Recently I was asked to help promote a new service for accountants. It has been around for a year or so but hasn’t really taken off in that time. I wrote back and explained my reservations – which are much as they were when I first heard of the launch last year. It may be a good idea but I doubt it’s value to accountants. Basically the service seems to be all froth with little substance of value.

If I don’t believe in something I cannot write or speak about it in glowing terms – which is what was being requested. I want to retain my independence and integrity so felt unable to help with the promotion.

On this occasion, despite the glossy and professional marketing materials I think the concept is flawed as I cannot see how it will really benefit those accountants who buy into it.

In an effort to be helpful I explained my thinking (in brief). I also expressed a willingness to reconsider if the promoters could produce suitable testimonials from accountants. I said these would need to date from 3-12 months after any accountants had started to use the service. The current testimonials they had showed me seem only to reflect the accountants’ first impressions before they had really used the service.

The other possibility I am willing to consider is to take a healthy fee to compensate me for spending some time taking a really good look at what is being promoted, to speak to accountant advocates and possibly to road-test the service. Time is money so such a commitment requires suitable compensation – with no guarantee that I would reach a positive conclusion. So I guess such terms would not appeal to any promoters. I’m not even sure they appeal to me!

As I frequently tell the advocates of new services and facilities for accountants “Your preconceptions are inaccurate, your assumptions are way off the mark and your message is not attractive to accountants”.

This new service is being promoted by people who claim to have worked with accountants for years. Maybe it’s ahead of its time. Maybe it will take off. Or maybe it’s a white elephant. I suspect the latter and also that the investment made by the promoters means they cannot give up on it. In the meantime I think accountants are right to resist the heavy marketing hype. Anyone feel they know what I’m talking about here?

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