Is it a good idea to hire a marketing intern or assistant for my accountancy firm?


In a word, yes.

First, the more marketing support your accountancy firm can get the better.

It is still rare for accountancy firms to have a ‘marketing department’. If they do, it consists of 1-3 people who follow the old school, conservative, “we’ve always done it this way” marketing tactics, and they’re resistant to new ideas. (This is in the larger accountancy firms. Smaller and medium sized firms often have nothing at all by way of a marketing team) So, hiring an intern or an assistant can be an indication that you’re willing to start building this team – great job!

Second, it’s very likely this person will be young and keen and hungry.

You need that in your accountancy firm, especially when it comes to marketing. You need someone who’s so interested in Facebook ads that they stay up late at night watching videos about it and trying different ad versions. Someone who has heard of a great new way to create GIFs and they’d like to try it. Someone who has a ton of energy and enthusiasm and only needs a place to exercise it.

Third, no matter what you outsource (or do yourself), there is always a lot of detail work that piles up, and someone needs to do it.

Most likely all your other team members are already swamped with accountancy work, and I’m willing to bet that your receptionist or administrative assistant is also busy, and that they have a tried and tested way of doing things. So trying out crazy new marketing schemes might not be too appealing (and it might get shifted to the bottom of the marketing pile, or never actioned at all).

The accountancy firms who come to us for outsourced marketing work often do so because up until now they haven’t really done any at all, and they need to start somewhere. We tend to focus our efforts for these firms on content generation, design work, website building, social media posting. The big stuff. But someone still needs to set up the Mailchimp account and tidy up the database and segment the CRM system and organise the photographer and all the thousand and one things that need doing, and no one has time to do them.

Fourth, this person can liaise between your firm and your outsourced marketing team.

You would think that we wouldn’t want you to hire anyone internally for marketing, because then you don’t need us. Oddly enough that’s not quite how it works out. The more you outsource, the more you discover you need to do internally – or better yet, you want to do internally. We love it when firms come to us for some elements of their marketing, and do some of it themselves, and involve the team for some, and it all comes together in a continuous stream of good marketing.

Some firms grow with us until they hire a full time marketing team; others involve their team members in content marketing and social media, and shift our outsourced work to another area; still others do all their own marketing but sign their team members up for our group programmes.

Fifth, there are some tasks which are easier done on the ground.

If you’re running an event, it’s extremely valuable having an intern to phone or visit venues, talk to suppliers about printed materials, or sending incoming emails to the right people. When Carpenter Box ran their first BITE event in 2015, their marketing team did some of the on-the-ground work, and we did all the graphic design and brainstorming a name for the event and preparing emails and building the website. Now that they’re running BITE 2017, they were able to use all that initial marketing work and adapt it for a second run.

If you’re wondering what kind of skills this person needs to have, here are a few we’d suggest:

  • An enthusiastic, hungry attitude: Someone who loves marketing and is excited to try new things.
  • Tech-savvy: Able to pick up anything online quickly and easily – and keen to try new systems
  • Basic Microsoft office, Google Drive, etc skills (or whatever systems of preference you use)
  • Admin & editing: Proofreading, formatting, and editing – ideally this is a detail orientated person who will catch the little things.
  • Email/Mailchimp/CRM: Capable of quickly learning whatever email system you have
  • Some graphic design: Able to use Canva, design simple email templates, create images or GIFs for social, resize imagery, etc
  • Website editing: Usually WordPress, but whatever website platform you have, the ability to make edits to pages, publish blogs, replace images, etc
  • Reporting: Able to put together simple reports on key numbers such as Google Analytics, social media followers, number of proposals and quotes and prospects and clients, etc

That’s a decent list, and not every assistant or intern will have all of those skills. But the more of those they have, the more likely it is they will be a support to you and to the firm.

Next week we’ll look at how to manage this person – or indeed any marketing person at your accountancy firm. But first, go ahead and bring in that intern or assistant. Let them try things, and let them save you time.

Oh – and here’s our suggestion for the accountant’s “marketing team journey”!

accountant marketing team