In this milestone episode, we put host Hugh Duffy in the hot seat! Over the last 50 episodes we’ve covered a number of niches, from cannabis to craft beer to divorce to fitness and talked with the accounting profession’s biggest influencers and thought leaders. Tune into this special show to hear Hugh share his highlights and most memorable takeaways, what surprised him the most and what he’s learned. Get ready for a trip down memory lane as we talk about some of our guests and the incredible insight they’ve brought AMDS. And you’ll also learn more about Hugh! Join us!
Cliffnotes from this Episode
Question: What do 50 episodes feel like?
Hugh Duffy: Much to my surprise, this podcast is getting traction, the audience is building each month, and we’ve had some great guests. The Accounting Marketing Doesn’t Suck podcast has been fun and has pushed me to meet so many talented and gifted people within our industry. And it has forced me to learn about topics well outside of my “marketing” comfort zone so I could ask the right questions and challenge some people.
Here are some takeaways that I’ve had so far:
- The pace of change within today’s business marketplace is accelerating such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. This, in turn, will increase productivity and reduce error rates.
- Cryptocurrency is not yet fully embraced by our industry
- Cannabis is still the wild wild west
Question: During your podcast sessions, what comment shocked you the most?
Hugh: There were two comments I can recall:
Angie Grissom from the RainMaker Companies said marketing doesn’t have a seat at the partner table. As a marketer, this stopped me in my tracks. Hear her interview here: Aligning Firm Leadership and Marketing
Paul Neiffer from CliftonLarsenAllen told a story about his partner hanging himself in the basement of their office. Hear his story here: Blogging as an Industry Expert
Question: What insights were shared that will change the accounting industry?
Hugh: There were a couple of interviews that really illustrated how compelling ideas and individuals are changing this industry.
Michelle Golden was one example, and how she is guiding Top 100 CPA Firms out of hourly billing to pricing in advance. She talked about how technology will automate many functions within our industry (audit, tax prep, bookkeeping) so changing the pricing model is inevitable. And, her comments about scope creep and cross-sells were amazing. Hear her episode here: Pricing in Advance
Scott Zarrett was another, he is changing the way accountants obtain CPE w/ CPA Academy. He’s improving the customer service – very similar to Six Sigma that went through the manufacturing industry. Hear his episode here: Filling a Gap in the Industry
Mitch Reno and Betsy Storey Bono really opened my eyes to using NetPromoter Scores holistically within their firms to improve business processes down into the organization, improving the quality of the end service. Hear their episodes here: Are you Listening to Your Clients? and Capitalizing on the Niche of McDonald’s Franchises.
Question: Were there examples of creativity that surprised you?
Hugh: Absolutely. There were several individuals that demonstrated amazing creativity for being able to sell their idea within a large firm and pulling it off with business success.
Sarah Cirelli’s videos at Withum are priceless – an absolute must on Google to see these amazing videos. Hear here episode here: Leveraging Your Strength
Eric Majchrzak who integrated a Twitter promotion onto a billboard. Hear his episode here: Driving a Purpose-Lef Organization
Question: What was the most out-of-the-box skillset that you experienced?
Hugh The art of “storytelling” is something that really impressed me. Within the legal industry, “storytelling” is important for obvious reasons but to hear someone share the art and science of storytelling was eye-opening. Tracey Segarra uses fundamental steps to telling a story to total strangers in a competitive setting which is very impressive. If she could teach CPA partners how to sell using her process, the value would be priceless for that firm. Listen to her episode here: Using Storytelling in Business
Question: What episodes should every single owner CPA listen to?
Hugh: Required listening….. while every episode might not fit your interest level, here are a few that every single owner or managing partner should listen to:
Gale Crosley – fundamentals of having a niche or specialty. Hear her episode here: Riches in CPA Niches
Bill Carlino – insights on deal-killers, things to have within your practice to maximize the value, and what buyers want. Hear his episode here: Selling your Accounting Firm
Question: What areas surprised you the most?
Hugh: The hot mess within cannabis and how everything is complicated despite enormous growth on a state by state basis. Another surprise was the resistance to embrace cryptocurrency within our industry.
Question: You interviewed many accountants who operate a niche. What did you learn from interviewing a wide variety of niches?
Hugh: This has been fascinating. I’m a big advocate of developing a niche and not trying to be a “jack of all trades.” And while they are different, here are some of the themes that I noticed.
- A higher level of satisfaction and passion for what they do – staff actually enjoys working with them and providing a higher level of expertise – owner starts to enjoy what they do as well
- Takes longer than most realize, 3 or more years
- Once established, your geographic marketing area expands
- Educating your audience becomes more important. And this can be fun as well.
- Benchmarking and coaching – becomes integral to the service
- Speaking engagements become critical to your marketing
- Content marketing becomes meaningful and relevant
- Coaching becomes a higher fee service
- Networking becomes more natural
Question: What examples do you have of accountants enjoying their niches more than a generalist practitioner?
Hugh: It is human nature to feel good about being great at something. Being recognized as one of the best at something. Being good at servicing all types of business is tough. Quite frankly, it’s impossible. Most lawyers or doctors would never do this. And yet many CPA’s do. The tax code is too long, over 67,000 pages, to service everyone from cannabis to crypto to cybersecurity is too hard. There is a genuine sense of fulfillment that comes with being an industry expert.
So, there is nothing wrong with drinking your own Kool-Aid and making more money in the process.
There were many examples of niche practices that delivered a higher level of satisfaction to the practitioner:
Question: After 50 episodes, what feedback have you received?
Hugh: I have been surprised by who listens to these episodes and the number of episodes that they listen to. I have received emails from people who I never would have met and wanted to be on the podcast. If you feel I should be interviewing you, my email is [email protected] If there is a topic or pain point that you have, I’m open to that as well.