Meet a Member

Chris Walker

Chris_Walker_Headshot.jpg

Name: Chris Walker

Title: Partner/CMO

Years of Experience: I have more than 26 years of sales, marketing, operations, and leadership experience earned in software, manufacturing/distribution, and professional services industries. Seven of those have been in the accounting industry.

College Name & Degree: Bachelor of Arts, Management and Information Management, University of North Dakota – Grand Forks, ND

Firm Name: Peterson Sullivan LLP soon to be BDO USA LLP

Firm City & State: Seattle, WA

Firm Size: 180, soon to be 240

Email Address: cwalker@pscpa.com

Professional Memberships: Association for Accounting Marketing, American Marketing Association, Society for Marketing Professional Services

Community Involvement: Washington Trails Association, Seattle Police Foundation (K9)

Twitter Handle: @ChrisWalker73

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chris-walker-0aa3766/

The role of a marketer in the accounting industry is evolving. What are some ways your role has changed over the years since you began your career at your firm?
Marketers used to do just that – market products and services to businesses or consumers desiring those products and services. When I started my career, my role focused on traditional marketing methods – web, social media, collateral, messaging, communication, advertising, and public relations. It then transitioned into an integrated focus on marketing and business development. Now, there are several lanes in which a marketer operates, including actual marketing, business development, operations, client experience, innovation, change management, culture, and growth. Marketers need to be involved in all the necessary elements for a thriving, future-forward firm.

What is the structure of your marketing department?
My department is a collaborative, blended marketing and business development program. On the marketing side, there is one marketing manager who handles communications, client satisfaction feedback, event management, and web/social strategy. Additionally, we have a marketing coordinator who handles administrative tasks such as event registrations, CRM administration and reporting, proposals, and social media execution. On the business development side of the house, we have 20 niche teams involving 20 leaders and 140 team members.

What have you learned the hard way?
Patience. I am still working on it but have come a long way from when I first started in my career! 

What is a “must know” for new accounting marketers?
Your role will evolve at a faster pace than ever before. You are an agent for change and growth who must be adaptable in a transformational environment.

What are your special skills or what is something people may not know about you?
I contribute to revenue directly as a member of our Strategic Consulting Business practice, working with growing organizations to maximize enterprise value ahead of a transition whether it be leadership succession or the eventual sale of the enterprise. My role as an EOS Implementer™ has helped companies and leadership teams clarify, simplify and achieve their vision through formalized strategic planning and true accountability. I am very passionate in using this methodology to coach businesses in communication, collaboration, and results!

What is the biggest benefit you receive from your AAM membership or what affect has AAM had on your career?
The network of people! AAM has been my lifeline throughout my career. Having a group of people who understand the challenges in this industry and who are supportive of your success is invaluable. 

Share one marketing tip.
Stay away from custom fonts!

What do you feel is the biggest issue facing accounting marketers today?
The effect of technology and innovation on the industry.

What would you be doing if you had not become a marketer?
I would be a veterinarian. I love animals, especially dogs, and would find a career where I get to work with them incredibly rewarding.

What is the biggest project you are working on right now?
Our firm is merging into BDO USA effective November 1!  As a member of the leadership team at PS, I have been involved in the process from selecting the firm in which to merge, due diligence, change management, transition, and ultimately integration. It has been an exciting time!

If you had an unlimited budget, what is one thing you would implement immediately?
I would develop AI marketing applications to enhance data analysis and the client experience, including the anticipation of client needs and solutions.

What books have you read recently that you feel would be beneficial to other AAM members?
“Traction” by Gino Wickman and “Get A Grip” by Gino Wickman and Mike Payton