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The Upstream Leader Podcast: Episode 17: Marketing's Role in Leadership


On Episode 17 of The Upstream Leader, Heath Alloway talks to Katie Tolin, the CEO and owner of CPA Growth Guides, about the important role marketing professionals play within CPA firms. Katie stresses the importance for marketing professionals of finding one’s own career path, treating the members of a firm like one’s clients, with whom you’re sharing your specialized expertise, and how to get a “seat at the table” on the firm’s important marketing decisions.

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Full Episode Transcript

Hello, and welcome to The Upstream Leader podcast. I'm Heath Alloway, your host for today's episode. And today's topic is around marketing's role in leadership. It's one that I've had top of mind for several years, and it's one that's really near and dear to my heart.

Today's guest is someone that I've had several conversations with—really focused on marketing professionals and their career path, or in some cases, maybe even their lack of career path. And for those that are not on a client-facing side, maybe it's not as clear for their journey, and I don’t mean that in any kind of negative way or any kind of negative light whatsoever. But historically, marketing, and other non-client-facing roles, maybe they've been viewed as task-oriented or task-driven. And what we're seeing, it's really a shift in a profession where non-traditional professionals and those in marketing, they're actually starting to get a seat at the leadership table. They're starting to get more involved with firm strategy, and really supporting driving that firm success, and really having a positive difference within a firm.

And today's guest is Katie Tolin, and she is the CEO and owner of CPA Growth Guides. And Katie is someone that I've been very fortunate to get to know over the past few years. I served on a committee with Katie, through the Association for Accounting Marketing. And whenever I met Katie, I can quickly tell she's someone that—she's clearly passionate about helping firms, and not just helping firms, but helping others and helping partners, and other marketers with their success and their career journey. So welcome, Katie, happy to have you on the show today.

Thanks for having me. I'm excited to be here.

Absolutely. And Katie, this is one we'll start off with right out of the gates: We ask all of our podcast participants; and in two minutes or less, what has really influenced you and what has really made you the leader that you are today?

You know, I think there's a few things, you know. There's that whole thing, is leadership—are leaders born or are they made? And I think there's something in people that makes them more likely to be leaders. So I think there's something in me a bit naturally, but honestly, what I think the biggest part is, is I have a willingness to learn. You know, I'm very open to the fact that I'm not perfect, that I have growth areas, and so even leadership was one of them.

When I was in-house at a firm, I was part of their internal next generation leadership program. And in that we read a lot of great books, and we had great speakers, we had projects that we had to do, conversations among these people in the firm. And I actually learned a tremendous amount from that. I also worked with a professional leadership coach. It was something I felt like I just really needed to do myself—to better manage my team, to better get influence within the firm, and within the partners. And you know, I remember, you know, on the call, one of the early calls with my coach, and he said, “Katie, you're very coachable.” And you know, I was like, “Okay, what does that mean?” He's like, “That's a compliment.” He goes, “There are so many people that aren't willing to work on themselves and aren't willing to put the work into it.”

So, you know, I think there's many factors, but I think the fact that I'm willing to admit that I'm not perfect, and improve where I can, is probably what's helped make me the leader I am today.

Hundred percent, Katie, and I love a couple things you just said: The constant, the drive and the constant learning. And when I look at just even talking about career path—I'll just use partner because it's just used so frequently—but it's not a destination, it's truly a journey. And I truly believe that no matter where you're at in your career, you can always continue to learn, you can always continue to get better. And I love the thought of when you're coachable, that's a compliment. That's something we talk about a lot at Upstream: If you're coachable, it can be one of the biggest compliments that you can get. And not only that, it can be so rewarding as a coach, and then also being coached, because it can —it can truly make a big difference in a career.

And, Katie, as we get into today's discussion, well we'll take somewhat of a multi-pronged approach here. One, we’ll take the approach from a leadership team, or maybe a partner perspective. The other view or the other lens that we'll look through is from a marketing professional, and their unique perspective.

And so we’ll kind of tackle this in two different ways. And as we get into this, Katie, you work with a lot of different firms. So what are the some of the biggest hurdles you see between a marketing professional, and maybe firm leadership, or possibly the partner group within a firm?

I think the number one hurdle is a misunderstanding of what a marketer does or should do, and what your actual marketer can do. I think it creates unrealistic expectations. You're out there, you're talking to your peer firms, and “Oh, we just, you know, we hired this marketing director, he or she's doing amazing things.” So I think the, you know, the other firm has that mentality, “Well, it's a good move, give me one of those,” and they go, oh, “Good move, I need a marketing director,” but they don't understand that not all marketers are created equal, and that the level of marketer has a direct impact on what it is they can do and how they can contribute to their firm.

And even a marketer who’s more of a generalist, you know, that they've come up through the ranks, doing a little bit of everything, everybody has one area that they're really stronger in than others. And as you're looking to hire a marketer, you've got to realize that that's where they're going to spend their time, that's where they're going to have the most success. So make sure you're actually hiring somebody that can do what it is that you want them to do.

So Katie, what should they be looking for? Whenever they're looking to hire a new marketer, a new CMO or new marketing director—and I agree, especially when you mentioned the specialization piece of this, there's just so many different ways to impact a firm in a marketing business development perspective. And whether that's client surveys, or whether that's the branding aspect, or maybe business development training or digital marketing—whatever it may be—there are a lot of different tracks. But what do you see in those marketers that are truly successful, and what should the partner group be looking for, when they do make that jump, when they do decide to hire a marketing professional?

I think the key is, you need a marketer who can think big, who can be that visionary, who can think outside the box and be willing to try new things.

So in addition to that, they've got to be great project managers. So whether they're working with their staff, somebody on the accounting side of the business, an outside vendor—they're going to be juggling lots of projects, and keeping all the balls in the air and keeping everything moving. So I mean, those are probably not the two skills that you would have thought of, to come first, but I think it's important that every marketer have that.
And then there are a tremendous number of specializations today. You know, there are some marketers who can also do business development. There are some that have joined, like hybrid HR, or recruiting or some other sort of roles in their organization. You know, there's digital marketing and social media and lead gen and branding. I mean, there's a ton out there. I think the best person is going to know what they don't know—they know all these aspects of marketing are out there, they know they exist, they understand it's out there and how they work—and that they're willing to reach out to the people who can help them, or guide them, or give them advice on whatever it is they're trying to do when it's not their area of expertise.

Right Katie, and the one other thing that I've seen frequently, and you kind of alluded to this—the thought of hiring a 10- or 15-year person, someone that's experienced. And one of the other trends around that, that I've seen, firms are hiring experienced professionals, and not just marketing, but other areas with HR or learning, development, whatever it may be, they may not have a background in public accounting, or possibly with a CPA firm.

So any thoughts or guidance on what would you tell that 10- to 15-year person that maybe doesn't have that experience in our profession? What would you tell them that would really help them out as their onboarding or as they are onboarding with their firm?

You know, I think it was probably something that hit me early in my career, when I was actually working for attorneys. And somebody sat me down and said, “Katie, you got to think like one of them.” And they really went through the “Do you understand what a partnership model is? Do you understand how how attorneys, how accountants today, how they make money? How are the partners paid? That when you're asking for this, you know, a sum of money because you just think you know, there's a budget out there, that you're asking people to take money out of their pockets?” And, you know, so to me, that's the hardest part. Because if you come from corporate America, you've got this budget that's set for you that's at a much higher number than traditional professional services firms spend on marketing. And you know, because it's in the budget, you can spend it. But that's not really how it works here.

So really get into the internal working of your firm, including the internal politics. Know who the influencers are, know what you've got to do. You know, you probably did not realize when you went to marketing, you're also going into politics, but you need to figure out how to lobby sometimes, to get what you want accomplished.

Yeah, absolutely Katie. And I think you hit on something there as far as internal relationships. And one of the quotes that we use in some of our presentations, is “People do business with people they like,” or the thought that people work with people they like. So what advice would you have from a relationship side of finding those internal advocates, and how can you take that and impact their career journey for some of our marketing professionals?

You know, there are people that you're just going to click with better than others, for whatever reason. Could just be that you click as personal, you know, storytelling and friendships and there are others that, you know, just you'll click with because they're like, “Wow, he or she knows what they're talking about, like, I actually trust them.”
And so, you know, we like to focus on the roadblocks, who's not helping us, who's not doing what, who's getting in our way. And it can't be hard on us emotionally. And I think what we need to do instead is focus on the ones that do like us, that do support us that are willing to do stuff, and not beat ourselves up on the ones that don't.

And Katie, in a lot of cases, I reflect on my career, and some of those most rewarding marketing experiences, was working with those up and comers, maybe those below the manager level, or at the manager level, or possibly even the senior managers. They were on the partner track, they were hungry, they wanted guidance, they wanted help. And as you're developing in your career, they are the future leaders or the future partners within a firm. So if you're building that relationship very early on, you start to be viewed more as a peer, and instead of someone just taking guidance or a task.

And the thing you mentioned about truly understanding how your partnership works—one of the, probably, that's really stuck with me throughout the years, a piece of advice, my previous CMO said, “Think about the average charge hour. If you're going to reach out to say 10 partners or 15 partners, whatever that number is, and you're looking at their billable hour rate, and start to do the math on that.”

So being very intentional with the time you get on the ask that you are making, the action step, or the next thing that you need them to do, it's very critical. And it's that thought of, “Are you leveraging their time?” that was something that just always really stuck with me.

And a lot of our conversations, Katie, we've talked about that thought around career path. And sometimes our marketing professionals, they may just not have that. But what I've seen, there are a lot of people that are truly hungry for that journey. They do—they want to develop, they want to be successful. They want to help a firm do well. And this sometimes, it's not just starting, or maybe some of that's the 5- or 10- or 15-year person in their career. Let's really flip our focus here. What advice can you provide to our marketing professionals who really strive towards that leadership type opportunity?

So first of all, don't be alarmed if you don't have a career path—you are not alone. This is not something that exists for marketing professionals within CPA firms. The best case scenario is they try to fit a marketer into the CPA model of what their progression looks like—sometimes with success sometimes without. So don't be upset if you don't have that. Use this as your avenue to help create where it is that you want to go next.

And I think the key is, don't sit back and wait to be invited. You need to step up and ask for that seat at the table. There is a conversation that is happening in your firm that relates to marketing—are you part of it? Even if it's happening at a partner meeting, or a partner retreat. I remember the first time that I was at my accounting firm, and there was a partner retreat, and you know, and I kind of said to the managing partner, “Are you talking growth strategy or growth or anything at all?” And he's like, “Well, yeah.” And I said, “Well, I think I should be there for that part of the conversation.” And it was like, “Whoa whoa wait, we go out of state for a partner retreat, and no partners come,” like, and then he sat on a thought back and he's like, “Katie, you're right, you need to be there.”
So I showed up for that one hour part of the conversation, because how can you as a marketer, drive growth within your organization, if you don't know what your organization's trying to do? It's not fair for you then to be measured on your success or not success with it, when you don't get to hear firsthand and experience it.
And I will tell you as a marketer, that's probably the scariest thing you're ever going to do. You know, I was so sick to my stomach the whole time I'm doing it. I'm sure my face was like a hundred shades of red. But that would not have happened if I didn't make that ask.

Yeah, totally agree, Katie. And in that, that's one thing, I think as people develop in their careers, it's kind of that thought of developing a leader’s voice. And it's not just the ask to be there, to be part of something, it's your ask because you want to help and you're wanting to be a strategic advisor, and you want to help the firm grow.
So one thing that I think is really helpful, it's that mindset of almost viewing your partner group, or maybe it's your various offices or industries or niches—however your firm may be structured—it's that thought of building that relationship. So get to the point to where you feel a little more comfortable making that ask. You, in a way, you view them as your clients, and if you don't make that ask, you may never necessarily get that seat at the table. So I think that's an absolute critical point.

So I was probably a few years into an accounting firm when it hit me or I heard something somewhere, I forget where it came, that your clients are the partners in the firm—they're the others in the firm. That's who you're there to serve. Once you put that mindset on, everything kind of changes. You know, think about it, like, you know, would we want our partners to blow off a client deadline? Would we want them to not be responsive? Like, we coach our people on how to have this great client experience. Are we doing it, and are we offering that to our partners? And I think that's something that that we need to get in that mindset is.

And I really view our role with them as consultants. They don't know marketing. You're guiding them, you're sharing with them, you're explaining terms, you're trying to talk about how content can eventually drive leads—even if it's three years from now, or two years from now, or whatever it is. But the one thing that we've got to be conscious of is just like a consultant, you can go in and share your opinions, and the firm may or may not follow it. The same holds true with a partner. You can share the best advice out there, but recognize then it's outside of your control, on whether or not they're going to do it or not, which is why it's important to find those that actually work well with you and will champion your causes, so you can have successes to build upon.

Absolutely, Katie. Some of the firms that we work with, they may have one marketer, possibly two marketers, or some maybe even have a more robust department built out for that team. But you talked about the internal piece, the internal value. And one thing that I've seen marketing individuals, or potentially departments, struggle with, is that same thought around capacity. We're seeing so much of it in the profession—where and how do I spend my time to be very impactful? So how can I be the most impactful with my time?

And one of the observations, sometimes we spend too much time, or maybe it's the same amount of time on internal projects versus some of those that are external-facing with clients and prospective clients. So maybe that's supporting a recruiting opportunity. Or maybe it's an internal type campaign. So any guidance to our marketing professionals listening in on where and how to be the most impactful with their time, whether that's on internal projects, or the external type projects?

It's gonna start with what’s your firm's strategic plan? Or if you don't have a strategic plans, for whatever reason, I know, there's firms out there that don't want to develop one, what's your growth strategy? How are you going to grow? Where are you going to grow? Where's growth going to come from? Because everything you should be doing as a marketer should be helping that firm move closer to whatever it is that they want to accomplish.
So if the bulk of your strategic plan is internal, then you as a marketer have to accept the fact that that's probably going to be your biggest role, to really help the firm accomplish what it's trying to do. I would question if a firm's major goal is only internal—there should be an external component that I think should be pretty high on the list. But understanding what it is they're trying to accomplish, then you really need as a marketer, to look at your annual marketing plan, and make sure you're building out things that step by step, get you a little bit closer to what's ultimately spelled out in that strategic plan.

Yes, I love that thought Katie, and making sure that you're already aware of a firm's strategic plan and what's tied to that, major firm growth initiatives, and what is what is important within a firm.

But one of the things you said earlier about a career path. And there are many marketing professionals that maybe they don't have that clear career path. In some ways, I'm going to flip this a little bit—that's exciting to me. Because if you take that ownership, and you can drive that path, you can help build it yourself. And I a hundred percent agree: if you can tie the, helping move big firm dials, if it's tied to that strategic plan, you can have a big impact on firm growth. And not only that, just the internal credibility, or the internal relationships can make such a big difference.

So something right out of the gates and earlier in our comments, you mentioned ongoing learning and coaching. It was so impactful for you. So whenever I get asked this question, I think there's maybe two sides to it—I think of a mentor is maybe different than a coach. But what advice do you have, if you are a marketer, maybe they're not getting true coaching, they're not getting that true experience of someone that's investing in their career, if they don't have a partner or someone else, they’re not getting that active guidance. What advice do you have for them to really develop that coaching or that mentoring-type relationship? Because sometimes it's official and many times it's unofficial. I've had people throughout, or that I've experienced—unassigned coaches or unassigned mentors that made an impact on me, and then I had some that were assigned coaches that had a major impact. So I'm interested to hear your thoughts on that Katie.

You know, I would probably look for the unassigned. Because I'm assuming in most firms if you know even if there is one assigned, it might not be the best one. That you might find one that on your own that's a little bit better. And I think there's three types of people you're looking for, and you can use them all at different times.

There's a mentor. And these are mentors that you can call up, no matter what you're struggling with in your career, what you're dealing with, and they just kind of talk you through it. You know, I have one mentor who's in the accounting/marketing space as a consultant that I get to talk to, I have another one who owns a small ad agency in my town. And I talked to him a lot about that as well. Those mentors are the kind of people that you can turn to, and you can count on to just bounce ideas off of.

There's also the concept of micro-mentors. And I think we as marketers need a lot of micro-mentors. And these are the people that can help us with one tiny thing. Let's say you're struggling with digital advertising—there is somebody out there in our space that knows digital marketing, that can spend a little bit of time with you explaining that. So they're a micro-mentor, because you use them for a short period of time for something specific.
And then I think if you need it, the other thing that you could look for is an accountability partner. So many marketers and CPA firms are departments of one. Even when it's not a department of one—if you're a higher ranking marketer—it's hard to sometimes hold yourself accountable. You can find somebody else out there in our space, that you guys could just have regular check ins: “Hey, you were gonna work on this, how are you doing?” Maybe you are both working on the same thing, and you're holding each other accountable as you go through. So I really think that you should look for those three, and not necessarily have to have all three at the same time. I think they're going to move in and out of your career based on where you're at and what you're trying to accomplish.

So Katie, with that, how has the thought of constructive feedback or candid type feedback played a role? It's one thing that I've known over the years, I've seen the past few years—you seem pretty straightforward with your thoughts and feedback, and I love that and appreciate that about you. But I also think that a career journey, if you're coachable, if you're open to receiving constructive feedback—which it's not easy, I get that. But receiving that kind of feedback, it can make such a big difference. So how did you learn? Or how did you get comfortable, or being in a position where you can receive that kind of feedback? And then really, how has that influenced your career?

You know, I think at the beginning, it wasn't easy. You know, somebody says something about you, and you take it hard, you know what I mean? You're behind closed doors, you're, you know, I think you go through anger, and then sadness, and like all these emotions. But when you sit back and think about it, and you're saying, “What do I want to accomplish in my career? What do I just want to accomplish in life?” Don't we want to be the best that we can be in whatever it is that we're doing?

And you know, and I think the older you get, the more you realize what you don't know. When you were young and right out of school, you thought you knew everything, because you had the shiny new college degree, and they taught you everything you needed to know. And then you get to the workplace, and you're like, “Oh, I do not know everything I need to know.”

So, you know, I think it is—just recognizing that if you want to be better, you've got to listen. Now, that doesn't mean you need to take everything verbatim, because I've received some bad feedback over the years. But sit back and think about what was the meaning behind it? Like what were they ultimately trying to get to?

They're truly trying to help you—that's what it boils down to.

Yeah!

If you have someone that truly wants to help you, that is a gift. And if you're willing to be open with that and share that kind of feedback, I just think it's so critical.

And Katie, one thing that you and I have talked about as well, or maybe even in our discussion today, is that thought of self accountability. That's so big in any kind of coaching relationship, or your development in your career. And taking that leap of faith at some point in your career and working within a firm, you made this shift to go work with firms. That's not an easy thing to do. That's scary, it's exciting, it's all of the above.
So what have you learned throughout your own journey from taking that leap of working within a firm, and starting your own advisory and consulting type business?

It truly was the scariest thing I ever did in my life. But I made sure I did my homework first. You know, I talked to a lot of people, I had a plan. Now I didn't do anything while I was still employed by another company, but as soon as I, you know, said, “Hey guys, I'm leaving,” then, you know, I made the steps to get everything going.
I think part of it is being prepared. You know, I knew what I had to do to be financially prepared, to be mentally prepared, to be positioned. And that's not because I had all the answers—that's because I spent a lot of time talking to people, talking to other business owners, talking to consultants. I remember one thing, a conversation I had with multiple people, is “What if I hate this? What if I go out on my own and I just don't like this? Like will a firm ever hire me again?” I mean, I literally asked that question of like three or four people.
And so you know, I had that level. I'm not gonna say comfort because I don't think you're ever comfortable with a decision like this. You know, I remember leaving work that last day with all my stuff packed up in the back of my car, driving down the highway going, “What did I just do? Like, where am I getting up and going Monday? Like what the heck?”

So you're never going to be comfortable, but I think you can be confident that you've done the work, and that you know what the next step is and what you're required to do, and that you're willing to learn and work on yourself. And, you know, I think if you're comfortable—if you're too comfortable with it, it's probably not a good decision.

And Katie, I think anytime growth happens is when you are outside of your comfort zone. so I think your comments are spot on.

So Katie, one thing we continue to see clearly—I don't need to get into all the detail—but it's very much a unique world right now. And some firms are still remote or hybrid, I'd say a good percentage. And things are just constantly changing, constantly evolving. So there is that level of uncertainty currently with what firms are doing. So what ideas can you share over the next several months, maybe the next six to 12 months? What are some of the biggest marketing or growth opportunities within the profession?

So I think it's still that advisory. And I think we're still trying to figure that out, and what that means. And I'm not talking about “Oh, we need to do cybersecurity,” and those big picture ones. I'm talking about “What does advisory look like on a daily basis?” And I think figuring that piece out is going to be important.

I also think packaging. How do you package the advisory with the compliance, such as outsourced accounting, would be a good example of that. I also think, probably not an opportunity within the next like six months, but you know, we're seeing the trend of more private equity coming into the accounting space, and I think we have to understand what that means, and what the impact could be, longer term. So that's not something I would put off a year to start thinking about, I’d start thinking about it now.

And Katie, with the advisory services, you think about what's going on from a capacity standpoint. And I know several firms have had some level of turnover—they're having struggles finding and recruiting experienced professionals. And I do believe capacity has always been a topic of discussion, but over the past 18 months, I think that's much greater. And so with those advisory services, I think there's an open door here for more highly leveraged type services. So as you're thinking through capacity and profitability and how to derive revenue, I think that that's absolutely front and center for several firms.

So Katie, as we wrap up here, I'm always big on giving resources or providing resources for our listeners. What's maybe a takeaway, or something that you've learned along your journey—so maybe one or two resources, maybe a book, a podcast, maybe an association, or whatever it may be that that would be so helpful for some of our listeners that they could tap into?

I would not be where I am today, without the Association for Accounting Marketing. I have met so many great people throughout my membership there—people that I can call upon, people that are friends. They're in my phone now, like, we text each other. I know I can pick up the phone and call them.

So it's those relationships that I've built, but also the education that they do. Like there was just a webinar yesterday that I sat in, because I was like, “Oh, I can learn something from this.” So it's the education and the people in the stuff that I've met through that group.

And probably the book that changed my mind on marketing was Blue Ocean Strategy. Because what it did is, it taught, I mean, you can read like, the first chapter of the book and get the whole gist of it, but you know, it's, it's worthy, it's a worthy read to get through the whole thing. But ultimately, to sum it up, it's, you know, think about our competition as an ocean. And you and  your competitors are sharks, and if you're out there fighting each other, and the water turns red and bloody, is that the water you want to swim in? Or do you want to go to another part of the ocean where there's actually like blue pretty water? I don't know about you, but I like, I'm totally turned off by that red icky water, and I'm always looking for that blue water. And so for me as a marketer, understanding that, that there's always that blue water out there, if we can just go find it—the ocean’s a big place—was really a key turning point in my mindset as a marketer.

Katie, you're making me ready for a vacation as we talk through the thought of being around water and——Find the blue water though!

Yes, a hundred percent—I definitely don't want to swim with sharks. The blue water sounds pretty amazing, though.

And Katie, one thing with the Assocation of Accounting Marketing—not only the relationships, but it's just, you know, that's a big part of it. I love going to [their] Summit and I love developing those relationships. And it's just been so valuable. And, you know, sometimes I joke and say it's our support group, just to share and bounce ideas and what struggles, what things are you going through. And even how to encourage people to get involved on a committee, and different groups within aim, because it can be very rewarding. And it helps you give back in a way. So a hundred percent agree with the Association of Accounting Marketing.

Katie, a lot of great takeaways today and throughout our discussion. I hope our listeners—they got a lot of great value, either from a partner perspective or from a marketing professional perspective. But Katie, I know you work with a lot of firms and if someone wants to reach out to you, have a more in-depth conversation, what would be the best way to get in touch with you?

Just email me, Katie@CPAGrowthGuides.com.

Easy enough, Katie. We appreciate that.

As we wrap up here, just a few closing thoughts and a few key takeaways. I love the thought around perspective, from a firm leadership perspective, really just understanding that marketing, it is getting very specific and very similar to how our client-facing professionals operate in developing that level of expertise, and allows them to get much deeper in an area. So what are you truly trying to accomplish in looking for that right person that's a fit for your firm?

And the thought of coaching and career path—who do you assign from a coaching perspective? And in some cases, you mentioned that maybe you're not with the right coach, so how can you overcome that, and start to work with an up and comer within your firm? And I think that that can be very valuable with that thought of developing  a leader’s voice, and being very intentional about your ask, and the advocates in those relationships that you build, and getting that seat at the table—that's your time to shine. That's your opportunity to level the playing field, and be viewed as a peer and get involved with some of those big firm initiatives. And I think that that's critical for a marketing professional.

And I love the thought of self accountability. I look at it, and it can be scary on that journey. But we don't know what the next two years or what the next four years look like. But it sure seems like a great opportunity. So similar to starting your own business, this is an opportunity to create your own career path for yourself, and help guide that, and develop what that looks like. Be proactive, talk to your coach, talk to your managing partner on where and how you can bring value. My guess is that they'll be open to that. So here's where you see yourself a year from now, or maybe two years from now, maybe five years from now—how will that help guide you through these type discussions? And once again, yes, it can be scary, but it can also be very exciting.

So Katie, I appreciate all of your insight, all of your experiences, and just the willingness to help and share those thoughts with other marketers in our profession. And I do—I can tell just even talking with you today, you're very passionate about the topic. So I always appreciate it. And as always, it's great to catch up. So hopefully we can get together and chat again sometime soon.

Thanks, Heath, that was a great conversation.

Alright, take care, Katie. Thank you.

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About Katie: 

Katie Tolin is the owner and CEO of CPA Growth Guides, a company which shows accounting firms how to achieve profitable growth.

Katie strives to help CPA firms develop strategies that increase top-line revenue and increase profitability. A proven and nationally recognized marketer, Katie is taking what she successfully implemented on the job to help even more firms develop a culture of growth and to help firm leaders figure out how and where they can grow their client base. A self-proclaimed data geek, Katie uses all sorts of data to help firms determine their best growth strategies.