Key Design Skills to Help Your Accounting Firm

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Most small and mid-sized accounting firms wisely choose to work with creative professionals to take on the bulk of their marketing efforts. Even so, it can be helpful to have somebody on your staff with marketing skills – including design. Along with creative thinking and skillful writing, design is an integral part of marketing, and you might be surprised to learn that your existing staff can contribute in this area.

Smaller projects can often be drafted or even completed in-house, if you have the right skill set, which will allow you to dedicate your marketing budget to the larger and more demanding elements in your overall marketing strategy. And while design seems at first glance to be far removed from the areas that most accountants and administrators are drawn to, it’s not always the case.

Knowing which skills you already have in-house can increase your marketing power. You can probably discover previously unrecognized abilities in your current team if you look carefully. Check with underutilized staff – particularly younger team members, but don’t overlook those who are more mature – for these abilities, and watch for mentions of them in the resumes of potential job candidates:

  • PowerPoint, Prezi, Keynote and other presentation software. Knowing how to utilize these tools adeptly will make it easy for your firm to create eye-catching and effective presentations. You can use them within the firm as well as sharing with clients, conference audiences and on your website.
  • Adobe Creative software. Sometimes you want to put together beautiful brochures, sell sheets, PDFs or other content quickly. If you can work with PhotoShop, InDesign and the many other powerful Adobe Creative tools, you’ll be able to show your marketing team what you have in mind, which can save time and money.
  • HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Familiarity with these programming languages is a significant asset when it comes to making changes to your website, adding new pages or creating landing pages for specific marketing campaigns.
  • Content management systems. What platform does your website use? Chances are, it’s WordPress or another common platform. While WordPress is the most accessible, others like Drupal and Joomla are also masterable by non-professionals. You probably have multiple staff right now who are proficient with WordPress or whichever content management system your site is built with.
  • Video and animation. Did your newest hire have an obsession with animation or video in high school? Many people develop skills in this area as a hobby, which can give your firm a great start on using video blogs or other content as part of your marketing strategy.
  • Typogaphic knowledge. Do you know the difference in serif and sans serif? Which fonts are the most legible? Studying fonts may not be your thing, but for some people it’s a never-ending source of fascination. A team member with typographic knowledge can help ensure your content always appears at its best.

Marketing is both an art and a science. Like any profession, it takes certain skills and knowledge to do well, and I’m not suggesting for a minute that you should take on the entire job yourself or assign it to non-marketers. Be wary of wasting resources by trying to do yourself what a professional can do better, faster and ultimately at less cost. You need a strong relationship with a professional marketing firm or a solid marketing department within your firm – or both. But in all scenarios, putting the hidden design skills of underutilized team members to work for your firm can be a rewarding approach that helps everyone contribute and expands your marketing capability more efficiently.

Follow Sarah:
Sarah Warlick is responsible for making us and all of our clients sound professional and eloquent as the content director at bbr marketing. In this role, Sarah is in charge of ensuring that all copy is well-written, accurate and free of pesky typos before it heads out the door. Additionally, she is a prolific writer and a frequent contributor to bbr marketing’s blog sites. She spends a good deal of time writing copy for our clients and has a unique way of crawling into our clients’ heads to create ghostwritten copy that sounds as if it came directly from their pen.
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