Firms that take marketing seriously reap rewards at the awards

by | Sep 19, 2023 | Events, Partnerships

At PracticeWeb, we’ve been lucky enough to witness incredible changes both in technology and the people shaping our industry in recent years.

One of the most exciting developments has been the growing recognition of marketers’ role in the accounting profession. Increasingly, marketing is seen not just as a necessary cost, but a driving force for success.

That’s why we’re thrilled to see marketing get the acknowledgment it deserves in the Accounting Excellence awards, with the introduction of a new Marketing category.

We’re always eager to celebrate the work of marketers who dedicate themselves to the craft, often behind the scenes – so we immediately seized the opportunity to sponsor this category.

Having read through the submissions by the finalists for the award, here are some of our highlights.

Changing perceptions

The new category stands testament to the hard work of marketing professionals in transforming accounting firms into powerful brands, and a crucial step towards creating a more robust and competitive industry.

But the path hasn’t always been easy. Historically, the role has often been overlooked or undervalued within accountancy firms, with some marketers struggling to gain the autonomy and support they need to excel in their roles.

“I’m fortunate to work for a firm that has always understood the importance of being client-oriented and distinctive. However, in recent times the marketing function has really helped to put processes in place to accelerate this to the next level.”

Sandeep Grewal, Head of Marketing, Elemental CoSec

Business owners and partners now understand that building a strong brand is the key to attracting great clients, doing exceptional work, and fostering a happy workforce.

Marketers themselves have worked hard to advocate for their role, introducing new initiatives that make a demonstrable difference to the practice.

“I believe I’ve curated a team of creative, fast-movers who have proved to the business and to themselves that good marketing can not only drive results, but actually change perceptions and make a positive impact.”

Ashlee Bloom, Partner & Marketing Director, Raffingers

Winning marketing strategies: multi-channel plans, customer retention, collaboration

First and foremost, it’s great to see an increasing number of firms adopting full multi-channel marketing plans.

These plans encompass brand development, online strategies, digital innovations, captivating video content, social media engagement, PR campaigns, events, and even full website rebrands.

The creativity of marketing teams in practice is inspiring. Their innovative content creation, particularly through social media videos on platforms like TikTok, has proven to be a highly successful driver for generating leads and increasing revenue for businesses.

“It’s encouraging to see that things are changing with marketing in the accounting profession. We’ve seen for ourselves the power that personal branding and social media can have in our accountancy practice. TikTok, for example, has been a huge driver of new work and one that can’t be ignored”.

Ben Smith, Head of Content, Accounts & Legal

It’s also been encouraging to see a strong focus on customer retention. Many teams are dedicated to building and improving their Net Promoter Scores (NPS) while nurturing strong relationships with clients through their marketing.

This approach involves well-planned content calendars, incorporating personalised newsletters and meaningful customer touchpoints throughout the journey. Those putting their clients first and building useful content around their needs are reaping the rewards of client loyalty and advocacy.

Additionally, the firms excelling in marketing are those where marketing teams collaborate closely with the wider business. Being involved in high-level strategic development enables marketers to understand how these strategies translate to their teams, fostering knowledge sharing and increased efficiency improvements within the firms. It truly pays to get marketers involved from the very start in collaborating with the whole business.

“We have built a very successful culture of collaboration between our marketing, sales and tax teams. With support from marketing, our accountants are sharing helpful, trusted property tax advice in fresh and interesting ways. We’ve really been able to make significant contributions to our practice’s growth and profitability.”

Hollie Chapman, Marketing Manager, Provestor

The years ahead: managing growth, AI, data-driven insights

Marketers mentioned some key challenges they foresee for their marketing teams and businesses in the next couple of years.

One pressing challenge revolves around managing current growth and ensuring that teams can deliver at scale and pace while maintaining their quality of work. This is further compounded by the competitive recruitment market, making it difficult to find the best people for certain roles.

As firms ambitiously grow, they struggle to hire quickly enough to keep up with the influx of work, while also aiming to be proactive rather than reactive in their hiring approach.

Another frequently cited issue is AI technology. Marketers recognise that adopting and leveraging AI is crucial, especially as it will continue to impact the way clients search for information.

While AI tools are useful for generating first drafts or planning content and are expected to be more widely adopted in the industry, marketers emphasise the enduring importance of well-written, high-quality, relevant content that ranks highly on search engines. This aspect should not be overlooked from an SEO perspective.

“We know that accountants are taking on an ever more advisory stance, helping clients with key business decisions for their future. Effective marketing and communication is key to promoting the range of services and software available, highlighting the benefits and efficiencies that we can provide”

James Mattam, Group Business Development Director, TaxAssist

Despite the rise of AI, forward-thinking firms are investing in machine learning and intend to do more, as they understand the need to embrace artificial intelligence while carefully developing and managing it to ensure accounting integrity is not compromised.

On a positive note, it was refreshing to see how accountancy practices with marketing individuals and teams have grown over the last couple of years. Many firms expressed their intent to significantly increase their marketing budget and headcount, demonstrating their belief in the pivotal role of marketing in achieving business growth.

These forward-thinking firms also acknowledge the importance of investing in their staff and team’s professional development to make sure they have the relevant skills in emerging marketing tools and techniques, keeping them current with industry trends.

Lastly, the importance of data-driven insights and analysis cannot be overstated. Marketers are driving their accounting practices forward through insightful data analysis.

Many of the entrants talked about holding regular internal meetings to monitor key marketing metrics, such as post impressions, engagement, profile views, and website visits. These insights allow teams to review their campaign’s progress and success and refine content where needed.

Congratulations to the finalists!

As the Accounting Excellence Awards ceremony approaches, we raise a glass to all the nominees. Each one of you is a winner in our eyes, for your significant contributions to the growth and evolution of the marketing profession.

“Being shortlisted for ‘In-House Marketing Team of the Year’ is a huge achievement and we should all feel extremely proud to be finalists. For us it shows we’re not just great service providers but also creative communicators transforming the complexity around small business accounting into clarity. It’s all about turning balance sheets into exciting stories that resonate with clients on a deeper level.”

Sophie Redman, Head of Media and Marketing, Linford Grey Associates

We’re looking forward to the celebration of marketing excellence and the opportunity to applaud the brilliant minds behind it all. Together, let’s recognise their dedication and hard work, shaping the future of the accounting profession – one creative campaign at a time.

Good luck to all the marketing finalists in this category this year on 3 October in London:

Bishop Fleming, Linford Grey Associates, Tax Assist, Provestor, Accounts & LegalRaffingers Chartered Certified Accountants, Elemental CoSec