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Digital Deep Dive Summit 2023: A Recap

Table of Contents

Last month saw the return of the popular Digital Deep Dive Summit: the only digital summit created exclusively for accounting firms. 

Held in Atlanta, GA, the completely sold out conference brought together digital leaders from dozens of the nation’s top accounting firms. Participants heard from a variety of industry experts and discovered actionable strategies to grow their firm’s digital presence for years to come. 

Speakers included:

  • Chase Birky, Co-Founder & CEO of Dark Horse CPAs
  • David Wien, Senior Account Executive, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions at LinkedIn
  • Drew Kraemer, Co-Founder & CEO of Engine Brands
  • Tim Keith, Co-Founder & CEO of Propense.AI
  • Chris Smith, Head of Growth and Customer Success at QuickFee
  • Gary Shamis, President and CEO of Winding River Consulting
  • David Toth, Director of Growth at Winding River Consulting
  • Joy Youell, Content Marketing & SEO Consultant at Winding River Consulting

Here is a brief overview of the highlights from each session. 

2023 Trends: The Future is Digital

Speaker: David Toth, Chief Growth Officer at Winding River Consulting

Digital Deep Dive opened with a presentation from Winding River Consulting’s David Toth, exploring the prevalent trends we see across the accounting industry today. David summarized several key trends, including:

  • Firms are seeing revenue attributable to marketing increase: many firms are building truly effective digital strategies and reaping the rewards. Firms in the $25 million to $80 million range are seeing $800,000 to $1.2 million in potential qualified revenue activities. 
  • Data is growing in importance: data is no longer just being leveraged to prove the ROI of marketing activities, it’s being harnessed by firms to make smarter strategic decisions backed by data-driven insights. 
  • Capacity challenges remain top of mind: as the accounting industry continues to battle a talent crisis in the face of increasing demand, firms are embracing new strategies to address capacity challenges. 
  • The role of marketing continues to evolve: firms continue to expand their marketing teams, moving away from traditional models to a cross-functional, omnichannel approach.
  • Firms must focus on evaluating their IP: it’s imperative for firms to create their own unique voice to differentiate themselves while taking care to maintain ownership over the assets they create and the conversations they ignite. 

AI and Content: How Does AI Fit Into Your Tech Stack?

Speakers: Joy Youell and David Toth, Winding River Consulting

One technology is grabbing all of the headlines right now: Artificial Intelligence (AI). Its impact will be wide-ranging, changing many industries significantly. But, as this session explored, AI is also a powerful tool that firms can leverage to drive growth. 

As digital leaders evaluate their marketing strategies, they must question the role AI will play. Today, there are AI tools that can be used to add efficiencies at practically every stage of the marketing journey, from electronic discovery to document generation. 

As AI continues to evolve, the utility of these tools will only advance. Over time, the most successful firms will be those that leverage these technologies to shape custom solutions that fundamentally change the way they do business. That means hiring new professionals: A Chief Technical Marketing Officer (CTMO), Prompt Engineers, Data Scientists, and more. 

The time to act is today: it is incumbent on firms to evaluate their readiness, prioritize their strategy, and invest in building capabilities and leaders that are equipped to lead firms into the future. 

LinkedIn: The Best Tool in and for Business

Speakers: David Wien, Principal Consultant, Content Solutions, and Jessica Oliveira, Senior Creator Manager at LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the go-to platform for business, with over 800 million professionals on LinkedIn. Practically every decision-maker in America is on the network, making it vital for your firm to have a well-developed presence. 

The session presented two clear ways firms can leverage LinkedIn: for advertising and for partners to build a personal brand. First, David Wien presented LinkedIn’s range of advertising solutions, highlighting the ways that accounting firms are using paid advertising to unlock improved marketing performance. 

This was followed by a presentation from Jessica which explored how accounting leaders can leverage LinkedIn to establish themselves as thought leaders. From embracing Creator Mode to sharing and engaging with interesting content, there are countless ways for firm leaders to embrace LinkedIn to build their personal brand, many of which Jessica explored in this presentation. Attendees left with a new roadmap for their LinkedIn profiles and the tools to start building an audience of their own. 

Dark Horse: Disrupting Your Way Into New Markets

Speaker: Chase Birky, Co-Founder & CEO of Dark Horse CPAs

Dark Horse came out of nowhere to completely disrupt the small business accounting market. This session, from the firm’s Co-Founder & CEO Chase Birky, focused on how Dark Horse has built a best-in-class digital presence that has seen the firm increase revenue and headcount 20x + over the past few years. 

“Our digital presence is our presence”

–– Chase Birky, Co-Founder & CEO of Dark Horse CPAs

Chase focused on the importance of defining your firm’s mission and effectively messaging this to prospective clients and employees. In today’s digital world, your digital brand is your brand, not just some element of it. 

His presentation also explored how accounting firms can create meaningful cultures and brand values that elevate their firm, setting them aside from the competition––for talent and clients alike.

One takeaway from Chase: ask ChatGPT what it thinks your firm does based on your website. As you read the answer, ask yourself if it’s congruent with your vision for the firm and the message you want to convey to prospective clients. If not, it might be time to think about updating your firm’s website. 

Industry Update: View from the Corner Office 

Speaker: Gary Shamis, President and CEO of Winding River Consulting

This session explored the hottest topics in the accounting world today, ranging from growing Private Equity activity to the solutions available for firms to build capacity in a time when talent is scarce.

As a proven leader who grew his father’s firm into a top 50 U.S. firm before selling to BDO, Gary brought a rich perspective, exploring in great detail the ways that firm cultures are changing to adapt to Millennial values. The session also outlined the changing commercial models gaining prominence throughout the accounting industry. 

From the Lens of a B2C Growth Leader

Speaker: Drew Kraemer, Co-Founder & CEO of Engine Brands

With decades of experience leading growth and digital strategy for leading Fortune 100 B2C brands, Drew brought a fresh perspective on the digital challenges facing the accounting industry today. 

In the past, many firms let their clients come to them. Today, that approach is doomed. Success demands firms actively generate leads for their services. In doing so, embracing digital can be a game-changer. 

Drew’s presentation focused on how accounting firms can master the digital strategies used by the world’s biggest brands, from building out growth marketing frameworks to creating conversion funnels that turn interested prospects into paying clients. 

Data Can Dive Firm Growth. Really. 

Speakers: Tim Keith, Co-Founder & CEO of Propense.AI, and Chris Smith, Head of Growth and Customer Success at QuickFee, moderated by David Toth, Chief Growth Officer of Winding River Consulting

This panel explored how firms can leverage data to deliver more personalized experiences to clients: both current and prospective. 

By embracing new technologies, such as Propense and QuickFee, firms can create more tailored experiences than ever before, helping boost retention and growth. Together, Tim and Chris discussed the various techniques businesses can adopt to analyze their data and generate insights that unlock new growth opportunities. 

Thanks To Our Attendees

Leaders from over 40 of the nation’s top firms attended Digital Deep Dive, enjoying a fantastic two day gathering and exchange of ideas. Attendees included Managing Partners, CMOs, growth leaders, and a wide range of other accounting and marketing professionals. 

A special thank you also goes to our event sponsors, the Association for Accounting Marketing and QuickFee. 

To stay updated on next year’s Digital Deep Dive, as well as our other events, sign up to our mailing list.

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