Dan has built a 20-year career in digital marketing, starting at a bustling agency in Camden which went on to global success. He relocated to Bristol in 2008 and worked at a number of digital agencies before becoming the MD at Microserve.
Leading a digital agency to a successful acquisition
Microserve was a growing agency which specialised in bespoke website design and build, and over the course of seven years, Dan increased turnover by a factor of four. At this point it was acquired by strategic partner Investis – a global corporate comms agency with more than 600 staff. He stayed in the business for a further year, gaining valuable insight into how much larger businesses operated.
Dan reflects on his time at the helm of Microserve:
“When I joined Microserve I loved the fact that it had a very clear proposition and had the potential to be leaders in its field. For Microserve the niche was a technical one, whereas at PracticeWeb it’s a specific sector, but the principles are very similar.
“I was determined to build a world-class team, and to deliver a very high standard of service to our clients. My mantra has always been that if an agency business has a happy team and happy clients, then everything else will fall into place. It certainly worked that way at Microserve.
“We were lucky to partner with some very ambitious long-term clients such as Youth Hostel Association (YHA) and WWF-UK. It was immensely satisfying to see those relationships flourish and to see the strategic and technical work that we delivered produce phenomenal results.”
On joining the team here at PracticeWeb
Dan became PracticeWeb managing director at the end of 2021 and has spent the last few months behind the scenes getting up to speed with the data and fully introducing himself to the team. He shares his thoughts on the role:
“When I was approached to lead PracticeWeb, I was immediately enthused by the niche it had successfully created as digital marketers for accountants. I believe it is so important that agencies understand what they are good at and build on these attributes.
“I also liked the trajectory. In recent years, PracticeWeb has transformed from being a website shop to a full-service digital marketing agency which is a much more rounded proposition; one where the website is just an initial platform for delivering on-going value to clients. It is really something that I feel I can build upon with my leadership and experience to take us to the next level and beyond.
“I also liked the team set-up. I could see there were some really talented and passionate people with a good balance of youth, enthusiasm and experience. It was a team I wanted to be part of.”
Trends in digital marketing for accountants
The accounting sector is one which is changing quickly. Firms need to adapt to stay relevant and profitable. Dan explains his take on the drivers of change and the opportunity available to accountancy practices: “Change is being driven by technological advances, such as cloud-based software-as-a-service products and social media channels. We’re also seeing automation and machine learning starting to play an important role.
“Government policy is also forcing the issue, particularly with the Making Tax Digital initiative. The common thread between these factors is digital. As a sector, many would agree that accountancy has been slower on the uptake than some others, and the old-fashioned view of compliance work delivered to local markets has tended to prevail.
“Like it or not, digital channels and work processes change all this. The traditional services are becoming commoditised, and it will be increasingly difficult to offer them to a local customer base profitably. But at the same time there are fantastic opportunities to offer higher value advisory work, or serve niche audiences at large scale with less geographical limitation.
“We can help firms ready to embrace this brave new world – help them sharpen up their proposition, market themselves effectively and convert new clients. It is exactly what we do.
“Whether firms are nervous of this or champing at the bit, they need expert guidance to capitalise on the opportunities ahead which come with digital, as well as to avoid the pitfalls.
“I am excited and feel privileged to be leading PracticeWeb as the UK’s foremost experts in the digital marketing sector for accountants.”
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