On this week’s Growing Your Firm podcast, we’re speaking with Katie Thomas, CPA. Katie is the founder of Leaders Online, a digital marketing agency that helps professional service providers stand out online and grow their companies. She wants to share some basics about marketing your firm that are usable for anyone, including us accountants who may not be comfortable with the whole marketing thing.

If you’re still relying on only referrals to drum up new business, this is the podcast episode for you. Take a listen and let us know what you think.


  • Why accountants are timid about marketing
  • Why content marketing is a good step forward into digital marketing
  • Getting others to notice your content
  • The power of LinkedIn hashtags
  • Tools you can use to optimize your marketing, and how to use them smartly


Going Beyond Referrals By Elevating Your Online Presence Through Content

How do you start going beyond referrals? One way is through content marketing. Katie is a big fan of content marketing. Accountants have a lot of knowledge in their heads that their niche would want to know more about. The goal of the content is to show that you can take the reader from the pain they’re currently in (what they don’t know about) and take them out of it through your article, video, or whatever.

Once you have some content, the next step is promoting it wherever your niche likes to hang out online. For most of us, it’s going to be LinkedIn because that’s where B2B connections happen, but if your niche is very visual then you may need to promote on Instagram.

Now, you may be shaking your head at all this. We’ve received a lot of questions from our readers and listeners about how to promote content. It’s a big letdown to put a lot of work into a piece of content and have no one read it. That’s why Katie recommends making a promotional strategy before you start making content.

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all method for creating a strategy because everyone’s niche and goals will be different. But Katie does mention some tactics, including:

  • PPC ads
  • Social media ads
  • Hashtag usage
  • Facebook group research
  • Commenting on posts
  • Making videos

The important thing is to find where your ideal client likes to hang out, then communicate with them in a way that’s comfortable to the both of you.

Hashtagging and LinkedIn

Something that I learned from the interview was that you can search for hashtags in LinkedIn and find out how many people are using that hashtag before you use it. Just use the search bar at the top of the LinkedIn page to see these results. Katie gives the example that #accounting doesn’t have nearly as many followers as #accountingandaccountants.

What can you do with this information? Two things. One, you can visit other articles through those hashtags and see other hashtags people are using and the responses people have to them. Two, you get to really know who is talking a lot in your space on those topics. These are targets to engage with to find prospects and, potentially, your ideal clients.

If you take the time to interact with these thought leaders online, by commenting, paying attention, and sharing your own content, you can get them to feel like you notice them. That, in turn, will get you noticed. This is a much better way of getting your content noticed by the community than just posting it online and hope Google makes you lucky.

Tools That Can Help

Katie also recommended a lot of tools you can use to help optimize your marketing. Some of these include:
Keywords Everywhere – This is a freemium browser add-on for Chrome and Firefox that shows search volume, cost-per-click, and competition on keywords. It also provides “people also search for” data. This information can be used to help you find out other keywords that you can use for topic brainstorming.

Why is this important? If your goal is to drive traffic to your site, you need to focus on topics and keywords that your audience wants to read about. This plugin will show you what people are actually searching for so you can target your content appropriately.

That’s not to say that you can’t write a topic that’s dear to your heart or that you want people to know about, but if the topic doesn’t align with your marketing strategy then you may not get the results you want from that piece.

Speaking of keywords, beware of using language that’s too technical for your audience. You know a lot of fancy accounting terms but your audience will not. Your content needs to be written on their level and use keywords and search terms that they would use.

TubeBuddy – If video is your thing, then TubeBuddy is another tool for you to try out. This is a freemium browser extension that integrates with YouTube to help you optimize your videos so that when people search for topics related to your video you’ll appear on the first page. It will show you what tags to use and how many people are searching for your topic. Katie recommends picking terms that don’t have a ton of search volume to maximize your chances, at least while you’re a small channel.

Speaking of video, your smartphone likely has an awesome camera already built in, especially if it’s an iPhone. If you want to make your videos look great, use that camera and sit in front of a window with natural light on you. For audio, use a plug-in mike for the phone that you can clip onto your shirt. Even a cheap one on Amazon will do better than the one built into the phone. These three tips will help make your beginner videos look much better.

Katie talks about a third tool in the podcast, but you’ll have to listen to it to get the information on that one! Thanks again to Katie Thomas for her time and her awesome tips.

See Jetpack Worflow In Action

Get under the hood of Jetpack Workflow’s accounting workflow and project management platform. See some of the top features and how it helps your firm standardize, automate, and track client work more efficiently.

As the terrain of business and enterprise grows and morphs, firm owners have to adapt to the current and future changes. In this week’s show, we had Ron Baker back on to talk about how Value Pricing will have to change, as well.

If you don’t know Ron, do yourself a favor and get familiar with his work by listening to his podcast and reading some of his books. You can also go back and listen to Ron’s previous interview on this show, which we’ve included in the resources section below. Our last interview with him is the most popular interview we’ve done!

In this week’s show, Ron introduces us to what he calls Value Pricing 2.0. But what is it? What has changed from the revolutionary concept of Value Pricing that has put Ron Baker on the map for so many people? Let’s jump into the highlights!


  • The history of pricing models in accounting
  • Why the industry is moving toward value-based pricing and why it’s better
  • How value-based pricing has changed since Ron’s last interview
  • And MUCH more

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A Super-Short History of Past Pricing Models

As Ron briefly summarizes in the show, there are various pricing styles accountants and accounting firms have used in past years.

The first, and earliest, is the classic strategy of Hourly Billing. Within this model, you charge a client for the time you spent on something. Ron calls this pricing the input.

From Hourly Billing, we get the timesheets and all their hassle. It’s little wonder why many firms have tried in recent years to move away from an Hourly Billing model.

Next, we have Fixed Prices. Simply put, you take a service, be it one-time or something that’s recurring monthly, quarterly, or yearly, and you put a flat-rate price tag to it.

So an audit costs your client a certain amount. Payroll has a specific price. Any other service can be added to the package, but it has a fixed price associated with it.

Finally, we come to what, until recently, has been considered the latest and highest pricing strategy: Ron Baker’s own Value Pricing model.

With the classic model, now called Value Pricing 1.0, you charge a client for desired outcomes. Do you want something done? Do you want something handled? Taken care of? You pay for results and peace of mind.

Now, Ron Baker has come to us with an updated version of Value Pricing, a model that flips everything on his head. As Ron says in the interview, “This scares me.”

What is Value Pricing 2.0 all about, and why is it so “scary”?

Value Pricing 2.0 Explained

As Ron explains in the interview, when a business model changes, two things also have to change. One is the pricing strategy, because the old strategy may not make sense anymore, and the second is the way the company measures itself internally.

For example, Airbnb will have very different internal metrics than Marriott, Uber will measure things very differently from a taxi company.

So, as our business grows and develops, we have to rethink these two things. Value Pricing 2.0 does just that.

Value Pricing 2.0 prices the relationship between firm and client.

What does that mean?

Ron explains it in terms of a subscription service. We pay Netflix, for example, to have access to their library of movies and series. As long as we still get value out of Netflix, we’re happy to continue paying that subscription fee every month.

Think, too, of Amazon Prime. We pay that monthly subscription fee, and new features are constantly being added. The fee doesn’t automatically go up. The pot is just sweetened, so much so that we can’t imagine living without access to all the Prime goodies.

In much the same way, firms can become the go-to solution to an entire bundle of problems.

Instead of charging for specific service packages (which is basically the Fixed Price model), firms can charge a monthly or quarterly subscription fee to become their go-to accounting service, all included.

We have to move away from thinking in terms of service packages and hours spent and sectioned-off departments within a single firm, Ron explains. Instead, we need to think of ourselves as “one firm,” the single solution to a variety of needs.

The client pays a regular subscription for access to you, the accounting expert. Some months, they won’t need you very much. You’ll be doing only perfunctory things, like payroll. But, on other months, the client may be audited, and you step in and take care of that because that’s what the client has been paying for all along.

With this pricing model, you’re charging the client for an ongoing relationship, which becomes naturally more valuable the longer they work with you because you come to better understand their needs and personality.

The client is paying for your expertise. They’re paying for access, not a simple list of services.

The Subscription Model is Taking Over

It’s easy to see how subscription models are taking over so many aspects of our lives. It’s a trend that isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

We already talked about entertainment packages, such as Netflix. Many households pay for multiple subscriptions each month, so they maintain access to several massive libraries of content. We’re not just talking about movies, either. As was brought out in the show, many subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, a Netflix for ebooks, brought to you by Amazon.

There are also subscription boxes. Today, you can get subscription boxes for food, snacks, toiletry items, clothing, doggy toys, and many more things. Such subscriptions bring peace of mind. You don’t have to stress over what wines to buy at the liquor store. Just pay monthly for a “wine of the month” subscription and get a certain number of bottles delivered to your doorstep and enjoy a rich variety of wines, curated by your favorite wine expert.

Ron takes this even a step further, talking about subscription car services, like the one that has been created by Porsche, in which you can drive any car as long as you want, all expenses included, for $3,000 dollars a month. He also makes a reference to concierge medical services that allow you to have unlimited access to doctors, tests, and a full clinic for a monthly fee.

So is it really so strange to think of service firms, such as accounting firms, going to a concierge or subscription model? Absolutely not!

If you’d like to get more information about this topic, check out the references listed above. And, of course, if you haven’t already, give this interview a listen through the built-in player above, or by subscribing to it on your favorite podcast service.

See Jetpack Worflow In Action

Get under the hood of Jetpack Workflow’s accounting workflow and project management platform. See some of the top features and how it helps your firm standardize, automate, and track client work more efficiently.

Accountants usually aren’t blessed with sales and marketing skills. They have to learn them. That’s what Amanda C. Watts does. She gives accounting firms the superpowers they need to reach the next level, and she is our guest on this week’s Grow Your Firm podcast.

She’s a speaker, entrepreneur, Amazon best-seller and the author of The Pioneering Practice. Since 2009 she’s helped over 500 companies launch or grow through her agency, TwentyTwo Agency, her work with Richard Branson’s Virgin Start-Up, and training and mentoring. This interview is a bit longer than our usual interviews, so you’ll definitely want to listen in and take notes!


  • Why Amanda insists upon the C in her full name
  • About TwentyTwo Agency and its programs
  • Why you need to offer a transformational service
  • All about the acronym VITAL
  • And more…

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Making Your Firm VITAL

Amanda’s firm does not do marketing for firms. They teach firms how to get higher-value clients through training and mentoring. The core of this training is the term VITAL, which stands for:

  • Be recognized for your VALUE
  • Make an IMPACT on the world
  • Build relationships of TRUST
  • Adopt an AGILE approach to innovation
  • Develop LUCRATIVE businesses

Amanda’s book, which you can get for free in the Resources section above, goes into detail on the entire strategy, but we are going to cover the highlights she mentioned in her interview here.


One of the major problems with firms, in Amanda’s opinion, is that they offer transactional services rather than transformational services. The goal is to position yourself as a vital asset to a business. Imagine going in and saying you can do XYZ for a company and within three years they’ll recoup all their costs they spent on your firm and then some. Instead of giving a list of services, your service is transforming your client’s businesses into becoming more profitable.

However, to promote that value you have to do work before you meet the client. 70% of a buyer’s decision is made before they reach out to an accountant thanks to the internet. Therefore, you need to get your firm out there so your clients can encounter it. This is done through creating videos, articles, podcasts, books, and the like, as well as increasing your exposure to Google through creating websites, LinkedIn profiles, and social media accounts.

Along with that exposure, you need to have something to say. One of the best ways to show value is to create a model of your business that people can look at and understand at a glance. If you can do this and tie it up into a picture, you’ll turn your list of services into a “product” that your audience will be able to grasp more easily. Even better, during your sales pitch, if you can get your audience to draw out the model themselves while you explain it, it’ll make it even more impactful. Amanda has a great example of this around the 15 minute mark in the interview.

In short, if you can turn your methods and workflows into a model that you can explain, you’ll have more success because it will turn a lot of abstract accounting services into a product your audience can understand. A book that Amanda recommended about this is The Back of the Napkin by Dan Roam, which we’ve linked up in the Resources section.

Another way to show value is to talk about five of your best case studies about how you improved a business. Talk about the results you achieved and, importantly, how you did them. It’s quite likely that if you follow the same steps with your other clients, you’ll get great results with them as well. Jetpack Workflow can really help you set those steps in stone so your whole team can follow them.


Most accountants like to be invisible workers behind the scenes. Amanda says that you, as a firm owner, need to reverse that trend and talk about the things that are really important to you. In addition to helping firms, she also is active in helping with ocean cleanup efforts. Adding a socially-conscious component to your  firm’s charitable efforts is extremely attractive to Millennial and Gen-Z members who need accounting services.

She says that 50% of Millennials are more likely to buy from you if you are environmentally conscious. Pick a cause to volunteer for or to donate a percentage of your profits toward, then tell others about it. You might be surprised at the results. If you don’t have a cause dear to your heart, check out www.globalgoals.org.


Most trust is generated through referrals. Not too long ago, this was one of the few ways to build trust. Unfortunately, many of the referrals that firms get are poor-quality clients. Poor-quality clients tend to give poor-quality referrals. So, how do you get higher-quality clients to trust you?

First, share your case studies, your big wins, so that they can see what you do. Then, provide proof of these wins. Amanda even recommends making a hard-copy brochure of these to hand out during your meetings and through snail mail. Also, the more that you appear online when people search, the more trustworthy you’ll appear. Building trust takes time, so it’s important to understand that people don’t buy immediately when they see you. It may take over a dozen contacts before they’ll trust you enough to contact you.


The agility component of VITAL is quite simple. It is the willingness to recognize that the usual way of doing business as an accountant has changed. You must be willing to try new things and keep an open mind about new products, systems, and applications. Figure out how you can embrace changes and incorporate them into your business rather than keeping a fixed mindset.


All firms want to make money. The best way to make money is to help other people make money. If you can help your clients save money or make money, you will have a more lucrative business. Plus, if you can do this, then you will have no problems with charging more because you’ve proven your value. Use the language of transformation and talk about how your firm will help your clients save or make money.

The last piece of advice she gives in the interview is to take it slow. Her clients usually take about eight weeks to digest her full course and discipline themselves enough to stretch outside of the accountant comfort zone.

See Jetpack Worflow In Action

Get under the hood of Jetpack Workflow’s accounting workflow and project management platform. See some of the top features and how it helps your firm standardize, automate, and track client work more efficiently.