Monthly Archives: July 2015

New Frontiers: Is Marijuana Accounting a Viable Niche?

CannabusinessAs more and more states legalize marijuana,

does it make sense for accountants to

create a specialty to attract the Cannabis industry? 

Over the years, BYF has encouraged many accounting firms to develop niches to improve lead generation quality and better service segments of the business community.  However, we are at a quandary about whether this is a viable niche for all types of accountants.  If you want to chime in, we will open this topic up for discussion within our LinkedIn Group called Modern Marketing Methods for Accountants.

By all means, more and more states are passing legislation so I understand the tide is moving in that direction.  It’s a reality that more states will jump on board and the federal government is caught between a rock and a hard place.  In fact, it’s like prohibition days. As a result, most banks are trapped too.

Here are a couple core issues:

1.) Good moral character clause – Will the State Boards of Accountancy refuse to renew your license because you service this type of business?

2.) RICO – If the federal government decides to take a strong stand, can RICO charges be applied to a bookkeeper, EA or CPA firm that caters to this industry?

3.) Would a tax law firm or hybrid practice (law/CPA practice) be better suited to handle this clientele because of the attorney client privilege?

4.) Security, Payroll and Banking Issues – With a lot of cash on hand, this industry is susceptible to robberies and audits.  Payroll must be a bear.  Protecting the merchandise is a huge challenge.

Cannabusiness2So far, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Washington DC are legal.  The next wave in 2016 (ballot initiatives) is Massachusetts, California, Missouri, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada and Arizona.

Join our discussion at Modern Marketing Methods for Accountants and chime in professionally on these business challenges.

Currently, there are over twenty accounting firms that have embraced this industry.  Here is a compiled list of accounting firms embracing this industry.

  Accounting Firms for Cannabis Industry


Clients Want More Choices – Adapt Your Marketing Approach

Vanilla ice creamIf you walk into an ice cream store and they offer only vanilla, what is your gut reaction?

More than likely, you have gotten used to having so many options at your fingertips that ordering vanilla ice is no longer appealing.  Even if the ice cream shop owner expands the variety to vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, your gut reaction is still the same.  Get with the times…  Over the past two decades, you’ve gotten used to having 20-30 flavor options that the old school options of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry are unacceptable.

Here’s a totally different example.

Suppose your child gets injured over the weekend playing soccer at one of these college showcase tournaments.  That’s right, the D1 college coaches were clamoring over your child on day 1 and then the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tears.  And now you are wondering if getting that college scholarship for a full ride has suddenly gone bye bye.    As you start to look for a surgeon, here are the best options:

Medical Option # 1

“We have 30 years of experience treating patients of all ages and

all types of orthopedic accidents and injuries.  We are board certified…”

Medical Option # 2

“We specialize in sports injuries for athletes.  We have orthopedic specialists for

athletes who participate in high demand sports like soccer, football, basketball, etc. 

Our orthopedic teams on staff support our local NFL, NBA and two major universities. 

Regaining the full function of your knee is our expertise.  Our treatment system also

includes your rehabilitation process as physical therapy is key to

returning to peak performance.” 

Which medical option are you more likely to go with?  The Jack of all trades?   Probably not…  Focusing the message to your target audience is very effective for improving lead generation and new client acquisition.  The reality is that these two descriptions might even be the same medical group.  That’s right, option #2 might have three different websites targeting different segments of their target audience.  Here is an example:

The Orthopedic medical group has five surgeons on staff along with a physical therapy group in the same office building to provide total care.  The medical practice has three separate websites targeting the entire metropolitan area for three types of clients:

a.) High impact athletes that suffer ACL injuries on the field.  Website shows pictures of local professional athletes and local college athletes that have recovered from ACL injuries and returned to the field.  Associations with the local professional teams and universities are prominent throughout website.

b.) Baby boomers that are weekend warriors and maintain an active lifestyle.  Website shows pictures of 40-50 year old’s that still work out but need knee replacement to maintain an active, healthy lifestyle.

c.) Active seniors that enjoy outdoor activities like tennis, gardening and hiking.  Website shows pictures of 60-70 year olds enjoying life.

Each of the three websites are distinctly separate but branded under the same firm name.  Each website has a separate website domain.  And each website generates very different types of leads.  One medical group with three different websites to maximize lead generation, surgical procedures and physical therapy clientele.

Below is an example of an accounting firm who is using a multiple website approach too.  Like you, they have a “generalist” website to attract “jack of all trades” leads.  To improve the lead quality, they also have custom niche websites designed to generate higher quality leads for prospects looking for a specialist who can make their “pain” go away.

Generalist CPA Firm in Indiana – 4 office locations

Farm Accounting – CPA for Crop Farms – Cattle – Fruit Farms

CPA Accounting for Churches – Pastors – Religious Colleges

CPA Accounting for Hotels – Resorts – Golf Courses – Restaurants

The generalist website (jack of all trades) is a solid venus fly trap to catch the locals.  However, to expand your wings and pull in higher quality clients across multiple states (broader geographic area), then consider adapting your marketing approach and using multiple websites to pull in higher fee paying clients.

Using more than one website is like offering more flavors than vanilla.  The expense is modest and the upside is huge.