Accounting Influencers Roundtable


Positioning & Differentiation Tips for Accounting Firms

Tim Williams on the Accounting Influencers podcast with BD Academy founder Rob Brown

Tim Williams roams the globe in search of “next practices” in the world of professional services. As the founder of Ignition Consulting Group, he teaches leaders of professional services firms the principles and practices of effective positioning and pricing strategy. His assignments have taken him literally around the world, where he has worked with advertising agencies, law firms, accounting firms and business associations on every continent.

Tim is author of two books, the latest of which is “Positioning for Professionals: How Professional Service Firms Can Differentiate Their Way to Success.” He is serves as one of LinkedIn’s global influencers, where several hundred thousand followers regularly read his articles on positioning and pricing strategy. Shownotes:

  • Why accountants and other professionals struggle with the terms ‘selling’ and ‘marketing’
  • What all professional service firms have in common when it comes to positioning
  • Why accounting leaders should think of their own brand like their do a client
  • The reason why good marketing makes selling easy in accounting firms
  • What happens to a professional firm if they don’t get their market positioning right
  • The fallacy in accounting firm positioning to being everything to everyone
  • Why it’s so difficult for humans and professional firms not to copy others
  • Differentiation – easy or not for accounting firms to truly achieve this?
  • An example of Michelangelo to illustrate how accounting firms should view positioning
  • How most accounting leaders get their positioning strategy all wrong
  • The importance of being ‘best in class’ for a premium positioning in the marketplace
  • Why ‘full service’ and ‘wide range of experience’ are such meaningless phrases for accounting firms
  • The top motivator in why one accounting firm gets selected or hired over another
  • What proactive accounting firms do over those who just claim to be proactive
  • Why professional firms are in both the magic business and the logic business
  • The meaning of ‘disintermediation’ of professional firms
  • How specialising and narrowing your accounting firm’s focus takes courage
  • Why introducing more products and services can actually damage an accounting firm’s market position
  • The two things that accountants are really selling if they want premium positioning
  • Why billing by the hour imposes a ceiling on profits for accounting firms
  • Why consulting and advising is so rewarding for service professionals like accountants and consultants
  • Shout out to Ron Baker as the ‘best in class’ expert on the topic of pricing and killing the billable hour
  • Advice on saying ‘no’ which is the cornerstone of premium market positioning for accountants

Tim Williams on the Accounting Influencers podcast with BD Academy founder Rob Brown

Although Tim started his career on New York’s Madison Avenue, today he finds it much more rewarding living in the Rocky Mountains, where he spends his spare time in Utah’s red rock country hiking with his wife and two Airedales. Contact Tim here:

Website and blog


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