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Firing Grade D Accounting Clients: Jean Caragher

Discover expert insights from Jean Caragher on growing accounting firms. Learn about evolving marketing strategies, ideal client selection, and more.

Welcome to the Accounting Influencers Podcast, going live every Monday to 150 countries and 30,000 accounting practitioners, fintech specialists and influencers in the accountancy, CPA and bookkeeping space.

In today’s episode 17, “Firing Grade D Accounting Clients: Jean Caragher.”

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In this episode of the Accounting Influencers Podcast, host Rob Brown interviews Jean Caragher, the founder of Capstone Marketing, as she shares insights on growing accounting firms. Jean discusses her experience as an outsourced or fractional chief marketing officer for firms and highlights the range of services Capstone Marketing offers, including marketing plans, branding, content marketing, pricing, programs, and client satisfaction. She emphasizes the evolving landscape of accounting firm marketing and the opportunities for internal marketers to play a strategic role within their firms.

Jean reflects on the progress made in the accounting industry in terms of recognizing the importance of marketing. She mentions the increased average tenure of marketing directors in CPA firms, with some marketers achieving partner or CEO status. While marketing principles remain the same, Jean emphasizes the expanded range of tools and techniques available today, such as digital marketing, social media, and data analytics.

The conversation shifts to client selection and defining the ideal client for an accounting firm. Jean suggests that CPAs should clearly describe their ideal client based on financial factors, enjoyment of working together, and the level of challenge in work. She encourages accountants to analyze their existing client base and consider whether prospects align with their ideal client profile. Jean also highlights the benefits of letting go of clients who are not the right fit, including the ability to focus on and over-serve the best clients. She acknowledges that it may be a difficult conversation to have but emphasizes the importance of addressing the issue.

The episode concludes with Jean explaining the process of client analysis and the criteria that can be used, such as annual revenue, payment history, growth potential, job complexity, and timing.

By conducting a thorough analysis, accountants can make informed decisions about which clients to retain and which ones to transition out based on factors beyond the client’s actions or behaviour.

Overall, this episode provides valuable insights for accountants looking to grow their firms, covering topics such as outsourced marketing, evolving marketing strategies, defining the ideal client, and conducting client analysis. Listeners can better understand how marketing plays a crucial role in the accounting industry and learn practical steps to enhance their client selection process.

Guest Bio

Jean Caragher brings over 35 years of accounting marketing experience and is a trusted resource for CPA firms seeking to enhance their marketing strategies. As the founder of Capstone Marketing, Jean’s expertise lies in helping growth-focused firms attract top clients and talent. With a practical approach and extensive knowledge of the challenges and opportunities faced by CPA firms, Jean offers invaluable guidance and implementation strategies. She is a Certified HubSpot Partner and a Certified Instructor of Advanced Pricing Methods®.

Recognized for her contributions to the industry, Jean is an inaugural AAM Hall of Fame inductee, a multiple AAM-MAA award winner, and a CPA Practice Advisor Thought Leader. Her insights have been featured in various publications, and she has been named one of Accounting Today’s 100 Most Influential People in Accounting. Beyond her professional pursuits, Jean enjoys reading, boating with her husband, and volunteering at her church. She is also a dedicated advocate for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Connect with Jean Caragher:



Twitter: @JeanCaragher


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Accountex. Accountex will return to ExCeL London UK on the 10-11 May 2023. Bringing together 250+ top fintech companies and cutting-edge start-ups, visitors can browse new software and stay up to date with the latest technology, tools and ideas in accountancy and finance. Alongside the exhibition, attendees will take away actionable tips from the CPD-accredited seminar programme, led by 200+ thought leaders shaping the profession.

Accountex is Europe’s largest annual event for the accounting and finance profession. It attracts 8,000+ attendees and 250+ exhibitors. Attendees can get up to 16 CPD hours with 200+ free seminar sessions across 12 theatres.

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