Successful marketing and sales approaches with Gary Kravitz
Randy talks with Gary Kravitz, longtime consultant and marketing professional, startup entrepreneur, and current partner with Integrated Growth Advisors, about the strategies CPAs can use to drive business to their practice.
Today, our guest is Gary Kravitz. Gary has spent the majority of his career helping accounting firms optimize their marketing strategies and internal operations. In 1993, he co-founded The Profit Advisors, a business consulting firm that trained accounting firms to maximize their profit potential. In 2001, he co-founded BizActions, and grew that into one of the largest digital newsletters and web marketing providers for accounting firms. BizActions was acquired by Thomson Reuters in 2012, and Gary stayed on as the national sales manager until 2018. He is currently advising CPA firms and sales operations through Integrated Growth Advisors. Gary, welcome to the show.
So did I miss anything on my intro there?
You’ve been in this industry, at least from an advisory standpoint, for quite a while. I have known of you—maybe not by name—but through your businesses, through BizActions, and probably Profit Advisors as well. We recently met last week. Dan McMahon, who you work with at Integrated Growth Advisors, had been on the podcast a few weeks back, and he mentioned that he thought it’d be a very interesting conversation to talk with you. When I started looking at your background—I agree completely! And in that background, starting back with The Profit Advisors, can you give me some background on that, how that came about? Maybe then even, go into BizActions, because that’s where between those two I think a lot of people have heard of you before.
Sure. Well, my two partners were Barry Schimmel and Barry Friedman. Barry Schimmel was managing partner of a CPA firm in Rockville, Maryland. He got disenchanted with basic public accounting and thought he could do more in helping businesses to grow. I kind of fell into his orbit when he was forming a company—sold his CPA practice—and we formed the profit advisors in ’92, ’93. Essentially, our practice was twofold: We worked and helped businesses to become more conscious of their profitability—we broke it down into component parts of things that needed to be examined—and we helped to put together a process in which the managers and owners of a firm would identify profit opportunities, and then we helped them to implement those things and it was all measurable and manageable.
[bctt tweet=”We recognized that CPA firms couldn’t write any content on their own, so we came up with the idea of maximizing and matching content—which we wrote.” username=”TriMerit”]
But that was one side where we worked with, you know, lots and lots of different companies. The other side of it was working with accounting firms. We actually had a venture partner with Alan Colton from Practice Development Institute, and we license our methodology to Alan and his group—they actually sold it to various accounting firms throughout the country, and then Barry Schimmel and I actually went around the country. We trained hundreds of accounting firms on how to utilize that process with their own client base.
So this started then with Alan Colton. I mean—you were advising firms already, but is that how you got into advising more on the CPA this side of things, was through Alan?
Yeah, that’s how we got on the CPA side. We were actually already working with other firms. But we got in touch with working with Alan—that’s how we started releasing what we did to the accounting profession.
Essentially, we did that for a number of years. And let’s just say that I was a “lengthy road warrior”. We were on the road all the time, consulting and training, working with firms all over the US, and we just got tired of traveling! So we were just doing some brainstorming, and we figured one of the things that we came up with was that CPA firms have difficulty in marketing. The internet was just coming of age, digital marketing was coming around, and we were one of the very first firms to come up with the idea of an email newsletter—I think we were even before Constant Contact with email newsletters.
But what differentiated us is that we also recognized that CPA firms could never write any content on their own, so we came up with the idea of maximizing and matching content—which we wrote. And we had writers that did that, with technology that we developed, merging that together and really coming up with a business development system, utilizing email marketing for accounting firms.
It was so unique that we were able to actually, with a CPA firm, they would tell us basically some of the demographics of the kind of clients that they had, and we would help them target-deliver the kinds of content that they would deliver to those clients. And then on the back end, we were actually able to measure what their clients were looking at, and we could give that insight back in a dashboard to the partners of the firm, so that they could then better service their clients.
Like for example, if they would see that a client was interested in estate planning, and was reading a lot of articles on estate planning, but they weren’t doing any services like that, we would give the kind of the measurement to that partner in charge of that client and maybe suggest, “Hey, have you thought about doing estate planning services?”
Right. All right, that makes sense. So that obviously went well, Thomson Reuters seemed to like it, and then what, in 2012 they got involved? Is that what happened?
Yeah, they actually started in 2011, talking to us. They approached us the year before, and we said no, and then they approached us a year later and made the proverbial offer you couldn’t refuse—and so we said, yes. My other couple of partners retired, and they brought me in to head up the group. They had actually acquired Alan Colton’s company, and they merged the two groups together. I headed up that group within Thompson, and had a fleet of salespeople around the country that marketed and sold that group.
[bctt tweet=”If we saw their client was interested in estate planning, but they weren’t doing any services like that, we would suggest, “Hey, have you thought about doing estate planning services?”” username=”TriMerit”]
And that one’s still going strong today, right? Did they change the name of that?
It was called Checkpoint Marketing for Firms.
Okay, Checkpoint Marketing. I know they got Checkpoint Learning and Checkpoint Research, so everything’s got the Checkpoint name, apparently.
So you stayed with Thomson Reuters till ’18, I think you took a little time off. But then, as of October of last year, you joined in with Integrated Growth Advisors, and now you’re advising CPA firms on sales operations, correct?
Before we get to that, then—and I mentioned this to you, I think at the beginning—sales, to me, and you told me, this has been going on forever. So anything I say here is probably not news to anybody—but sales, to me, with accounting firms, having a background in public accounting, it just always seemed like such a strange, strange thing that you had to be a salesperson and be able to do accounting at the same time and tax at the same time. Just that whole, in general CPAs—and I hear this all the time from CPAs. I know that CPAs don’t like to be sold to, which makes me think they don’t like to sell either. And I’m guessing that’s the case, because the way I look at it is education.
So now dealing with CPA firms, and having these years of resistance to different sales techniques, how do you go out and help them set up these operations—to be a successful firm? Obviously, you need to bring in new business. So what is today’s role that you’re doing with CPAs?
Well, first of all, I think you would agree, no one goes into the CPA profession to become a salesperson, but there’s a role for every person in a CPA firm. Sales, now, obviously, there’s going to be a few people who are the rainmakers that are very comfortable with going out making presentations and closing business, but then there’s everybody else, that can be in a supporting role.
So this is the thing in you just said that you don’t go into public accounting to go into sales. Most people don’t. I know some people in public accounting that are just unbelievable at bringing in business—that’s just their role. In fact, I’ve had some on this podcast, but to me, it’s not the norm. So if I’m a new, young guy in a CPA firm, I know to become partner eventually, I have to have this book of business, and how am I going to get this book of business? I’m gonna have to bring in business. And so how do I go do that? I mean, if I’m not—I don’t have that sales personality—and I don’t look at myself as a salesperson. I bring in business now, but I don’t look at that, and I never would have when I started in public accounting. How do you get past that? How do you start to get comfortable with being somebody that can bring in business?
Well, I think, first of all, there’s going to be people in a CPA firm, no matter how hard they try— they’re never going to be salespeople. I think that really determines—when partner track people who can bring in business, and can be rainmakers, are going to be more inclined to be on a partner track. And of course, there’ll be technical oriented partners as well. But I don’t think there’s the expectation; there’s the hope that they’re going to bring in business, but the reality is that they’re probably not
Right. And that’s the part that confuses me, because you could be the greatest technician in the world. I mean, if you can’t bring in business, does that mean you’re not going to be partner? And that’s probably a question for another day. I know that’s not the case. I know things are—at least today—analyzed different. But going back to that sales opportunity, how do I get comfortable with that then?
Let’s take it to a couple simplistic things. First of all, let’s say that a partner has—that they’re not necessarily a great salesperson—but they have a book of business. Or even a technical partner that has a book of business, okay? I would venture that if you go through your client base, there’s a percentage of your clients that are not taking advantage of all the services that that firm provides that they might need. So there’s a tremendous amount of business development opportunities, just going back to the well, to your existing client base. And again, this isn’t new. The same things were said 30 years ago. But it’s true today. If you go, if you have 100 clients, I bet you could find 10 clients and have a service need that you’re not providing. If you just ask.
That’s for sure. I thought you’d probably touch on that, because that’s always a great opportunity— to bring in, especially if you have a great relationship with this client, and you have additional services you’re not offering them, bring them in.
[bctt tweet=”No one goes into the CPA profession to become a salesperson, but there’s a role for every person in a CPA firm.” username=”TriMerit”]
Let’s back up for a second. So we talked about the sales process, and you and I talked a little bit offline at the beginning. You try to back into that—if somebody comes to you and says, “Hey, I want a million dollars in new business,” as the sales operations advisor, what’s your process? How do you go through that with them?
Well, I think you’ve got to basically look at its component parts. So first of all, you have to say, Okay, so let’s say you want a million dollars, where do you want it just to come out of the sky? Or do you have particular practice areas? Do you want it in particular industries? Do you want it in particular services? So break it down to the component parts of, “Okay, I want to get X number of dollars for manufacturing, X number of dollars from not-for-profit, X number of dollars from construction, or maybe I do 401k audits, I want to get a certain amount from that, or other peripheral services.” So let’s break it down into what growth areas you want within the firm.
And then from within there, figure out what is the average size of your transaction, of an engagement? If it’s, if it’s $30,000, or $10,000, or whatever the number is, then determine how many of those engagements you have to have to hit that number. Maybe it you have to bring in five new manufacturing clients.
Okay, so now you got to look at, “Who’s going to make the sales calls?” How are you going to get that? It could be that a certain number of them—and this is something that accountants are really bad at, going to your existing clients and asking, “Who can you recommend or suggest in your industry that might be a good contact?” I mean, this is common sense stuff that unfortunately, not everybody does, because they never take the time to do it.
So you might be able to get five meetings with potential prospects just by asking your existing clients, who are happy and satisfied, to refer someone. So you’ve got to figure out, “How many opportunities do I have to get in front of in order to close five new clients?”
It’s going to be based on the typical closure rates of partners, it can be based on where you can get leads from. And if you can’t get leads, how are you going to go about getting those leads? Are you going to have a marketing campaign? Are you going to identify maybe a group of a hundred manufacturers in your geographic area that you’re going to start marketing to? And what’s the message?
And as part of the messaging, there’s tons of accountants out there. They’re going to say “We do great work for a manufacturer. What differentiates you?” if you were talking to a manufacturing client? Why should they consider you versus anybody else? And what do you bring to the table that they would even want to consider leaving their present provider? What can you do above and beyond somebody that they’re already working with?
So these are all the questions you need to be asked down to the point of, “Okay, now, how do you get in front of them?” A typical CPA does not like to make cold calls, so somebody’s got to make the calls to get the appointments to get you in front of them. The other problem with CPAs, they have a tendency—they realize that they got a meeting with a new prospect, and they decide that they’re thinking about the meeting five minutes before they walk in the door. That doesn’t work, either.
So what kind of preparation? How do you go and prepare? What information do you need to find out, and what questions you need to ask, and what should be the process? What happens in many cases with a CPA, when they go into these meetings, they spend—it’s the 8020 rule—they spend 80% of the time talking and 20% of the time listening, and it should be the reverse: 20% asking questions, and 80% listening.
What I like to look at is, you’re basically going in there to try what I call gap analysis. It’s trying to figure out where that firm is, where they want to get to, and trying to identify what’s holding them back from getting there, and asking questions. Then really, we want to uncover the pain and establish and justify a cost of that pain and how our CPA firm can help your firm move forward to get past that to be more profitable, effective and productive.
Right. So it’s not necessarily just your elevator pitch—which you heard. The problem is, I don’t think people in general want to read two pages of information on you if you send them something—they’re not going to. So I think you have to be concise in that. I would assume you agree on your message?
But then it can’t be generic either. Because like you just said, You need to find their pain. Everybody’s pain is not the same, so you need to be prepared to listen—you said that as well. And have the answers that they need. Correct?
Okay. And then, a couple things that you said, asking for those referrals, I think—and again, as a CPA, I always think everybody thinks like me, which they don’t. I’m sure everybody has their own thought process. But I get so hung up on the education aspect of things, “Okay, I just educated this person. All right, I know what they need. They’ve told me, now I’m gonna educate them and tell them how they can get there, and what I can help them with.” But half the time I forget to say, “Do you have five clients?” You’ve got to ask for the sale on top. It’s like, you can’t just say, “Okay, I’ve educated them, I’m good to go.” Am I uncommon with that? Or is that a common thing, forgetting to ask for the sale?
I think that that’s very common that they want to let nature run its course, but it doesn’t happen automatically. You have to—when you’re sitting down, if you’re a manager, or a technical partner, when you’re sitting in front of one of your clients, I use a firm term called “reframing.” You know, you don’t want to just come out and ask it. Instead say, “Hey, you know, Joe, we’ve been working with you for ten years, you seem to like our work. Our firm is in a growth spurt right now, and we depend upon the best sources of us growing, is finding satisfied referrals from clients that are happy working with us. Could you help us? Who do you know, that is similar to you, that might be a good candidate in the manufacturing arena, for us to go and speak with on your recommendation?”
Right. And if you’ve showed them, if you work with them, if you’ve given them good service, they’re obviously going to be more than happy to refer you to other people. So that’s part of it as well. You’ve got to make sure your services there, but I’m sure every firm is doing that.
This this topic is such—I have a hard time wrapping my brain around the whole sales aspect of things because in my mind, it’s the, “Okay, you join this group of this manufacturing association, you get to know people in there and you educate them there. But it’s so easy to look at your existing clients, I think you said—and not only see what else you can do for them, but what else you can ask for referrals from them.
So I cut you off on that. You were helping us go through that process, identifying the number of clients we need to contact and where do we leave off on that?
I think always, don’t wing it when you go in those meetings. In other words, be prepared—who’s coaching the partner to make sure that he or she is doing the right component things when they’re going to that meeting.
The other key thing of a meeting is all too often, CPAs have a meeting, they think it’s great, and they don’t get a next step. So I’m very big on the word “continuance.” “Qualification” and “continuance.” “Qualification” is making sure that you have a viable candidate, and “continuance” is that you have a bonafide next step. Now I like to use the analogy of when I’m on a sales call. I’m like an orchestra director or a director of a stage play.
All too often what happens is, you go into a meeting, and somebody says, “Well, this has been a good meeting. I’ll give you a call—I’ll get back to you in a couple weeks, and I’ll let you know what we’re going to do.” Well, that doesn’t cut it, okay? You got to ask the questions, basically, “Hey, if I met your expectations, has this been a good meeting? Okay, so what are the next steps that we need to do to carry this thing in the evaluation process forward, so you can determine if, if we could be a viable resource for your firm?”
Right. That seems like it seems like a no brainer, but I’m not sure everybody thinks that way. So that’s why we need you to advise us on this!
[bctt tweet=”If you’ve showed them, if you work with them, if you’ve given them good service, that client is obviously going to be more than happy to refer you to other people.” username=”TriMerit”]
Yeah. Another point to make with this is that I had a mentor many, many years ago, and he taught me that the most successful salespeople are able to determine who not to spend their time on.
Right. Yeah, that makes sense.
Because the most viable, valuable non recurring asset that we have is time, and we all have been guilty of chasing firms that we’re never ever, ever going to be able to go and close. So you have to know when you reach a point—basically when I’m on a sales call, I want to know one of two things: I want to know whether I can move the sale forward, or it’s not a viable opportunity, and we both don’t waste either of our times.
And it’s—do you ask them that? Come out and just say, “Hey, is this something that you think we can help you with? Can we help you with this? Or is this not something that you’re looking to get done? How do you—how do you determine that?
Well, I would basically ask them even something so simple as, “Hey, we talked about a lot of things—now I realize your firm has a process to evaluate and make a final decision, but let’s just say right now, if you were the sole decision maker right now, and you had to decide yes or no, on what we talked about, what would your decision be?
And if they say, “Yes, that this is great,” then say, “Okay, now let’s talk about the steps we need to do to convince others in your firm. If they say no, then it’s “That’s okay, so share with me—what is it that we missed in our discussion so far, that would lead you to that decision?”
I think CPAs in general think that would be an uncomfortable situation, maybe, and it’s not—it’s easy enough. You’re just being honest. “Share with me, what we’ve learned today. You’ve learned from me, and now I’d like to learn from you.” That’s, I think, great advice.
It just seems, again, this whole sales and public accounting thing, just is an odd dichotomy for years, and it has to be done. That’s why we need people that will have the sense to do the right thing like you to be out there advising us. I appreciate that!
One thing I want to ask is, today’s world’s a little different. You and I are sitting on a Zoom call, which we probably would’ve always done it this way. But a lot more sales and meetings have gone to virtual, and it’s not as easy to travel across the country for meetings and that. Has there been anything that you’ve been working on that you’ve had to advise your CPA contacts with, on how to change how you get new business in the pandemic?
Well, first of all, I gotta mention that I’ve been working virtually since 2001.
Alright, there you go.
We were one of the trendsetters in it, because we woke up one day, and realized that a lot of the technical people were all over the country. We had an opportunity to sell the office space that we were in, and we said, “Hey, do we want to rent more space? Why should we?” So we created a totally virtual infrastructure, what, 19 years ago, with BizActions, and it was just incredibly successful.
We had sales people around the country, and let me put it this way: If you had a salesperson that had to go and drive around in a metropolitan area, or in a region, they’d be lucky if they could get one or two appointments a day, I had salespeople that were able to book four to six appointments a day. You do the math!
I think you were well ahead of and I think more firms are going to be going that way. And honestly, I love getting in front of the CPA firms I deal with, I love going to see them, I love educating them, like I keep saying. But I’ve determined—found out in this new world we live in, I don’t have to do that. I don’t have to fly over 100,000 miles a year anymore to be out in front of people. That’ll continue—there will be some going forward. But I think that makes less sense, and that’s something you’ve advised people on for years, then, it sounds like.
Yeah, I think look, there’s a place and time that you need to meet people. And I’ve certainly gone to tons of conferences in my time, I’ve done tons of public presentations—speeches and things are a great way for people to get to see you in person and get to know you. But I think with a day in day out, you can be far more effective doing it virtually, because again—it’s just by sheer geography you can’t get in front of enough people by driving around or being on airplanes, and sales is a numbers game. The more people you’re in front of the higher propensity you have—a better chance of being able to close business.
Well, that goes back into your whole “Hey, you’re looking to grow business in this area. How many meetings do you have to have to get—each engagement’s worth 20 grand for you and you want a million dollars in business? How do you get to there?” I guess it’s a lot easier if you’re sitting in your office and at home or at the office rather than sitting on a plane and hotels a majority of the time. So that makes a lot of sense, and I think that’s going to be more what’s going on.
Alright, so I jumped us around quite a bit there. I didn’t know if there was anything you wanted to end on that whole process that I kept interrupting you on before we move on to something else.
Well, let me just kind of give like a little silver bullet, okay?
So one of the things that I always do when I start a sales presentation: let’s say it was either they responded to something with marketing, or it was a referral or something. I’d sit down with them and say “Hey, you I want to thank you very much for agreeing to meet with me. You know my background and we’re gonna be talking about, you know, whatever that topic is.”
Okay. So the two questions I would ask is, “Why did you agree to (meet me)—your time is really valuable. What was your incentive? What was your motivation to agree to meet with me today? And, for this to be a good use of your time, what would you hope to accomplish from our time together?”
Those two questions, basically, I can sit back and have somebody talk for a half hour just on responding to those two questions.
Right, and then they’re gonna tell you what the pain is, you know, that we talked about before. And that scenario, right there, we’re getting right off the bat, why they want to talk and what’s going to be important to them, rather than you telling them what you want to say. Instead, you get to hear what they want to hear. And then you can address that. That makes a lot of sense. Those are good tips there. I appreciate that.
We’re going to wrap up here shortly. And I appreciate that info. Sales: I don’t know why it’s such a weird thing to me. I do it all the time now. But I think it’s not just me, and so anything that you can do to advise people to help them, you know—the majority of firms want to grow, I’m assuming. In fact, the Inside Public Accounting Top 400 just came out and, you know, obviously, Top 400 people want to get down there and see their name in the bright lights. So everybody’s looking to grow, and sales is a way to do that, so we need help from you.
So what I want to end on. You mentioned that you’ve been working virtually for a long time—2001, almost 20 years of working virtually, which means you can pretty much work wherever you want. Where are you working these days? Or I guess where, are you living?
I’m in Sarasota, Florida. And essentially, we founded BizActions and Profit Advisors in Rockville, Maryland. And I worked a year at home in 2001, 2002—and then I was looking at it and said, “My kids are out of the house. Why do I have to go and fight northern winters?” So a bunch of us moved south. So I’m living in Sarasota, Florida now.
Sounds like a nice place to be living, especially with winter getting closer than I hope it’s getting! It could be an interesting winter. In Sarasota—that’s nice, and I know one thing you enjoy is biking and golfing, so that’s the fun fact for today. Are you able to get out and golf and do your biking as much as you want these days?
Well, I used to go when I was working with a really very scheduled job with say Thomson Reuters, I would go in and finish up my day at a certain time, and before dinner, I would go on an hour bike ride every single day almost. Then, with heavy riding on the weekend. So it’s been something that I really enjoy. It’s a way to blow off steam, and it’s a way where I can think through my day and do planning with no one bothering me.
It’s nice! I like biking as well, and actually for years could not ride a bike because I had a really bad knee from too many basketball injuries. I got that replaced four years ago now. First thing I did—as soon as I could bend my knee over 90 degrees again—was went out and bought a bike and man I enjoy doing that right now outside, and just enjoying the weather. I’m in Chicago—we can’t do it all year long—but the months that we can it’s a great activity. I agree completely with that.
So golf though! You getting out golfing is nothing as much as you want right now?
I manage to get out twice a week and somehow that that can be that can be even more frustrating than being in business!
Haha! Yeah biking you can get out to clear your mind and just sit out and relax. Golf? Not gonna be the same way I guess. You got two different ends of the spectrum there! They’re
If you’ve ever played golf in Florida, or never played, we have tons and tons of water that you have to hit over and hitting over water is very unforgiving. What’s amazing, what’s frustrating about the game is, I can go a couple month’s span, play the best golf that I’ve ever played in my life, and then the next time I go out, it totally disappears for a month and you can’t figure out why.
Yeah, I used to golf a lot and that would happen to me and I never got to be a really good golfer. I got better with the time, but man it could get so frustrating. You just have to remember it’s just for fun.
The other thing you got in Florida with all that water is alligators as well—which to me I’m guessing if you go in the water, you’re not going to look for that ball, right?
No, I could show you pictures of gators, and they’re everywhere! When I used to live in Maryland and western Pennsylvania, deer were everywhere. Here, gators are everywhere. I live in my house which overlooks a lake and we have caged-in pool areas. And behind it, I have a grassy knoll that leads off to the lake. Well, it’s not uncommon to see a gator sunning in my backyard.
Yeah, I don’t think I’d mind the weather, but I’m not sure I’d like my Gator in my backyard, which I’m sure you get used to. But yeah, being out golfing and biking more often than I can here would be great.
Well, Gary, I really appreciate this. Again, I think it’s one of the most important things that that new CPA firms need to concentrate on is learning how to go and ask for the business and generate new business obviously, and up and coming CPAs within their firm. Because they all know that bringing in revenue—you don’t have to be the biggest rainmaker in the world, but at least everybody needs to try to bring in some revenue—so any techniques you can help them with, that’s awesome.
Before we close, if people do want to get ahold of you, you know, websites, emails, what’s the best way to get ahold of you?
Well, IntegratedGrowthAdvisors.com, there’s a website you can go to, you can reach me on my cell number, (941) 587-7049.
Nice! We’ve been having more guests give out cell numbers—which I always give out my cell number, because especially these days, everybody’s mobile and on the road, and I don’t think anybody has any problem with people trying to get ahold of them anywhere.
Well, again, thank you very much. I really appreciate you being here today. I’m going to definitely take your words of advice into everything I do.
It was funny, as a side note, just as something not to do for people! I had a call with a potential new referral source a couple weeks ago. They wanted to know a bunch of things about what we do and how we do it so that they could go out, advise their folks. They were a holding company, they owned a bunch of companies. So they wanted the companies that they own, you know, see if we could help them with research and development tax credits at that time.
So I educated them so they knew what to look for and got off the call. And I was on with someone else from a company. And she said to me, “Why didn’t you ask for the business?” and I go, “I don’t know. I was so busy just educating them. I forgot to ask for the client!” So: Obvious thing, I didn’t think about it. That’s where you’re out there. So it’s a don’t do what I did story there. And I’m sure you see that all the time, right?
Thank you for joining us today. And you can find all the links and show notes for today’s episode as well as more about Tri-Merit at TheUniqueCPA.com. Remember to subscribe and join us for our next episode where we’ll be going beyond compliance into forging new pathways of delivering value to clients, diversifying your revenue streams, and leading edge management techniques and styles.
About the Guest
Gary Kravitz co-founded The Profit Advisors, a business consulting firm that trained accounting firms to maximize their profit potential, in 1993. In 2001, he co-founded BizActions, helping it grow into one of the largest digital newsletters and web marketing providers for accounting firms. BizActions was bought by Thomson Reuters in 2012, and he served as their National Sales Manager, providing content marketing, communications and business development solutions to professional service firms.
In 2018, Gary joined Integrated Growth Advisors, where he currently serves and specializes in Sales Process, Operations, Tactics, and Recruiting He has led successful advising workshops on maximizing profit potential for hundreds of firms worldwide.
Gary holds a B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh and completed his graduate work at Ohio State University.
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.