At Winding River Consulting, we are always looking for fresh ways to equip and inspire managing partners, growth leaders, and leadership teams to leverage the latest in technology, strategy and tactics to grow their accounting firms. Digital Deep Dive Summit represents the best of decades of experience in this space, and the 2022 inaugural gathering was truly memorable.
What is Digital Deep Dive?
Led by Gary Shamis, David Toth, and the rest of the team at Winding River Consulting, Digital Deep Dive 2022 was attended by 25 of the nation’s accounting firm leaders and industry influencers. The emphasis was on engagement, peer-to-peer learning, networking, and brainstorming. Attendees came away from the two-day event invigorated and primed with ideas to propel their organization’s into greater success.
Key Takeaways of Digital Deep Dive 2022
Rather than just abstractions, the Summit’s aim is to go deep into the world of digital. We heard from business leaders that have used digital strategy alone to grow their business by 10x in the short-term and are continuing an ambitious strategy with a sure trajectory for long-term viability. These leaders came both from inside and outside the accounting industry, which underscores the necessity for digital transformation across contexts.
Attendees also were given the opportunity to dive deep into the nuances of data-driven tactical execution; hearing from thought leaders from highly respected organizations.
Here’s what we covered.
David Toth: What are the Top Challenges Facing Accounting Firm Marketing Teams?
Day one began with an open discussion among Chief Marketing Officers and other company leaders in the accounting profession. We arrived at consensus on the top challenges we all face to growth, which include:
- Not enough time to plan, educate, execute, etc.
- Establishing the right priorities
- CRM and data management
- A balance of change management priorities
- Alignment on what growth means, within the organization and with leadership
- Reaching targets and merging traditional marketing methods with new ones
- Using data in the right way
- Finding capacity
There was a widespread conclusion that the foundation to doing digital right is strategy and leadership integration.
Digital Discover Directional Scorecard
David led attendees through a brand new self-measurement tool to rate themselves on digital adoption. In terms of strategy, execution, results, technology, and resources, these marketing leaders were able to pinpoint their current level, and use that as a catalyst to reflect on areas of improvement vital for growth.
These two exercises informed a final discussion, as the group assessed their own scores and used that data to begin assembling a roadmap for improvement.
Gary Shamis, M.Acc.: Where are We Going? An Accounting Industry Outlook
The accounting industry is facing change, and those changes are coming fast. We predict that 60% of the workforce will remain the same, but as much as 25% will be an alternative workforce. Additionally, as much as 15% of current tasks may be taken over by technology.
Emerging technologies — including blockchain, AI, and robotics — are at the forefront of the digital revolution, and accounting firms are facing an invitation for early adoption that could make or break market positioning in the coming years.
For both human capital and technology, timing is critical.
As Jeff Bezos put it, “What’s dangerous is not to evolve.”
Accounting firms have three options to facilitate change:
- Buy it
- Share it
- Build it
New priorities need to include diversity and inclusion, innovation, a growth strategy, and strategic use of private equity.
The “how” for all of these was skillfully delineated in Gary’s presentation at the Summit.
Gale Crosley, Gary Shamis, David Toth, Tim Keith, Eric Majchrzek: Roundtable Discussion
Attendees were given an opportunity to “Ask the Experts,” in a panel-style roundtable discussion with Gary Shamis; Gale Crosley, CPA, CGMA; and David Toth. They covered everything from managing capacity, to tactical implementation of data-driven KPIs, building niche-specific campaigns, and further nurturing buy-in from key stakeholders.
Eric Majchrzak, CEO: the Marketing and Leadership Alliance
Eric Majchrzak is the CEO of BeachFleischman PLLC and the only CEO of an accounting firm to ever come from a marketing background. In his presentation on day two of the Digital Deep Dive Summit, Eric illustrated his experience and success gaining buy-in from key stakeholders, and laid out how he set a digital strategy that got results. He reiterated the theme that marketing and websites can and should be viewed as one giant rainmaker for the firm. To get there, marketing and leadership must align on the purpose, mission, vision, and strategic plan.
Eric laid out the 7 Ps of the Marketing Mix, explaining how these are the cornerstone to accomplish more through accounting firm marketing. He then took attendees through a matrix to evaluate a firm’s marketing and leadership alignment, explaining this is the way to execute without interference.
This led into a second roundtable discussion with Eric and other experts to brainstorm together how to overcome the challenges that had been discussed on day one.
Marketing and Leadership Alignment Scorecard
Because this is such a salient point of consideration, Eric then led attendees through an in-depth discussion on what alignment looks like, based on 5 different elements.
Of course, current digital strength is a vital point of assessment to create a relevant strategy.
Show and Tell: Aaron Minc and Brandon Hall
Aaron Minc, Principal at Minc Law, and Brandon Hall, Managing Partner at Hall CPA, presented an engaging session showing and telling attendees how they’ve grown their hugely successful businesses using digital tactics.
Brandon shared his Top 5 Pillars of Growth, and Aaron described his use of video, home-grown content marketing, and live chat to generate an ever-increasing number of qualified leads.
Digital Deep Dive Summit by WRC
Digital Deep Dive was a great time of connection and collaboration. However, every attendee left feeling they wanted more frequent interactions than an annual Summit. Plans are to hold frequent webinars and virtual sessions year-round with this group to catalyze the implementation of the work that began at the Summit.
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Thank you to our sponsors – Introhive and Hollidien Inbound + Strategies, whom without this event would not be possible.
Want a guide on your firm’s journey toward a more prosperous tomorrow? Contact the Winding River Consulting team today to learn how we accelerate firm growth: (440) 723-3653.