Edward Mendlowitz, Partner at WithumSmith + Brown, knows how to grow your accounting firm. For 50 years, he built up his own firm to later merge it with a larger accounting firm.
Ed Mendlowitz has written 16 books (and counting!), hundreds of articles, and is a frequent speaker for organizations like AICPA, NJSCPA, NYSSCPA and many, many more.

In this interview, we cover:

  • How Ed has built authority in the space, written so many books (and never has “writers block”)
  • His management framework (30:30 Training Method) for systemically bringing on new hires
  • How to increase your profitability per client with his 1/20th rule
  • How to build referrals through content creation (and promotion) and grow your accounting firm
  • How to get a Free copy of his E-Book, the 30:30 Training Method (Value $49.95) and much more.


Enjoy this interview? Email Edward at emendlowitz@withum.com to Get Your Free Copy of 30:30 Training Method

101 Questions To Grow Your Accounting Firm

Ed Mendlowitz has built accounting firms for over 50 years. He built a reputation not just for strategies to grow your accounting firm, but also sharing his knowledge in his popular book 101 Questions for Growing Your Accounting Firm. 

This book came from firm owners asking him questions through the years about how to grow their own accounting firms. He ended up writing 101 blog posts that came together in a book.

He jokingly became referred to as the “Dear Abby” of accounting!

Ed is able to produce such great content because he takes every question he’s asked and turns it into a blog post, article, talk, or book. To become a true advisor, or authority, in your space, you must prioritize content creation. 

Ed recommends every accounting firm utilize his secret weapon to growing your accounting firm: share your value.

That’s his best tip: share your knowledge. The best way to start is to blog. 

Before you start stressing about “not having time to blog,” Ed has some advice: You can’t just WILL yourself to blog. You must have the “mindset that blogging is important.” Ed’s also a busy firm owner, who also writes and travels giving talks. He finds time to write because it’s a priority.

Many owners approach the “immediate” tasks of the day as the important things. But, long-time growth is what builds firms. That’s what blogging can do for you.

Blogging lets you give the perception that you are better than everyone else. That’s a pretty good place to be in when a local business is looking for a CPA. Your knowledge and value sits out on the web for the world to see. You will beat out your local competitors every time.

How To Keep Your Clients For Life To Grow Your Accounting Firm

Learning how to blog helps with client retention. As you build up your content base, your clients will get more and more value from what you’re sharing. With each piece of information you share, you give dynamite to your current clients to share with others. As they meet friends and businessmen who have questions, they can refer a killer piece of content you produced and thus refer your firm.

Essentially, you treat your clients as a sales force for you.

Here’s how to start

  1. Sit down with your current clients. Set up a time on the calendar when they’re free, don’t let them cancel and not reschedule.
  2. Position the meeting in a way to transform your role from bookkeeper/CPA into business advisor. The way you do that is this: You ask them questions about their personal and business goals: When do they want to retire? What stresses them out right now? etc.
  3. Ed follows a 1/20th rule. Sell 5% of your tax clients additional services every year. Make it personal, and determine what other services could be a good fit for them (ie: are they retiring soon? Discuss additional services to help with retirement). Do not be discouraged when they all don’t “Buy Right Now”, because you’ve also made more clients aware of other services you offer.
  4. Offer to help them with these new NEEDS they have. This puts you in your client’s shoes day-in-day-out. Rather, than just 1x per year at tax time.

Even better, when your client has a question, write it down. Produce a post about it. Send it over to them. They’ll thank you for it and probably hire you for the task needed. Ed’s done this for years and always wrangled a new client out of this process.
This puts you above all the other firms who might also blog.

Many accounting firms (perhaps your own) write blog posts and wonder why no one shows up to read it.

“Build it and they will come” worked in the 90’s, but not today with so much information on the inter-webs.

Instead, grow your readership one-at-a-time. When a client needs help, or has a question, write a blog post and send it to them.

Suddenly, every client or prospect who ever had that same question have a great resource to cite. Ed met with a client who mentioned his son was getting married and was curious about prenups. Ed went home and wrote a blog post about a “pre-nuptial checklist.” The client saw the post after Ed sent it over and he was hired. Other prospects did the same after Ed sent them the article.

It takes time, it takes work, but it’s really not hard to do. In fact, you’ll get better at it as you go. All you need is 300 words and a couple hours per week. I know, your schedule’s already booked up. Why not delegate out pieces to the partners. If you have a firm with a handful of partners, each may only need 1 post every other month over so. 

Point is: You can make time for blogging to grow your accounting firm.

You already know the top questions you get from clients. Compile those into a document and start pounding out the posts.

Firm Management Principles

Another topic Ed specializes in and mentors other firm owners on is firm management. Ed’s built his firms up with groundbreaking training with inexperienced accountants.

Every firm’s different, but Ed prefers hiring inexperienced workers so he can mold them from the beginning. Those who come to your firm with “2 years experience” left their old firm because they actually didn’t get “2 years experience.” They want something more.

Those are harder to train.

Especially young people, they want to work; not listen. It’s incredible how many firms “train” their new hires with 2 hour sessions of “watch and learn.” The inefficiencies are unbelievable!

Want to train a new hire? Here’s what Ed, who’s had 50 years experience, does:

Don’t give them anything that takes more than 30 seconds to explain and 30 minutes to finish. This way: they learn something quick, they work as quickly as possible. As a bonus, they feel accomplished at the end of the day.

New hires don’t remember 95% of their training.

As you hire more young guns, try out this tactic and send Ed an email with the results.

Find these talking points here:

  • 28:30 On hiring, training, and management  Why Edward often prefers new hires that have no experience vs ones that have 1-2 years of experience.
  • 33:10: How to train a new hire using the 30:30 training method framework You don’t give a new hire something you cannot explain in 30 seconds, and it shouldn’t take them more than 30 minutes to complete.

Email Edward to get his E-Book, the 30:30 Training Method, for Free! Email him at: emendlowitz@withum.com

Have a question for Edward? Email him with your question and phone number.

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