Trial Balances, Year Ends, The Rolling Stones & A Marketing Plan

In this blog, our Managing Director, Margaret Bradshaw talks about marketing in accounting and just how that has shaped out over recent years and why now more than ever it’s about going back to “traditional” principles.

This was one of those blogs that we couldn’t wait to get “pen to paper” to and write, or, perhaps relating to the traditional aspect of accountancy then “quill to parchment” may be more appropriate!

Well, there are some myths that need busting straight away! In both terms of marketing and accounting we can say that both traditional business processes are steeped in history and their meteoric rise to fame is very much something that we want to celebrate, chat about, investigate and simply acknowledge:

marketing and accounting are two things that, in terms of a business, well actually without them there isn’t a business!

However, in this blog we want to talk about marketing in accounting and just how that has shaped out over recent years and why now more than ever it’s about going back to “traditional” principles.

How 20 Years In An Accounting Practice Helped Shape
Red Button Marketing & Training

As the writer of this blog, I am drawing on personal experience in the sector that I can honestly say I love. Growing up I was surrounded by accounting as my own brother trained hard and I grew up with him revising listening to the Rolling Stones – needless to say he passed with flying colours in the 1970s after not only studying accountancy but also the lyrics to “I can’t get no satisfaction!”

Later in my career when the opportunity came to join a regional firm in the North of England as Marketing Manager, it felt like a calling, and I just had to apply. Walking in with my CV in hand I knew I had to land this job as even then I was compelled and driven by some kind of purpose that I couldn’t explain.

As it turned out, it was an incredible 20 years of my life and has been instrumental in creating the business I have now.

How Marketing Is An Integral Aspect Of A Successful Professional Services Firm

Let’s talk now about marketing in a firm and just why this is such an integral aspect of a successful professional services practice. In 1998, marketing in firms was not really a thing, well, not in the context of it being a dedicated role. However, marketing as a function was very much at the centre of things but not recognised in the way it needed to be.

I fast learnt that the accountants are actually incredible business advisers. They are working with clients daily and supporting with fundamental information that supports business owners’ choices and growth.

It was fantastic that I wasn’t an accountant but held the profession in very high regard. It enabled me to be passionate about sharing that core message to the wider community and develop a tone of voice for the firm that represented that energy I felt from the range and scope of work undertaken by the team. I saw solutions and I had to build a function in the firm that meant we could communicate about that, entice others to get involved, inspire business owners to engage with us in conversation and establish a selling environment.

Building A Marketing Culture

Like any intrepid explorer I knew that if I wanted to get to the destination, I had to take the equipment with me and in this situation that meant the team!

I set about creating a culture that was marketing driven – showing impact and showing results from marketing efforts was vital. Through communication, ideas sharing and at times taking bold steps forward, we soon created a marketing machine that we didn’t want to stop!

Time & Fees

At the heart of all this was also the matter of time and fees – I knew this was a massive issue as the accounting staff were all fee earners, and I wasn’t! I had to create “worth” and present a value of the marketing role in the firm. We had to balance things out.

The team saw that sharing their expertise and knowledge through events, communications and sales meetings were all key parts of the overall marketing function.

This led to more work and improved awareness of the firm.

We explored PR opportunities and began to get recognised from being in the press with though leadership pieces. Fast forward a few years and I still recall our first tweet at the firm!

Keeping Ahead Of External & Internal Change

As technology advanced over the years, we were able to stay in the fast lane and ensure we kept on point with where our audience were and how best to reach out to influence their choices.

There may have been considerable external changes over the 20 years and even within the firm services were innovated and introduced, however, there were key strands that needed to be continuous. Ensuring we always kept an eye on our client base in order to maximise relationships and potential became intrinsic. We stayed alert in respect of our potential clients and what was happening in their world, and we connected all this to what we introduced in order to ensure we kept solving problems and improving our output to clients whilst at the same time being clear on the communication channels of the firm.

So, for a business that is so time and fees focused, to add all that into the mix as well may present some challenges. It did, but we overcame them because we maintained a connected approach.


I wanted to reflect on my personal background to demonstrate just how passionate we are as business about the professional services sector and the powerful way that firms can grow with the support of a well connected and driven marketing function.

Create A Connected & Driven Marketing Function In Your Firm

Red Button Marketing & Training offers CPD accredited training for Accountants in Marketing Planning. Why not Contact Us to discuss a bespoke workshop for your team?