student to get noticed by employers with a step-by-step method for using their network to land the career they want by connecting with people who work there or know someone who does.

How to make a good first impression

Do first impressions matter? Within seconds of meeting you, people make judgments about your trustworthiness, status, intelligence and leadership ability. And first impressions, once made, are difficult to shake.

Eagle U teaches students about the power of first impressions and how to impress every time at job interviews, first dates and any other occasion.

How to demonstrate they can add value

You know how important it is to provide value for your clients. Employers are looking for the same thing from their job candidates. Instead of teaching your child to look for a job, Eagle U teaches them to look for places where they can make a significant contribution, then take the initiative to show that to the employer.

Eagle U mentor and former NFL coach Bum Phillips says in football there are two types of players he can’t work with – those who he asked and those who would do nothing more than what was told. Your child will excel when they learn not to wait to be asked or do nothing more than their job.

Boomer Consulting, Inc. is offering a full scholarship to six young people between the ages of 15 and 21 to attend Eagle U this summer. If you know a young person who could benefit from these and other valuable lessons offered by Eagle U, fill out an online application by January 31, 2017.

If you have any questions about Eagle U or the application process, please contact Jackie Ratzing at Jacqueline.ratzing@boomer.com or Sandra Wiley at Sandra.wiley@boomer.com.

 

 By Jacqueline Ratzing

 Project Manager

 Boomer Consulting, Inc.

 

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Client Spotlight: Alan Long of Baldwin CPAs

Posted By Heather Robinson, Thursday, January 12, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, January 11, 2017

 

 

Firm Name: Baldwin CPAs

Location: Richmond, KY

# of Offices: 5

# of Partners: 12

# of Employees: 47

 

Identifying strategic objectives that lead to firm growth! 

The year was 1984, and Alan Long had just been laid off from his first job in public accounting. Being the entrepreneurial sort, rather than turn to the help wanted ads, Long started his own practice in the spare bedroom of his rented condo.  A year later, he purchased the oldest firm in Richmond, Kentucky. Today, Baldwin CPAs is also the largest firm in Richmond, and one of the largest in the state.

That growth did not happen by accident. In 2007, Long ran into Gary Boomer at a training session for presidents of local CPA societies. Familiar with Boomer’s experience in helping firms with strategic planning, Long asked for help. With Boomer’s help, Baldwin CPAs worked through their first strategic planning session in January of 2008.

One of the objectives of that first strategic plan was to open an office in Lexington. They finally realized this goal when they merged with a Lexington firm in November of 2016. Long notes that, although it took eight years to achieve that particular goal, their strategic plan provided a roadmap. Baldwin CPAs may have deviated from the roadmap when new opportunities for acquisitions in Maysville, Louisville and Flemingsburg came up, but that roadmap ensured they never lost sight of their goals.

The firm continues to go through the strategic planning process annually. Long credits Boomer with giving them the courage to do things they needed to do to realize the growth they’ve achieved, including raising fees. Now, they’re considering getting rid of timesheets and moving to value billing.

Advice for young professionals

Long has two pieces of advice for young professionals today. First, don’t take every client who walks through the door. Long said when he started out on his own, he took on small, aggravating clients by telling himself that their fees would pay the electric bill this month. Over the years, he’s had to weed those clients out, and Long believes keeping those clients held him back.

Second, get involved in professional organizations early in your career. Long waited to get involved and feels he missed out on some huge opportunities. Today, he receives many referrals from “competitor” firms for work that they don’t do. He credits those referrals to being known and trusted by other members of his local society. “If you’re doing the job you should be doing, you don’t need to worry about your clients leaving.”

Get to know Alan

Long has been married to his wife, Teresa for twenty years. They have two kids and one seven-year-old grandchild, who he spends time with every weekend. Outside of work, he enjoys fishing and attending basketball and football games at his alma mater, Eastern Kentucky University.

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Boomer Strategic Planning

The Boomer Strategic Planning process will help identify your firm’s objectives and set a path for growth. We provide partners and management with the tools to identify dangers, opportunities and strengths while offering instruction on integrating strategic, technology and marketing plans.

We will estimate potential costs relative to long-term value and provide direction as you shape a vision and strategy to maximize the return on your firm’s technology investments utilizing a robust yet simple one-page strategic plan. Our Strategic Plan offers direction for your firm’s most vital growth initiatives. Don’t move ahead without it!

Click to learn more about our Strategic Planning services!

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7 Strategies for Marketing in the New Year

Posted By Heather Robinson, Marketing Manager, Friday, January 6, 2017

 

The New Year is here and if you haven’t looked at your marketing plan in a while, now is the perfect time to dust it off and update your existing strategies. Here’s a list of seven strategies for making 2017 your most successful year ever.

Create a focus on inbound marketing

Referrals and networking are important, but inbound marketing is considered one of the most important tools in the marketing world. It focuses on providing something of value to bring your audience to you.

For CPA firms, inbound marketing starts with education (seminars and articles) and ends with consultations. If your website doesn’t have one already, start a professional blog and share content that helps inform your target clients.  Identify industry-specific publications and contribute articles that demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. 

Offer free seminars that provide updates on issues facing your target industries. For example, if your firm has a nonprofit niche, offer seminars for nonprofit professionals and board members on topics such as understanding financial statements and board governance.

Revitalize your home page

First impressions can make or break a visitor’s decision to spend time on your website. Make sure your site’s home page is clean, uncluttered and provides clear navigational clues. Your visitors should be able to tell right away what your firm does and where they should go next to accomplish the goal that brought them there.

Review and adjust your social media strategy

Every action you take on your social networks – posts, replies, likes and comments - should be a part of a larger strategy. We always recommend getting your goals down on paper and your social media strategy is no exception.

If your firm’s social media strategy is non-existent – or right now you’re thinking “what social media strategy?” – Coschedule.com provides a three-step system and a template to get you started.

Make sure your website is responsive

The internet reached a major milestone recently. According to the web analytics company StatCounter, Internet usage on mobile and tablet devices surpassed desktop usage worldwide for the first time in October 2016. That’s why it’s essential that your business website is mobile friendly so clients and prospects can easily browse and find information no matter what type of device they are using. If their experience viewing and interacting with your site is poor, they’ll likely have a lower opinion of your brand and be more likely to visit a competitor’s site.

Realign sales priorities

Are your firm’s sales and marketing teams aligned? If not, you could be missing some huge opportunities. In an article for the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Blog, Mike Weir, Vertical Director for LinkedIn Marketing Solutions’ Technology business pointed out “upwards of 80% of leads generated by marketing are neglected or never acted upon by a sales rep.”

The first step towards aligning sales and marketing is developing shared goals or key performance indicators (KPIs).  When both teams share goals and priorities, they work together to make prospecting and bringing on new clients as smooth as possible.

Build your annual marketing plan

An annual marketing plan can help your business stay on track with goals and objectives for the year and ensures your marketing budget is maximized. The first step is taking a look at last year’s performance. Did you have a marketing plan in place? Even if you didn’t, you should still be able to review part marketing efforts and results. Which activities were useful? Have your target clients changed in the past year? Are there areas where you want to invest more time and money in the coming year?

Boomer Consulting, Inc.’s Strategic Planning process includes instruction on creating marketing plans and integrating them with your strategic and technology plans.

Take time to learn

Marketing is constantly evolving as technologies change and strategies shift. Best practices from just a couple years ago are almost certainly obsolete by now. That’s why it’s important to take the time to learn about challenges, opportunities and trends. Subscribe to trade journals and consumer magazines. Even if they aren’t specific to the accounting profession, you can find things that are relevant. Read blogs and listen to podcasts. You should even keep an eye on what your competitors are doing. You don’t need to chase after every shiny new thing, but you should stay on top of what is important in the profession and what works for your firm.

Take some time now to reflect on your past efforts and strategize for the coming year. Get intentional about marketing strategy in the new year, and you’ll be set up for even greater success in 2017.

 

 by Heather Robinson

 Marketing Manager

 Boomer Consulting, Inc.

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