News & Press

3 ways CPAs can personalize client market intelligence

December 17, 2018

Clients want proactive guidance from their CPAs, with one particular area being market intelligence. Traditionally, market intelligence requires multiple sources of information to create a broad picture of a company’s existing market, customers, problems, competition and growth potential. It is packaged as a summary for the company to review as a baseline for decisions.

But clients want more than market intelligence — they want analysis of general market information to help them act strategically and competitively. They want their data personalized.

In looking at the research and opportunities that its independent CPA firm members may already provide to clients, BKR International has highlighted three ways that CPA firms can better leverage market intelligence to deliver more personalized consulting.

1. Referrals to trusted CPAs and chartered accountants

National and international relationships with noncompeting accounting firms provide a wealth of market intelligence. Rather than wait for clients to ask questions about new market opportunities, CPA leaders can proactively reach out to their connections and provide insights as a natural part of consulting.

For example, Canton, Ohio firm Hall, Kistler & Company is participating in a regional roundtable with other BKR International member firms. The firm is sending three supervisors and a manager to the first roundtable to develop new market intelligence, according to Jolene Colant, HKC’s director of marketing: “The BKR member firm out of Columbus, Ohio [Ary, Roepcke Mulchaey, P.C.], developed the idea, and we think it’s a great way to learn from other non-competing CPA firms about issues and best practices specific to our region.”

Bring this intelligence to quarterly client meetings. “It’s powerful to offer clients an association of trusted peers who have a direct understanding of the business environment, either in Ohio or across the globe,” Colant said.

2. Industry thought leadership

More firm leaders are sharing their knowledge about industries and related business opportunities as part of their firm marketing. Once that general guidance is published through a blog post, article or webinar, niche leaders should take that same information and tailor it to their clients.

“Our group leaders, as well as participating staff, are always looking for subject matter that is thoughtful, relevant and unique. We share these ideas through national press, television and radio opportunities, webinars and our website — to name a few,” said Clarence Kehoe, partner at Anchin, Block & Anchin in New York. “The general objective is to create visibility, deepen client relationships and to offer other services.”

Kehoe agreed that thought leadership can be shared with clients to help them make decisions. For example, if construction costs are rising, your construction leader can share a related firm blog post and then schedule time with clients to review their cash flow or to discuss a job costing analysis. Make the connection for clients between high level, thought leadership content to specific and personal client consulting.

3. Partnership marketing

For high-growth firms, one of the most popular tactics for sharing market intelligence is partnership marketing. The CPA niche leader may partner with an economist, a financial services leader, a real estate broker or other trusted referral source. Together, they host an event or co-write an industry outlook white paper.

At DMLO CPAs in Louisville, Ky., firm leaders recognized the global trend of using business as a force for good and its alignment with the firm’s long-established “More than the Numbers” brand. “We have committed to a three-year partnership with not-for-profit startup, Canopy, with a mission of making Kentucky the best place in the country for socially conscious, impact-driven businesses and entrepreneurs, through education, certification and advocacy,” said Delene Taylor, DMLO CPAs’ marketing director.

This kind of investment goes beyond the one-time partnership event and “appeals to like-minded businesses and entrepreneurs for whom social impact is as important as profit,” noted Taylor.

Even if firms are starting with a one-time, educational partnership event or resource, they can personalize the experience by following up with clients through a business assessment. The assessment results give clients practical ways to move forward with the market intelligence they’ve just received. Give them the next step to take action based on CPA firm leaders’ knowledge of their business and goals.

These are just a few ways that CPA firms can be more proactive with their existing market intelligence resources. To stand out in a competitive industry, you have to make your guidance personal and timely.