With David Toth
David Toth of Winding River Consulting brings his digital marketing expertise to the table in this conversation with Randy on episode 110 of The Unique CPA. David identifies the five core principles behind developing a successful digital culture that drives growth at a CPA firm amongst a plethora of other business development insights. He further touches on how important getting buy-in from people in important, decision making roles, as well as finding them “gems” within your firm that will carry on the torch in future generations.
Today, our guest is David Toth. David is the chief growth officer at Winding River Consulting. He was recently named to CPA Practice Advisor’s, “20 under 40 Influencers.” He is a guy I got to know over the last few months and really appreciate my discussions and conversations with him. So I’m looking forward to our conversation today. David, welcome to The Unique CPA.
Thank you, Randy. It was a pleasure being on stage with you a couple of weeks ago at Winning Ways in Chicago with Brandon Hall, I think that was our first chance to make sure this was gonna work today.
Well, our first chance was technically at the bar the night before when we had a couple of drinks and got to know each other even better. But no, I appreciate it, that was a fun time. That was a great group. Being on stage with you and Brandon was a lot of fun. And I’m gonna tell you, you’re a very good host on the, what did we call that? Just a Q&A, a panel discussion?
We did a panel discussion specifically talking about niche firms and Brandon Hall being Real Estate CPA and one niche, you guys obviously a tax specialty shop. So we had a great conversation for 45 minutes about the ability to niche down and how do you go to market with different strategies. You have The Unique CPA podcast, Brandon with his real estate podcast, so many different mechanisms and levers to pull, but when you’re niche, it makes it a little bit easier.
Oh yeah, I’m a huge fan of niche. I just think it’s so, and I wasn’t always—when I had my actual general accounting firm, which I merged in with someone else 16 years ago, I thought being a generalist was where it was at. But man, when I got into a niche practice, it’s just been like the ride of my life. It is so much fun and you can dig so deep into a small area rather than dig very shallow into big areas and digging deep, I think it’s just, I think it’s worth it. And really, I think you can grow your practice so much quicker that way.
Alright, so today—you are the chief growth officer. Tell me what that means. What is that? How do you define chief growth? I can’t say it, but it’s an interesting title. Apparently I can’t say it. Chief growth officer, there we go.
Sometimes chief growth strategist plays just as well as chief growth officer, but really two different hats. One is what’s Winding River doing within the profession? We’re a consulting firm that focuses in one industry, and making sure we leverage that every step of the way requires a lot of strategic thinking. So having a growth plan in place that’s strategic in nature for what Winding River needs to do going forward is one of the hats that I like to wear. And fortunately, I have a business partner that loves being involved in those conversations as well.
But then on the other side of things, what am I working and doing with our clients? And everything typically evolves around strategic growth. Strategic growth can mean M&A, can mean organic and traditional, can mean digital in many ways, shapes and forms, but it all has to tie together. And elevating that to the strategic growth level is a big part of that conversation.
So wearing two different hats, both as it relates to what’s Winding River focused on in doing,but ultimately also working with many top 400 firms in being able to drive them.
Alright, so you’re doing this, obviously, like you said, in two capacities, one for Winding River and one for all these top 400 firms that you’re dealing with. So one of the things that you mentioned there, besides M&A, and I missed one, and then digital marketing. What was that one I missed?
We have rainmakers, we have mistmakers, we have marketers, they’re all part of our growth plan.
Okay, and then digital marketing. And digital marketing, you and I talked about ahead of time, which is maybe somewhere we’re gonna concentrate on, because that seems to be a lot of the area that I see you concentrating on. So maybe give us a little breakdown of just define digital marketing, and then let’s get into how you work with firms on this.
Yeah, absolutely. If you’re under the age of 40, you’re starting your journey most likely with some sort of digital channel, whether that’s Google, whether that’s social media, whether that’s on LinkedIn, whether that’s emailing somebody that you know for a referral, go check out their website to learn more about them. The journey’s starting online. It’s starting in control of the buyer. We don’t have as much influence over that process today.
Fast forward through the pandemic, okay? All of us are consuming more online than we ever have before. Our consumer purchasing behaviors are more digital than they ever have been before. These B2C habits that everybody listening is experiencing is influencing the B2B purchasing journey. And so being aware of what that means is critical to firms going forward, because what we’ve done for the last five, 10, 20, 30 years of growth has some disruption around it.
Now, it’s not the first time that’s necessarily been the case, but in this specific situation, it’s thinking about firms primarily ran by boomers, populated by millennials, populated by Gen Z. How are we leveraging this transformation to make sure we’re not only ready for today, short-term gains, but we’re positioning ourselves for those long-term wins. And digital marketing is more than just Google and Facebook and social media and your website. There’s a culture component to it, right? It has to be something at the strategic growth level that our growth leaders and managers agree we are prioritizing as an initiative going forward.
And if all of these things start coming together, we can start prioritizing a digital strategy. And that’s really what I love being a part of, because it’s not just a marketing initiative, it’s a firm growth opportunity that many firms today are starting to prioritize.
So from a strategy standpoint, it’s not just, hey, let’s put a LinkedIn post, hey, let’s put a Twitter post, let’s do whatever. I mean, there’s a whole, here’s the game plan around this, and this is how we are going to position ourselves as a leader in this industry or a leader in this niche or a leader in this service offering. So what is the more strategic way to do this than just randomly putting posts out there?
Yeah, I mean, and that’s a great question. And I think every firm has a little bit of a different answer, a couple of different thoughts: The first is you can’t go and take an entire CPA firmand market it online all at the same time, right? “We’re a generalist,” that’s a lot of mixed messaging. How do we focus on that one audience that now might be in California when we’re out of Atlanta and convince them that you’re the best at what you do? You have to look at it from a niche perspective. If you’re trying to go to market, firm-wide, it’s really hard to connect with that high-end buyer that’s doing part of their research online where you can’t connect personalized one-on-one, right?
We’re used to doing that today, when we’re purchasing B2C goods. They know who we are, they know what we want. We get emails, we get targeted ads. I mentioned CRM, right? Maybe it’s Delta. Tomorrow, what’s gonna happen? On Facebook, I’m gonna see an ad about Delta, right? They’re listening to us, they’re personalizing it. We need to be thinking in the same way, shape, and form.
And so the way that we’re successful at doing that is thinking about niching, whether that’s geographics, whether that’s industries, verticals, service lines. If we are the best at what we do and we’re confident in how we do it and how we go about saying that, then we can be confident in developing relationships on a national scale that turn into conversations, which turn into clients.
And I think that’s a big fundamental piece. The first two questions that I’ll typically ask any firm is, are you local, regional, or national? And what areas of specialty do you use?
And if I know that you think you’re a local firm, well, can I make that argument that you’re not? You probably have comments in other states, you just haven’t used it the right way. You might have people in other states today. But the fact is, if you’re the best at arts and culture, museums, construction, manufacturing, cannabis, the people doing those searches, the people looking for the information and doing that data gathering themselves in this digital process want to know you’re the best because you’re gonna beat their local relationship that’s a generalist.
Yep. They don’t care where you are. That makes sense. And I think that’s really accelerated too in the last few years, obviously as well. You mentioned Brandon Hall. I mean, that’s a great example. He’s in niche industry, real estate, real estate investors for the most part, right?
Real estate investors, they’ve got syndicates, they’ve got some funds out there. When you look at Brandon Hall and Hall CPA or The Real Estate CPA, he’s done a couple of really unique things and the first is it’s not just about your search engines, right? It’s important to create content. It’s important to have a strategy. But as people are searching for their challenges and problems in Google, like half of America does on their cell phone today, hey Siri, can you help me find a CPA? How does somebody at a national level rank for that?
And then what other searches or mediums are you using to vet that person? Because we buy from people. People buy from people, we fire firms. And so if I’m buying from somebody that continuously is popping up under real estate, where else can I find that? Well, they have a private Facebook community. They have a blog, they have a podcast with 60,000 downloads plus. All of these things are factoring into their referral network that is helping vet them from a trust perspective. So building this community, building that personal brand, building an engine that drives traffic on an ongoing basis and then leveraging all of this data to figure out how do we get smarter going forward is truly something unique these guys have done. They’re building models from the ground up that focus on developing these relationships digitally. And in many cases it’s done through niches.
Yep, Brandon, he’s been on the podcast and he’s done a great job. And he’s got this whole goal of originally was to get to a $10 million firm. Now he’s telling me he wants to get to a $100 million firm. And obviously I would assume digital marketing is going to be a huge part of that and the digital footprint that he has.
But we’ve also had some nice growth recently and we started The Unique CPA podcast about a little over three years ago. And now we’ve jumped into some other things. So maybe give us some advice or questions. How do you see what we’re doing?
So how is the podcast going? I’d love to hear about the podcast journey. I saw somebody post an article the other day about how to get started creating a podcast. Is there a company out there that helped you along the journey? Why are you using this technology? I’d love to hear that evolution a little bit because sometimes I wake up and I’m like, “Should I start a podcast? I love chatting. I want to do it. I can’t do it repetitively.” And I think that’s a huge commitment that you have to make. So Randy, I’d love to hear a little bit more about the story.
Yeah, so just to go to the commitment, I think, and I’ve been told all the time, it has to be consistent and you have to, it can’t just be you’re releasing one here, releasing one there. And so we started out three years ago—Well, I’ll give you the background. So three and a half, four years ago, we brought in a new marketing person and she came up with this idea and I wasn’t part of the meetings. And the meeting, the idea was, hey, we’re gonna start a podcast. And so they came to me and said, hey, we’re gonna start a podcast. I said, great, you’re gonna host it. What? I don’t know anything about hosting a podcast. What are you talking about?
And so they talked to me about it like, okay, let’s give it a try. But so when we started it, I was like, we cannot be, even though we’re a niche practice, we can’t have a podcast that’s about specialty tax every other week. No one’s gonna wanna listen to that. I don’t wanna listen to that. Yeah, even though I love talking about it. And so I said, okay, so let’s just come up with an idea where I feel that people will listen to. And for me it was, I know all these people in the industry, managing partners, advisors, yourself, that just have such strong knowledge. I’m like, let’s just share people’s knowledge on public accounting, practice management, digital marketing, employee issues, whatever it is.
And so I think, and I never say it, but I think our tagline is something like “being at the forefront of the changing face of public accounting by having conversations with interesting leaders and bringing you their stories, insights and advice.” So I think part of it was just, hey, find that topic that I think will be interesting to more than just a really small niche. Anybody in public accounting, I think can get something out of this.
And so we started that three years ago. We started every other week. Just recently, about a month ago, we changed to weekly. And I think consistency, “consistent” is an issue. You have to have it. We come out every single Tuesday. If you have people that are listening, they’re going to know, oh, it’s Tuesday morning. I’m driving into the office. I can listen to The Unique CPA today. So I think that’s important. And you would probably have, I think, insights on that.
And so we did that. And now what we’re doing is we’re looking at expanding that to not just this practice management topics or whatever the topics you want to call it. We’re looking at adding a once a month, and I think we’re going to start this in January, news release, breaking news. Something’s happening in the, you know, IRS just made some major changes. The 174 capitalization—
—a firm got bought by private equity, somebody rushed in.
Yes, exactly. Well, there’s going to be a lot of that nonstop. And so that’s changing. So that’s our, I guess, the story of The Unique CPA and how it’s expanded. This isn’t about me, this is about you, but let me just go real quick. This has expanded to be more of its own brand now because The Unique CPA is not just a podcast. The Unique CPA has turned into a conference now. The Unique CPA, we’re doing webinars that monthly, one or two webinars that, you know, are more probably branded towards The Unique CPA. I’m writing articles for, you know, different journals that are under my name, but we probably should tie The Unique CPA that too, to just keep this brand going as well. So that’s our story. What do you think?
I love it. I love it. I mean, well, I think the end part was the most impactful here, is, you’re not just using this as a one trick pony. It’s part of a bigger plan. It’s part of a bigger strategy going forward. And how The Unique CPA is brought to life in association with Tri-Merit, in association with Randy Crabtree and everything that you guys are doing to help better the profession. So I think that’s a fantastic point.
Talk to me for a minute a little bit about business impact, if you can, because to me, that’s always a big question that comes up. You know, and it’s not saying, hey, we just generated, you know, 15 new clients the last 18 months or the last three years from doing all these episodes. Part of that might be, we know that our prospects are twice as sticky if they’re a podcast subscriber, right? You know, and that’s some of the intel we’re starting to peel back when we talk about being data driven. But I’d love to hear just a little bit on the business impact side.
Yeah, so I purposely, five years ago, got out of all decision making in the firm and tracking KPIs and all that stuff. And so I know little bits and pieces here. I know in the five years since I did that we’ve gone, we’re, what, eight, what are we? Probably, no, even more than that. It’s about 15 times the size we were five years ago when we started. And part of that starting was not even The Unique CPA, it was just me going out and starting to be a speaker more often at events and talking. And that kind of started that whole change.
Then last year we brought in a new marketing group department. Head of the group came in about 15, 16 months ago. He’s now built out the entire marketing department. And in that time, they just gave me some data today, you know, our website traffic’s up 51% in that time. We’ve had a bunch of growth in social media, that’s up 152% in the last year. They directly say just from marketing in the last year, there’s a half a million dollars of revenue that they can directly associate with what’s come in from marketing, the social media. And so from that standpoint, I know that’s—
That’s a half a million more than it was a year ago, I bet.
But think about digital with projecting out that information. Knowing you did 500 grand, having the data to support it, is we can make that 1.5 next year with the right plan. It doesn’t have to grow by 10% a year, right? There’s other ways and other levers to pull to compound or accelerate that growth, given the right type of data that you have.
One of the big questions I love to ask around podcasts is, how’d you come up with the name, The Unique CPA? Was it you or was that marketing?
So just before I answer that, right now, you have to host a podcast because you are doing it right now. And I love it and I appreciate it because you are good at this. And so The Unique CPA name was, I think, Dana Plotke, who was our head of marketing at that time, we were trying to figure out a name and I’m pretty sure she came up with it. And partly, I loved it. It took me a second to realize it, but I loved it because everybody is unique. And The Unique CPA is not me, although I can be lumped in with the Unique CPAs, I suppose. But The Unique CPA is, everybody has a different story. Everybody has a different way that they look at things, the way that they built their business.Everybody has this uniqueness.
And I’m a big fan of John Garrett. And I met him after we came up with that name, but John is “What’s Your ‘And?’” and everybody who’s ever listened to any episode that I’ve done knows that I’m a big fan of John Garrett. And he does that same thing. You’re unique. You have your passions outside of work. You’re not just this. And so the name, when I started saying it over and over and over, I’m like, yeah, I really like it.
The only thing that I find now that I get a little concerned about is not everybody in our industry is a CPA. And I’m like, oh, should we be The Unique Tax Preparer? The Unique… but you know what? CPA used generically and I think people understand that.
Well, I think the brand’s known. I think the brand’s getting to be known. There’s an association between Tri-Merit, and more importantly, in my opinion, there’s association with you, right? And so that’s this whole idea going back to the personal brand, the firm brand. There’s more overlap today than there ever has been before because of these digital channels. And people buy from people that they trust, and they fire firms. And it goes back to this idea that people trust you.
So let’s talk about that because going back to Brandon or going back to, I don’t know if you know Josh Lance and Josh Lance, you know Josh?
I don’t know Josh personally. We’re chatting, I think in a couple of weeks, there’s a few people, yeah.
Okay, so yeah, Josh is a niche and he is craft breweries, but he’s also big on social media and digital marketing. And so he’s kind of the face of their marketing. I’m guessing Brandon is as well. And honestly, I am for Tri-Merit as well, the face of it. So do you think it makes sense when you’re doing this to have that face of your digital marketing or should it be more the firm or both?
Great question. I would say it has to be a person.
Okay? We’re used to developing relationships on digital channels with people and not just brands. And so when you’re talking professional services, there’s a big overlap there. When you’re talking CPG and B2C, it’s more brand-related. But when we talk about hiring a CPA, yes, I’m hiring a firm that’s local, but more importantly is I’m hiring this person because they’re at that firm, right?
And so that personal brand is critical. The question becomes, what does that look like in five to ten years from now? How do I get more personalities or brands involved? And I think one of Brandon’s challenges specifically has been that transitioning and finding the right partners within his firms to also have that face. Now he does have somebody, Tom, who’s really taking over a lot of that activity, but it is a really hard thing to do and find.
This brings up one of my more favorite things to talk about when we address digital, which is digital culture.
Okay? I believe there’s five core principles to digital culture. And a lot of times, these are the things that are missing to really make digital elevated to the strategic growth level, to make it be part of the executive committee, the management partner’s goals for that next given year. Because if marketing’s over here doing digital, and leadership’s over here focusing on these three industries and bringing in a practice leader to grow this niche, but we’re not privy to that, we’re going in different directions, right? So we have to have that elevated. If we know our number one goal is to hire 50 people next year, and you have to dig really hard on your website to find that information, there’s no alignment, right?
So when we talk about digital culture, there’s five core principles. The first is leadership buying. Do we have the managing partner? Do we have the executive committee on board willing to commit to making this a firm priority going forward? Sometimes that’s in our quarterly update meetings, firm-wide, what have we done? What are we doing? How are we investing in content? Why are we doing this? And how are we creating transparency around those activities? Digital’s fast, it’s agile, it’s nimble, it’s transparent. We have to be able to have buy-in at the leadership level.
The second is team commitment. If you’re at a firm with seven different industries, three different service lines, a couple different advisory practices, right? You can’t just assume that, okay, let’s get marketing going. No, you have to have a team committed. You have to have the practice leaders of those niches that you’re trying to focus on be willing to invest time and have people below them to invest time. There’s an opportunity cost. You’re going to have to give something else up in order to start investing more into digital as a revenue driver.
The third piece is common vocabulary. You go into a partner meeting, you go into a room with your colleagues and you ask everybody in that room, what’s a lead? You’re gonna get a lot of different answers unless you’ve addressed this. And when you start looking at digital as a pipeline, a lead is a critical term to understand. Lead doesn’t mean it’s ready to be pressed onto that practice leader yet. We still have to vet that. Now qualified lead might, right? If you don’t have that vocabulary figured out firm-wide, then it’s gonna be a big challenge trying to introduce new channels that are a little bit disruptive at times.
The fourth piece is advancing confidence. How are we educating the firm? How are we educating those that are a part of this and our partners around them to understand what success needs to look like, what we’re trying to ultimately achieve? What is SEO? What is social media? Why is LinkedIn so important today? Because everybody goes to Google and they’re gonna find two things, your website and your LinkedIn profile.
They are. You’re right.
They gotta beat the competition.
I searched you today and that’s what happened. Not that I needed to search you because I know everything about you, but I did and you’re right. That’s like the second thing that popped up was LinkedIn.
And then the fifth thing is you can’t measure new tactics with old metrics. You gotta look at new ways, new metrics, new KPIs to know that you’re moving in the right direction. So I think this digital culture thing is something that we skip sometimes in the strategic growth process when it comes to introducing something that we know we need to do is going to be a significant impactor for us going forward. How do we start? How do we prioritize? Where do we go from here? It’s overwhelming, but knowing that you have this digital culture plan in place with core principles ensures that, hey, six months down the road, somebody on your executive committee says, “I don’t wanna use that writer. It’s gonna cost me 400 bucks for a blog article.”
Right? Well, wait a second. If you start having that attitude on the executive committee, how does that trickle down to the rest of the firm? It means you’re not understanding the strategy, they’re not bought in,, and those are the types of things that can set back significant investments, times and resources, as it relates to being strategic and how we go forward.
So I know you guys, on your end, you wouldn’t be doing The Unique CPA if you didn’t have a culture that embraced digital, that embraced growth. I don’t know what your thoughts are on it at all, or what journey you guys have gone through, because I’m sure in three years of doing this podcast, there’s been some hiccups, challenges, and people raising questions, “Is it worth our time?”
So if there’s been any people who are questioning, they don’t let me know. So, because we invest a lot in this. I mean, we spent a lot putting the podcast together. We spent a lot putting the conference that we just had December of ’22 together. I mean, the dollars we spend on this digital marketing is not small. We had one person marketing department 15 months ago. We’re about to hire our fifth person into marketing.
And so, yeah, we’re fully committed to this. And then in that same time, I mean, we probably are gonna bill, I think, $12 million more this year than we did last year. So even though marketing said, hey, we can directly say it’s a half million. Well, we went from 18 million in billing last year to 30 million in billing this year. That’s a lot to do with that, I think, increase the marketing department as well.
And I wanna address one thing that you said, because finding, and this has been a concern of mine. If I’m the face of Tri-Merit and our marketing, I’m 60 years old, I’m not gonna do this forever, although I’m having the time of my life. And so I’ll keep doing it until I’m not having fun, but who is going to do this? And I think that’s important. And I’m glad that Brandon has somebody identified and that you agree that that’s something that we need to do, so.
So important. When you look at those practices, if you’re gonna dive down into a digital strategy here, a campaign or initiative and you pick the industries, yes, it’s important from a business decision perspective at the leadership level, it’s a priority for the firm next year. But then you gotta make sure you have the right people in place to execute all of this, right? And what does that succession look like going forward to make sure we have some young and up-and-comers that say, hey, I wanna be a digital champion. Will you give me some tools and resources in order to be able to do that?
One of the ways that we found some success within firms in trying to identify that person is by using and leveraging LinkedIn. Let’s run a program. Let’s do a webinar, 45 minutes, anybody at the manager level or director level and above is invited. If you attend this webinar for 45 minutes, we’ll pay for your LinkedIn premium for six months at the firm level. It’s about 40 bucks a month, so it’s $250 roughly, right? It’s good value. Those that attend the webinar then go to marketing and say, I wanna do this, right, are starting to indicate they’re interested in devoting more time towards getting the firm to support them digitally, right?
So during that process, during those six months, can marketing or other people in leadership start vetting out, hey, this person’s actually got some lines here, right? How can we invest and double down on somebody that may not have, we thought traditionally could be on the path to partnership in a way that we’re not used to seeing or experiencing? So I find that really, really interesting to figure out how can we identify those people, maybe not more than one or two in a 150 person firm are gonna raise their hands and say yes.
But if it’s one or two, maybe it’s the next Brandon Hall or the next Aaron Mink or the next Josh Lance, right? We don’t wanna lose those people. We gotta find them and we gotta hold onto them and figure out how to invest in them.
Yep, no, I think that’s important. Alright, so this has been great information, but I know you’ve got a lot more to share. Anything we missed that you wanna highlight yet?
There’s one thing that I think that’s most important and I get to ask this question more often than not. What’s the average deal size of an inbound lead? Are the high net worth individuals really the ones that we can be targeting using digital marketing or digital strategies? And my answer is twofold and usually it’s yes. And if it’s not the actual decision maker, it’s everybody around him influencing his decision that is part of that journey or process. But the average deal isn’t three, four, five thousand dollars anymore. We have firms doing fifty, sixty thousand dollar, 100% organic, deals coming in through their website.
I have one firm that received a $500,000 audit, totally organic through their website. You’re not just looking at three to five thousand dollar, mom and pop shop types of deals. It’s becoming larger, it’s becoming more influential. McKinsey supports that data. And I think it’s important that we realize that’s not going away, it’s only accelerating and it’s not a flick of a switch type of solution either.
So, I’m sure you guys have seen some mixed results, low, medium, high, but to me, it’s important to know that there are firms generating significant dollars, creating proof of concept and now figuring out how to scale that growth even faster.
And let me ask you about that 500,000. Is that a niche practice? Is there a niche service that that came in with?
It was for a specific niche within the firm. I don’t think they were running a campaign necessarily to say, hey, we’re trying to generate this type of pipeline.
I think it was the opposite. It’s, oh my God, we just closed one or two deals, one for 500 grand, one for over 100 grand. We need to know what’s going on here. We need to know how to get more of this, right? That’s what piqued their interest in that specific case. So to me, I think that you’re going to find it based on your firm where you can fit and find those niches. And that’s kind of the benefits of having a CPA firm with multiple industries today. You can find those niches, right? But it’s part of a bigger firm. It’s a over a hundred million dollar plus firm.
I figured it was a bigger firm, but like you just said, yeah, smaller firm, you may have one or two niches. Bigger firm doesn’t mean you’re not a niche firm still. You just are big enough that you can have five, six, seven, ten niches, and you have a passionate leader on top of each of those niches and then market those niches themselves.
I know a top 20 firm that only considers it a niche when it’s doing over $70 or $80 million in revenue a year.
So it’s like, whoa, wait a second. You know, like that’s the size of most firms, right?
But I was like, wow, that’s interesting. It’s good to know. But I was like, that’s significant.
I have another, I had one of the first guests I ever had on the podcast, and now we’re going on tangents here, but they’re a decent sized firm. They’re not a hundred million dollar firm, but they were, I think at the time, like three years ago, they were 30 million, maybe 40 million, whatever the number was. But they don’t get into any offering, they don’t get into any niche, without having somebody that’s passionate about that industry coming to him and say, hey, I want to start our trucking niche, or I want to start this. And that’s the only way they do it. But again, like we said at the beginning, you start a niche with something you’re passionate about. It’s a lot easier to be out doing your social media market and that, because your passion comes through. So I think that’s huge.
Well, Randy, listen, this has been just truly a blast. I love having our conversations. I know we could both go on for hours, but I really appreciate the opportunity to be on The Unique CPA today.
You got it. And I’m going to ask you one last question, or two last questions. The first is, we is The Unique CPA because everybody is unique. And so what are your passions outside of being the strategic growth leader of Winding River?
Passion, I have two, I have three passions. My kids, I have a six and a four-year-old boy. They’re a blast. They are one of my joys every day, I get to be a part of. The second is food. I love cooking. I’ve got every kind of tool you can think of from smokers to griddles to sous vides to pizza ovens. I love cooking. It’s a great way to get away from everything and play around with different ingredients. And I’m a boater. I grew up boating, lived on a boat for a long time, different waves. And those are kind of some of my passions that I’m hoping to pass on to my kids, but love to get away and do it. I don’t know, I’d love to hear yours. I think craft beer is one of yours.
It is, craft beer is one of mine for sure. Watching our kids be successful in their careers right now, they’re in their 20s, is just unbelievably fun.
And then travel, my wife and I. In fact, we are two weeks away from heading Southwest for two and a half months and working in warm weather for tax season. So now people will understand we’re recording this before tax season. But yeah, so those are a few of mine. I can come up with plenty others. Honestly, I just love seeing people that work with me grow in their knowledge and what they’re doing. And we don’t lose people. And so it’s just fun to see that as well. That’s a passion.
But alright, last thing then: If people wanna hear more, see more contact with you, how would they get ahold of you?
Great question: WindingRiverConsulting.com, DToth@WindingRiverConsulting.com. You know, that’s a lot of great information on there. One thing that we did start this past year was called our Digital Deep Dive Summit. [It’ll be our third year in 2024, April 3 and 4 in Atlanta]. CMOs, CGOs, directors of marketing, any growth leader that’s impacted or involved with digital. It’s a day and a half event, digitaldeepdive.org.
That’s another great thing kind of coming up on our end. But check out WindingRiverConsulting.com. We have a lot of great content and resources out there.
Well, great, David. It was awesome having you on here. Great, great, great conversation as always. And maybe I’ll see you in a couple days when I’m in Cleveland.
Yeah, let me know! I’ll be here.
About the Guest
David Toth serves as the Chief Growth Strategist for Winding River Consulting, and he built his marketing and growth expertise around a strong digital comprehension. Understanding the importance of data, he reasoned, should guide each step of the process, using informed decision making to adapt when and where necessary. He is a strategic thinker and believes the path to successful outcomes includes integrating technology with tried-and-true practices. As David sees it, when it comes to digital transformation there will always be new dots to connect.
David has served as an outsourced CMO, agency executive, and business advisor for organizations in sectors from fast-growing start-ups to well established Fortune 500 companies. David is a 2008 graduate of Miami University of Ohio with a BA in Political Science and a minor in entrepreneurship. He received the Miami University 2008 Entrepreneur of the Year award, was selected as one of 10 to Watch by Cleveland Magazine in 2019 and one of 12 under 36 Difference Makers by Cleveland Jewish News, 2020. Currently, David sits as Vice Chair on the Engage Cleveland board of directors and has been civically involved in the Northeast Ohio community for over 10 years.
Meet the Host
Randy Crabtree, CPA
Randy Crabtree, co-founder and partner of Tri-Merit Specialty Tax Professionals, is a widely followed author, lecturer and podcast host for the accounting profession.
Since 2019, he has hosted the bi-weekly “The Unique CPA,” podcast, which ranks among the world’s 5% most popular programs (Source: Listen Score). You can find articles from Randy in Accounting Today’s Voices column, the AICPA Tax Adviser (Tax-saving opportunities for the housing and construction industries) and he is a regular presenter at conferences and virtual training events hosted by CPAmerica, Prime Global, Leading Edge Alliance (LEA), Allinial Global and several state CPA societies. Crabtree also provides continuing professional education to top 100 CPA firms across the country.
Schaumberg, Illinois-based Tri-Merit is a niche professional services firm that specializes in helping CPAs and their clients benefit from R&D tax credits, cost segregation, the energy efficient commercial buildings deduction (179D), the energy efficient home credit (45L) and the employee retention credit (ERC).
Prior to joining Tri-Merit, Crabtree was managing partner of a CPA firm in the greater Chicago area. He has more than 30 years of public accounting and tax consulting experience in a wide variety of industries, and has worked closely with top executives to help them optimize their tax planning strategies.