CPA Practice Advisor

OCT 2018

Today's Technology for Tomorrow's Firm.

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Page 33 of 47

34 OCTOBER 2018 ■ BUILDING YOUR NICHE PRACTICE Each month we explore the advantages and intricacies of developing and growing a niche practice. This month we're examining what it takes to serve the niche of accounting for political campaigns. RESOURCES FOR THE POLITICS ACCOUNTANT • How to Help Elect CPAs to Public Office • Opening a Bank Account for a Political Campaign • WE Political Accounting & Compliance 9-Step Marketing Process to Gain Political Clients By Becky Livingston As we head into mid-term elections, you might be wondering how you can attract politicians to your practice? Like them, you must campaign for their attention, with the right message that meets their needs when they want them met. Here are some tips you can use to increase the awareness of your brand in politician’s minds. Begin by developing a multi-prong marketing strategy that includes online marketing, social media, email efforts, and in-person activity. This is not a strategy that works overnight. It takes time, diligence, a great deal of effort. Target Market Take a deep dive defining to whom you want to market your services. Also, evaluate your current customer base—could they help you in this effort, or could they leave because of it? Why do they buy your services? Are there common characteristics between them and the target market you’re trying to reach (e.g., age, income, ethnicity, location, pain points, terminology, gender, family, etc.)? Who are your competitors targeting? Is there a niche within the market where you could focus your efforts, e.g., cause, gender, location, party, years of experience, etc.? Also, consider the target’s psychographics, such as personality, attitudes, values, interests, hobbies, lifestyles, and behavior. Do they align with our firm’s mission and values? What’s your marketing message? Break it down in to four parts: ■ Tagline/headline – “The politician’s accountant of choice.” ■ Slogan – “Accounting for Endless Possibilities.” ■ Positioning statement – “For local and state politicians, [firm name] is an accounting and tax firm that helps you focus on the task at hand while coloring within the lines.” ■ Description – “We work alongside local and state politicians to identify and adhere to relevant tax and accounting regulations through the campaign process and beyond.” Social Media Hashtags are prevalent across most social media platforms. How can you use them to your advantage to gain the prospects you want? Research your target markets’ campaigns to see what hashtags they are using; research dominate political hashtags on your social media platform of choice, for example, a term might be more powerful on Twitter than it is on YouTube. Use tools like Google+/Explore and to find relevant terms in your target market’s industry (not your own) and their relevance score by social media platform. Now that you have hashtags, you’ll need creative for each platform where you’ll be posting content. Keep in mind, you’re going to post only on platforms your target market is using, for example Accounting for Political Contributions By Gail Perry, CPA, Editor-In-Chief We scoured the Federal Election Commission website to find relevant information for accountants who are working with political candidates and campaigns. The following material is excerpted from published reports of the Federal Election Commission. ■ Every person who receives contributions for a political campaign must forward them to the treasurer of the candidate’s authorized committee within 10 days of receipt. The date of receipt is the date the person acting as a conduit obtains possession of a contribution. ■ A person receiving contributions for a campaign must also forward the recordkeeping information along with the contributions. ■ If a contribution is small ($50 or less), such as cash contributions at a fundraiser, it is acceptable to keep records of the name of the event, the date and the total amount of contributions received on each day of the event. ■ For contributions exceeding $50, records must include amount, date of receipt, contributor’s name and mailing address. ■ Political committees are required to maintain either a full-size photocopy or digital image of each check or written instrument by which a contribution of more than $50 is made. ■ For each contribution that exceeds $200, either by itself or when added to the contributor’s previous contributions made during the same calendar year, in addition to the above required records, the saved information must include occupation and employer of the contributor. Please note that contributions to authorized committees are aggregated on a calendar-year basis for recordkeeping purposes, but they are aggregated on a per-election basis for purposes of monitoring contribution limits, and on an election-cycle basis for reporting purposes. ■ If, before the primary election, a campaign receives contributions designated for the general election, it must use an acceptable accounting method to distinguish between primary contributions and general election contributions. Acceptable accounting methods include: o Designating separate accounts for each election; or o Establishing separate books and records for each election. ■ The committee’s records must demonstrate that, prior to the primary election, recorded cash-on-hand was at all times greater than or equal to the sum of general election contributions received minus the Building Your Niche Practice is sponsored by Intuit QuickBooks.

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