Marketing for Accountants? What’s that?

Wait, wait, wait. Marketing for accountants? And needing to educate the market about different kinds of accountants? Who would have thought this was something that needed to be done? Certainly not me; not when I was studying accounting in school. My view of the accounting practice then was the same view that I now find myself correcting more often than I’d like.

Most people hear “accountant” and instantly have this vision in their head of the “typical accountant” with one of those green visors, huddled over a calculator. Only there to do your taxes. But there are actually many different fields of accounting. And the reality of working as a forensic accountant is NOTHING like that visor-wearing image.

When I was in school, I looked at the accounting field as a profession where accuracy was the key. That was the one thing that was stressed: your accounts must balance. For every debit, there is a credit. It was quite some time before I realized how much more there was to know.

After graduation, I immediately started studying for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam. I was working part time while studying and looking for a full-time job to start my career. It was not until I landed my first accounting job that I realized that it was vastly different from what I had seen on TV and heard about in school. I was not going to be sitting in a cubicle, crunching numbers and staring at an Excel screen all day – although, don’t get me wrong, that is still a very big part of my job. Sooner than I thought, I was thrown into the world of consulting.

This was a very different world than the one I had studied in school. Marketing, client development, business development…all of these were terms I heard in school but never gave much consideration to. I took the few required courses, but after meeting the minimum criteria needed to graduate I left it there and didn’t give it another thought. “I’m going to be an accountant; I don’t need to learn sales techniques,” I thought. My logic was simple…what would I be selling? Why would I create marketing ads to push a product? When would this ever come into practice? In my eyes…never.

Now, as I am approaching five years working in the accounting world, these topics are things I think of every day. But there’s a twist I hadn’t anticipated. The product I am selling…is myself.

Next up, find out how I approached the task of “Selling Myself as an Accountant.”

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