Marketing Achievement Awards Presented by AAM

Twenty-nine awards for marketing accomplishment were awarded May 14 by the Association for Accounting Marketing at its annual award gala, which features awards in multiple categories: websites, branding, multimedia and maverick marketing.

Expert category judges, including professionals in marketing, advertising, communications and professional services, reviewed and judged more than 100 entries. Winning entries were recognized for the accomplishment of a specific goal or objective, executing a project strategically and measurable results.

The categories and winners are as follows:


  • Digital Advertising, ORBA
  • Print Campaign: Total Spend of $24,999 of Less, Henderson Hutcherson & McCullough
  • Print Campaign: Total Spend Above $25,000, BKD CPAs & Advisors


  • Integrated Branding Programs: Budget Above $100,000, BKD CPAs & Advisors
  • Integrated Branding Programs: Budget Below $100,000, MichaelSilver
  • Logo New or Refreshed, Casey Peterson Ltd.

Business Development Initiative

  • Customized Sales Initiative or Approach, RSM Canada

Collateral and Content Marketing

  • Announcements/Invitations, Berdon LLP
  • Blogs, Freed Maxick CPAs PC
  • Brochures, ORBA
  • Integrated PR Campaign, Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP
  • Publications and Newsletters, BKD CPAs & Advisors


  • Budget between $10,000 and $24,999, Margolin Winer & Evens LLP
  • Budget less than $9,999, Rea & Associates Inc.
  • Budget about $25,000, Grant Thornton LLP

Marketing and PR Campaigns

  • Client Service/Survey, Herbein + Company Inc.
  • Direct Marketing Campaign, TD&T CPAs and Advisors PC
  • Integrated Marketing Campaign, SVA Certified Public Accountants
  • Nurture/Lead Generation Campaign, EKS&H LLLP
  • Recruiting Campaign, Keiter
  • Social Media Campaign, Henry+Horne

Video and Multimedia

  • Program Budget above $10,000, WithumSmith+Brown PC
  • Program Budget below $9,999, BKD CPAs & Advisors


  • Project Budget between $10,000 and $24,999, Glass Jacobson Financial Group
  • Project Budget above $25,000, ORBA
  • Project Budget below $9,999, Hartmann Blackmon & Kilgore PC

We AAM to Serve

  • Small Firm, KPM CPAs & Advisors
  • Medium Firm, Rea & Associates Inc.
  • Large Firm, Crowe Horwath LLP

Marketers Prepare to Act as Change Agents for their Firms in 2018

Two chief marketing officers (CMO) and an MP recently shared how their firms remain relevant and competitive in a rapidly changing environment, while also discussing ‘what’s hot and what’s not’ in accounting firm marketing.

The panelists, speaking at a Jan. 30 webinar for the Association for Accounting Marketing, selected three overarching trends that make their firms more adaptable to change – developing an ‘always-on’ business development culture, building a collaborative team and winning more business with content. Consultant Jennifer Wilson, the cofounder of ConvergenceCoaching who coordinates the panel for AAM every year, moderated the session.

Here’s a summary from the panelists and Wilson, followed by their lists of ‘what’s hot and what’s not.’

Developing an ‘Always On’ Business Develop Culture 

George Forsythe, MP, WellsColeman of Richmond, Va.

Forsythe, who leads a $5 million one-office firm with 35 employees, describes himself as impatient. He says he wants new business – and fast – to provide more opportunities for younger staff. Forsythe started business development training for the entire firm to generate additional work for existing clients. The effort involves setting clear goals, tracking prospects through a pipeline process, following up quickly and finding out why the firm won or lost work.

Forsythe says he’s been reluctant to pressure prospects with too much contact, but has since learned that too little contact was perceived as “ ‘you’re too busy to follow up with me and therefore you don’t want my business.’ ” The results of timely contact has been “crazy positive,” he said.

The firm’s focus is driven by a desire to remain independent, without being forced to merge. “For good or bad, I’ve become somewhat paranoid about the changes coming to our profession.”

What’s Hot? What’s Not
‘Always On’ Business Development Intermittent Selling
Results / Outputs Inputs, such as Hours of Effort
We (team-oriented) Me (individual-oriented)
Future-forward Reactive
Nimble Rigid


Building a Collaborative Team

Rhonda Maraziti, CMO, Princeton, N.J.-based WithumSmith+Brown (FY17 net revenue of $175.4 million)

Maraziti, AAM’s 2016 Marketer of the Year, has brought national attention to Withum with its annual videos, which have featured flash mobs, carpool karaoke and he like. She says that nurturing a fun, collaborative environment with frequent feedback has helped the firm bring in top talent and keep then happy, rewarded and engaged. “We work hard and we play hard, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously,” Maraziti says.

She says the “millennial mindset” has taken hold across generations. Everyone likes the flexibility to work at remote locations and the technological tools to make it happen. Withum also offers numerous recognition programs, encourages volunteerism, and provides 360-degree evaluations after every engagement. The immediate feedback for staff and managers alike has been particularly popular and effective, Maraziti says.

Wilson pointed out that 75% of the workforce will be made up of millennials by 2025, and clients will be largely millennials as well. “I think you’re leading in this area,” Wilson told Maraziti.

What’s Hot? What’s Not
Video Marketing and Social Media  Dependency on Email
Marketing Automation Not Figuring out ROI
Data-driven Marketing Strategies Doing Same-old, Same-old
Fun Social Tools to Boost Engagement Posting Articles Only
Developing Rock Stars  Depending on One Figurehead


Winning More Business With Content

Danielle Berg, chief marketing and corporate communications officer, Atlanta-based Aprio (FY16 net revenue of $76.3 million)

Berg believes that digital strategies are the most under-leveraged sales channel in the accounting profession. The firm last year decided to commit 85% of its marketing budget to digital strategies with a focus on strong content that provides insight, fresh perspective and future outlooks – not sales pitches.

She says 82% of business-to-business buyers in a recent survey say a firm’s content had a significant impact on their buying decision. “What they’re buying is what it’s like to do business with Aprio – and is it better than firm X or Firm Y – and I think through content, you can give them a glimpse of that.”

The firm produces an article every business day, but makes it easy on the partners by asking only for an outline. A writer takes over from there. The firm has adopted a publisher’s mindset with a former reporter leading a cadre of writers and a consultant overseeing search engine optimization (SEO).

“Content marketing really does work,” Berg says. One tax partner generated $750,000 in new business in 2017 through a monthly newsletter. “It’s all about having the right bait in the water.”

What’s Hot? What’s Not
Digital Fills the Pipeline ‘Feet on Street’ Fills the Pipeline
Insights, New Ideas Too Reliant on Experience, Expertise
Future-Ready Mindset What Happened Last Year
Consistent Client Experience Experience Differs by Practice Group
Advisory Mindset Mired in Compliance


Looking to Next Generation for Future

Jennifer Wilson, cofounder, ConvergenceCoaching

What’s Hot? What’s Not
Next Gen Client Experience Old, Non-responsive Websites
Digital Communication Tools Face Time Only Orientation
Rainmaker Development  Relying On Only a Few Rainmakers
Personal and Real Buttoned Up and Polished
Content That Illustrates Expertise
and Solves Problems
Static Copy


Salary Aside, Vacation Time and Corporate Culture Mean the Most to Workers Weighing Job Offers

According to a new survey from staffing firm Accountemps, more than one-quarter of workers cited vacation time as most important. Corporate culture and career advancement potential came in close behind.

Additional findings:

  • Workers ages 55 and older are more interested in paid time off (29%) than those ages 35 to 54 (27%) and 18 to 34 (22%).
  • Professionals ages 18 to 34 prefer career advancement potential (30%) above all else, compared to those ages 35 to 54 (22%) and 55 and older (10%).
  • Female respondents say vacation time (27%) is the key factor in employment decisions, while men say corporate culture (25%) is most critical.

“In today’s employment market, companies need to put their best foot forward when making job offers and, beyond salary, highlight benefits that could entice candidates,” says Michael Steinitz, executive director of Accountemps. “Professionals want to be hired by organizations that support work-life balance and have values that align with their own. An attractive corporate culture can go a long way toward recruiting and retaining top talent.”

“Job seekers should make a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves before evaluating employment opportunities. Remember, companies may not be able to offer you everything. It’s best to decide ahead of time what’s most important to you,” says Steinitz.

Mapp Awarded ’40 Under 40′ Distinction

Crystal Mapp

Crystal Mapp

Crystal Mapp, marketing director at Springfield, Mo.-based KPM CPAs & Advisors (FY17 net revenue of $15.7 million) has been named a Springfield Business Journal ’40 Under 40’ honoree. Since its debut in 1999, the awards program continues to honor individuals under the age of 40 for their professional and community accomplishments.

“Crystal has been instrumental in helping KPM grow and gain national recognition for being a top tier accounting firm. This would not have been possible without her initiatives including rebranding, strategic PR placement, an increased online and social presence, and the many local and national awards the firm has received,” says KPM shareholder Barb Houser.

“In addition, Crystal has been instrumental in establishing an increased culture of giving within KPM. Two and a half years ago, she developed KPM CARES (community action requires engaged societies), a program to increase awareness, promote volunteerism and allocate funding to non‐profits here in our community. She is a strategic thinker with the ability to see the big picture and maximize each step of a marketing plan, and this has been a huge advantage for our firm,” says Houser.

EisnerAmper Announces Brand Evolution Initiative

New York-based EisnerAmper LLP (FY17 net revenue of $352.6 million) is launching a comprehensive “brand evolution” campaign for 2018.

“We look at our latest brand evolution as a rally cry for our 1,500 employees,” says PIC of marketing Michael Mattia. “The key visual elements include a new, clean modern logo and our symbol, which conveys our strong foundation and our soaring aspirations. Our new symbol is a great representation of who we are as a firm and where we’re heading, both here in the U.S. and internationally.”

“The EisnerAmper brand is perhaps best defined by what our clients say about us when we’re not in the room. We’re constantly enhancing the EisnerAmper client experience,” says Charly Weinstein, CEO. “Last year, we focused on investing in client-facing technologies to make working with our clients more effective and efficient. Whether through our collaboration with IBM Watson in developing smart audit tools that leverage artificial intelligence for the automation of many routine and predictable tasks, or through our enhanced ‘homegrown’ EisnerAmper client portal, a one-stop shop where clients can share documents, find fully encrypted deliverables or access customized client dashboards, our firm is always looking to increase the value we bring to clients.”

INSIDE Public Accounting Again Partners with Association for Accounting Marketing; Nominations Open For 2018 Marketer of the Year

INSIDE Public Accounting (IPA) is seeking nominations for the Association for Accounting Marketing’s (AAM) 2018 Marketer of the Year (MOY) award. Nominations will be accepted through Jan. 22.

The annual award, presented at AAM’s Summit, recognizes a marketing professional who has demonstrated exemplary performance in the profession of accounting firm marketing. To be eligible, nominees must have held a senior-level marketing position in an accounting firm for at least three years, although not necessarily at the same firm.

“This is the fifth year IPA has sponsored the award, which complements our commitment to shining a spotlight on excellence in the profession,” says IPA Publisher Kelly Platt.

Past Marketer of the Year award winners include Laura Kucera of New York-based Citrin Cooperman in 2017, Rhonda Maraziti of Princeton, N.J.-based Withum in 2016Eric Majchrzak, of Tucson, Ariz.-based BeachFleischman in 2015, and Randy Mowat of Calgary, Alberta-based MNP in 2014.

All nominations should be submitted online no later than Jan. 22. Nominations are not anonymous, and self-nominations are welcome. Previous nominees are encouraged to re-nominate.

The nominees will be judged on accomplishments, strategic thinking, tactical development, attention to detail, communication, financial impact and leadership within the firm and community. All nominees will then be required to complete an online application no later than Feb. 12.

The 2018 MOY Award will be presented by IPA at AAM’s 2018 Summit, set for May 14-17 in Portland, Ore.

Please contact Christina Camara at with questions about the award. For information about AAM and the 2018 summit, call AAM at (443) 640-1061.

The Platt Group publishes the award-winning INSIDE Public Accounting newsletter and the Annual Accounting Firm National Benchmarking Report. The Platt Group also surveys and publishes annual reports for the accounting profession in Human Resources, Firm Administration and Information Technology. Grow your firm, become more profitable and improve operations with IPA. IPA provides resources, analysis and tools to transform your firm. To learn more about The Platt Group and IPA, please call (317) 733-1920 or visit

The Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM) promotes excellence, and elevates the professional stature of marketing, business development and other practice growth professionals to the accounting profession, directly impacting members’ professional development and careers through education, networking and thought leadership. Founded in 1989, AAM has more than 700 members, comprised of marketing professionals, business developers, CPAs, consultants, service providers, educators and students. To learn more about AAM, please call (856) 380-6860 or visit

IPA Spotlight On … Karen Love, PKF Texas

Name: Karen Love

Karen Love

Karen Love

Title: Director/Ambassador

Firm: PKF Texas (FY16 net revenue of $24.2 million) of Houston


  • Blazing the trail for marketers in and out of the accounting industry.
  • Succession on the Association for Accounting Marketing Board with two of my team members, Raissa Evans and Jen Lemanski, serving terms after me.
  • Set a model example in the industry, winning over 180 marketing awards including most recently the Leading Edge Alliance On the Edge Innovation award and Houston Business Journal’s C-Suite Award: Outstanding Chief Marketing Officer.
  • Using an inside out approach to integrate accounting firm culture with community culture, creating programs like FastTech 50 and Houston Young Professionals Endeavor.

As one of the first marketers (and a non-CPA) to be admitted as a partner in the country, can you give us your perspective on how the role of accounting marketing has changed over the years and where you see it going?

As one of the first non-CPA owners in the accounting industry, I consistently take pulses of the marketplace and strive to fill gaps. The accounting industry is becoming more consultative, therefore as marketers we have to match traditional needs with futuristic and digital technology support. Setting a stage for consultative thinking in a sea of compliance is a magical thing that has to be mastered. One trend, which will continue, is engaging younger team members earlier and embracing reverse mentoring. Also, corporate social responsibility that builds on the culture of the firm becomes a magnet for future clients. The use of data to make decisions is a happier journey with a lot less guesswork.

You’ve said one of your greatest professional joys is mentoring young professionals. Why?

Positioning others for success makes me happy and is always mutually beneficial. Lessons yielded from being a team leader are some of the most valuable to be had when mentoring young professionals. Who wouldn’t want to see someone they’ve mentored achieve great success?

I’d love to hear about your work with MAKERS, a storytelling platform for women, and your award. Why is it so important for women to tell their stories?

One quote I live by is, “One woman’s success can only help another woman’s success.” And it rings true for me. MAKERS is a platform out of New York City from a filmmaker named Dylan McGee. This woman is building a well-known brand that demands attention for all of us. MAKERS allows us to share stories that not only engage, but help other women in navigating their own path.

PKF Texas operates in the extremely competitive Houston market – how can your firm continue to differentiate itself in the marketplace and attract the best talent?

Culture is really the only thing that differentiates a professional services firm. In the fourth-largest city in the country, our culture is displayed as a differentiator through our internal university, 30+ languages spoken and our corporate social responsibility in our community, which helps us showcase our brand. Prospects and clients want to work with a firm with such a culture. Our early talent pipeline process of working with key universities to attract the right accounting/consulting professionals to our firm is key to the culture and differentiation.

Do you know someone else who would make a good Spotlight? Contact Christina Camara.

Houston Business Journal and the Leading Edge Alliance Honor Texas Female Partner

Karen Love

Karen Love

Karen Love, director of practice growth at Pannell Kerr Forster of Texas (FY16 net revenue of $24.2 million) of Houston, was honored in the Houston Business Journal’s C-Suite awards as Top Chief Marketing Officer. The next week, she was chosen for the Leading Edge Alliance’s On the Edge Innovation award, alongside two others.

Top Chief Marketing Officer is awarded to the individual who achieved exemplary growth in their company through their marketing initiatives. Love is also a finalist in the Houston Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business awards.

Love was chosen for the Leading Edge Alliance On the Edge Innovation award for her impact on the marketing function of public accounting, helping to elevate it from an administrative-level task to a strategic and executive imperative.

“As she elevated the marketing function of public accounting, she elevated those around her as well, whether those people were CPAs or fellow marketers who she has taught and mentored,” says Karen Kehl-Rose, president, Leading Edge Alliance.

AICPA Campaign Promotes CPA Firms’ Key Role in Advising Small Businesses

The AICPA launched the latest update of its national #CPApowered campaign, an initiative designed to showcase the strengths of CPA firms as trusted tax and business advisors to consumers and small businesses.

This year’s campaign features two 30-second videos with the tagline, “Don’t Worry, I’m a CPA,” both of which allude to practitioners’ expertise in business development, tax planning, risk management, cybersecurity and more. The videos are part of a national cable television and social media buy this fall. Firms can promote themselves through paid opportunities on YouTube, Facebook and local television, as well as use the two videos and other materials for free on their website and social media channels.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy, and no one is better suited to provide trusted, informed business advice to this sector than CPAs,” says Mark Koziel, executive vice president of firm services.

Since its launch in 2014, #CPApowered has reached more than three million people through innovative digital media and content strategies. The AICPA has created a CPA marketing toolkit for small business with promotional materials that firms can personalize with their brand. More than 130 firms and several state CPA societies have signed up to participate in the campaign this year.

Information on the videos, suggested social media postings and co-branding options for materials can be found here. Videos and content for small business owners on such topics as acquiring financing, succession planning and family office considerations can be found at

Alexander Thompson Arnold Merges with Ashby & Associates

Union City, Tenn.-based Alexander Thompson Arnold (FY16 net revenue of $20.3 million) merged with Tupelo, Miss.-based Ashby & Associates.

“We already work with clients in the Tupelo area and look forward to expanding our presence and involvement in the community. We are eager to grow the firm in years to come,” says ATA partner Stephen Eldridge.

ATA provides accounting, auditing, tax and consulting services. With the addition of Tupelo, ATA now has 14 office locations in western and central Tennessee, western Kentucky and Mississippi.