Meet a Member

Jean Caragher

        Name: Jean CaragherCaragher_2018_4x4.jpg

Title: President

Years of Experience: 35 years of accounting marketing experience

College Name & Degree: SUNY College at Oswego, Bachelor of Arts in Communications

Firm Name: Capstone Marketing

Firm City & State: Palm Harbor, FL

Firm Size: 1

Email Address: jcaragher@capstonemarketing.com

Professional Memberships: Association for Accounting Marketing, National Speakers Association

Community Involvement: Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, St. Luke the Evangelist Catholic Church

Twitter Handle: @JeanCaragher

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeancaragher/

What are some of the ways you see the accounting industry evolving to envelope the issues of diversity and inclusion?Mazars recently launched its Women of Water Summit – an event promoting industry-leading women and fostering discussion around how to enhance the position of women in the water industry. Kerkering, Barberio & Co. uses a plug-in – UserWay – on website pages that measures, monitors, and fixes accessibility violations without requiring changes to existing code. Other firms like BDO have created “international desks,” e.g., a China desk to pair Chinese speaking employees to any China-related engagements.

What is the structure of your marketing department?
I am a marketing department of one and work with subcontractors for design, copywriting, and website programming. I also work with a virtual assistant for administrative needs.

What have you learned the hard way?
Not all accountants want to hear what marketers have to say. During my first six months as an internal accounting marketer, I spent more time trying to convince the partners who did not want to work with me why they should rather than working with those who actually did. I learned to focus on the supporters rather than the detractors.

What is a “must know” for new accounting marketers?
Learn the operations of your firm. Collaborate with HR and IT. How does your firm make money? What are the vision, mission, and core values? Is there a strategic plan and/or marketing plan? If any of these items are missing, start there. It will help you keep your firm’s goals and initiatives aligned.

What is something people may not know about you?
I have traveled to all 50 states!

What is the biggest benefit you receive from your AAM membership or what affect has AAM had on your career?
I have been a member of AAM from the beginning and attended the first annual conference in 1990. Without question, the biggest benefits I receive from AAM are the lifelong friendships and their willingness to share their areas of expertise.

Share one marketing tip.
Follow a plan. This allows you to focus your time, budget, and resources on agreed-upon goals.

What do you feel is the biggest issue facing accounting marketers today?
Technology is changing how accountants do business. Artificial intelligence can perform the more routine tasks – the most leverageable work – now performed by accountants and bookkeepers. Blockchain will transform the audit, requiring less time from the auditors. Tax preparers will see similar changes. This means that CPAs can spend more time providing advisory services, which bring greater value to clients. Marketers need to play a role in helping their team members become more proficient advisors, identifying the non-compliance needs of clients and prospects.

What would you be doing if you had not become a marketer?
In high school and college, I wanted to become a sportscaster. That was short-lived since I did not have strong skills to work “the board.” So, if I did not become a marketer, perhaps I would have become a photographer (a hobby) or event planner (I love connecting people).

What is the biggest project you are working on right now?
Actually, there are two. First, I am now a Certified Instructor of Fore LLC’s Advanced Pricing Methods® created by Michelle Golden River. I am excited about teaching this curriculum and encouraging CPAs to be paid what they are worth rather than by the billable hour. Second, I conducted an M&A study with Rick Telberg at CPA Trendlines – the first of its kind – and am converting the study results into a variety of merger integration services.

If you had an unlimited budget, what is one thing you would implement immediately?
I would hire a full-time content specialist.

What books have you read recently that you feel would be beneficial to other AAM members?
“Content Inc.” by Joe Pulizzi (I’m excited to hear him speak at the 2020 AAM Summit!) and “Art’s Principles” by Arthur Gensler. Two on my bookshelf I will read next: “Blockchain Revolution” by Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott and “The Future of the Professions” by Richard Susskind and Daniel Susskind.