Questions & Answers

Meet a Member: Sarah Coulson

Sarah.jpgName: Sarah Coulson

Title: Marketing Program Manager

Years of Experience: 5+

College Name & Degree(s): University of Florida | Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism

Company Name: CPAmerica International

Company City & State: Gainesville, Florida

Email Address:

Professional Memberships: Association for Accounting Marketing, Florida Public Relations Association

LinkedIn Profile:


What are your thoughts on celebrating milestones?

Organization and employee milestones are incredibly important to the success of a business. They are great public relations and marketing opportunities for engagement of current clients, employees, and target audiences. I am excited to celebrate CPAmerica International’s 40-year anniversary next year. I look forward to focusing on our members’ histories and how they have made our association thrive, in addition to experiencing how staff, members, and potential members react to our marketing campaign. We have great things in store for 2018!


What is your proudest career accomplishment?

I was originally interested in pursuing a journalism career after completing my bachelor's degree at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications (Go Gators!). My proudest career accomplishment was my decision to make a career change from technical writing to working in the public relations and communications field at a large national not-for-profit. Looking back, I would not change a thing.


What have you learned the hard way?

I have always been a department of one or two, so saying no has been something I have struggled to learn.


What is a “must know” for new accounting marketers?

Network, network, network! I am introverted to the nth degree, but I know and I have seen the benefits of networking. Even if you are like me and find it difficult, it will get easier. Join a committee, volunteer on a board – just commit to something at least every other week and you will see how beneficial it is.


What are your special skills or what is something people may not know about you?

I recently took the CliftonStrengths assessment that measures your natural patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving. My top strength is Learner. People who are especially talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. Therefore, even though I feel I am introverted, if you put me in a team setting, I will enthusiastically jump right in!


What is the biggest benefit you receive from your AAM membership or what affect has AAM had on your career?

My very first day as an accounting marketer was at the 2014 AAM Summit in Austin, Texas. I was thrown into a world that I knew nothing about. AAM attendees and CPAmerica members were very welcoming, and although I did not understand a lot of the jargon at sessions, I learned an incredible amount. The biggest benefit of my membership is the relationships I have formed over the years. Again, it is all about the connections.


Share one marketing tip.

Admit you do not know everything. It really is the best way to learn about the ever-changing world of accounting marketing.


What do you feel is the biggest issue is facing accounting marketers today?

We all need to embrace change. In a recent Accounting Today article, Thomson Reuters’ Jon Baron said technological change would affect firms' ongoing viability as businesses: “Growth in progressive firms continues to strengthen. The technology laggards aren’t growing at all, or are simply disappearing.” Just as our member firms need to embrace change, we as an association need to be planning for transformation.


What would you be doing if you had not become a marketer?

Years ago, I was pretty close to entering graduate school to pursue my master’s degree in education. I think if I were not a marketer, I would be an English teacher. I really enjoy being around young learners.


What is the biggest project you are working on right now?

I am currently working on two big projects. CPAmerica is at the end-stages of implementing our 40th Anniversary marketing campaign, which is primarily focused on the history of our members. I also am pursuing an Accreditation in Public Relations (APR).


If you had an unlimited budget, what is one thing you would implement immediately?

I would implement inbound marketing and sales software. I also might hire an additional staff member or two.


What books have you read recently that you feel would be beneficial to other AAM members?

I highly recommend the book “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall. Why suggest a running book for marketers? Without giving away too much, this is a book about the four-step public relations process of Research, Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation (RPIE). In addition, the characters are epic!