Capstone Conversation with Jack Kolmansberger

Chief Marketing Officer

Herbein + Company

Hello, this is Jean Caragher, President of Capstone Marketing.

I am delighted to be talking today with Jack Kolmansberger, Chief Marketing Officer at Herbein + Company and the 2018 Inductee into the Association for Accounting Marketing Hall of Fame an award sponsored by Inside Public Accounting.

Jack began his accounting marketing career with a local Philadelphia CPA firm in 1996 and has been with Herbein for nearly 10 years. Jack was a member of AAM’s Board of Directors for several years and served as its 2015/2016 president.

Jack, congratulations on your induction into the AAM Hall of Fame. It’s well deserved.

Jack: Thank you, Jean. I have to say I’m still shocked about it. It’s one of the greatest honors I could have ever imagined. It’s great to join you and everybody else with that honor. Thank you very much for having me today.

Jean: It’s my pleasure. We’ve known each other a long time and I shed more than a few tears when you were making your speech, which was very heartfelt. I know that everybody in the audience that day appreciated everything you had to say. You did a great job.

Jack: Thank you. It was important to me and I do appreciate that people enjoyed it. I know that the people who were running the clock, that kept counting down, probably didn’t enjoy it, and the speaker after us probably didn’t enjoy it, but there you go.

Jean: It all worked out, didn’t it?

Jack: It was fantastic.

Jean: As I mentioned, you started your accounting marketing career in 1996 and you’ve been at this over 20 years. What is the greatest challenge in marketing CPA firms

Jack: I think the biggest thing is to work with the hourly billing. It really stacks the deck against all marketing efforts. If you’re talking about doing new prospecting, everybody says, “Well, I’m busy. I got this, I got this, I got deadlines here.” There is a tendency to push stuff off and the more you push it off, the less you want to do it, and then the more it piles up.

Even though you know you should be doing it, it’s not top of mind. At our Tax Season Kick-Off this year I talked about the Eisenhower Method of determining urgent versus important. It’s interesting that a lot of the work that we’re doing for our clients during a busy season is really urgent, but the important stuff about growing the practice tends to fall off the table.

I also think it’s really interesting because it happens with current clients, too. We go in there and everybody’s being measured for being efficient. Go in there, get the job done. If there’s something you see that’s not right, you say, “Let me fix it.” I’m not even gonna tell them, I’m just gonna fix it and move on. I’m not gonna bill for it, because that will all slow me down

So you’re doing it, you’re getting the heck out of Dodge, and the next thing you’re not really talking to them about big picture issues.

Jean: Nowadays the big thing is advisory services and truly being advisors to our clients. This example you just gave, let’s face it, lots of CPAs call themselves advisors when they’re really not. How can you truly be that advisor when you’re trying to just go in there and do that job as quickly and efficiently as possible and ignoring the other opportunities that are sitting right in front of you?

Jack: Jean, we actually keep on our pipeline meetings every month, we keep a list of our top 50 clients, and we call it our TLC list. That stands for Tender Loving Care. The objective to keeping it on there every month is to say, “Are we doing things with these clients that it’s not where we’re calling up and asking them for something, ” or saying, “You forgot to do this. You have to send me this.” What is it that we can do to really learn about their business?

We actually keep on our pipeline meetings every month, we keep a list of our top 50 clients, and we call it our TLC list. That word stands for Tender Loving Care.

We had somebody who a couple of months ago drove up to New York City for a very short meeting. Pretty much spent five hours in the car to meet with a client and came back and said, “That was one of the best meetings I ever had with a person.” It was like an agenda-less meeting, it wasn’t about anything specific. It was just, “Tell me what’s going on.” Within 45 minutes they walked out of there thinking, “That was a great meeting with a client.”

Whether that would have happened without the TLC list, I don’t know, but you gotta keep things in front of people or else it’s not gonna happen.

Jean: The fact is that, even with all this technology we have, there’s nothing that replaces that face-to-face time. So, we definitely have the constraints of that billable hour. Tell me what you think are the biggest changes you’ve noticed in accounting marketing over the past five years?

Jack: Considering that 25 years ago you couldn’t even put an ad out anywhere, it seems like we’re exponentially increasing in terms of the complexity of marketing accounting firms. The biggest thing that I’ve seen over the past five years has been the digital marketing arena. At my last firm, we probably generated well over a million dollars in just a couple of years through our website.

It was all based on somebody finding our website, sending an inquiry and then we would do our follow-up. It was very fast, very exciting, it was just a compressed sales cycle. Now the chances are when somebody reaches out to our website, they’re just downloading a white paper or looking at one of our blog articles.

So, it’s really become a more systematic approach. You need patience to really nurture the leads you’re getting from your website, whereas I really felt in the past it was like fishing. You’re throwing your line in, if you get a bite, you bring it in. Now it’s the science behind it and the process behind it.

You need patience to really nurture the leads that you’re getting from your website.

It’s really fascinating. We have a person in our firm who is dedicated just to digital marketing. That’s how much of a priority we wanna put on it.

Jean: Don’t you think that the ease of getting information and the amount of information that is out there does make it more difficult for us? In the old days, let’s face it, the firm controlled the story. You made an appointment, you grabbed your firm brochure, you hopped in a car, and you met with the prospect and told them who you were and what you could do for the prospect.

Now, usually when you meet with someone, they’ve already done their homework and they know a lot about you before you are face-to-face with them.

Jack: We were talking to a vendor yesterday about a plugin for our CRM program. I could tell that the person who is doing the sales call was using their own product on us. They were talking about our recent acquisition and some other things that happened in the firm. All stuff that they scraped off the internet before they even talked to us.

So, you can’t just show up and say, “Tell me about your business.” That’s the worst thing you can say as the first thing out of your mouth.

Jean: That’s like when you’re interviewing new staff and you ask them, “Have you checked out our website,” and they say no. Don’t you just wanna end the interview right there? You can’t possibly be the right person if you haven’t spent five minutes learning about us.

Jack: Yeah, exactly.

Jean: I would agree absolutely, Jack. The digital and all of this online, and just how much information is out there and how that makes it more challenging for firms to share their story and promote their expertise and to differentiate themselves from competitors.

Jack: We heard it 100 times at the AAM Summit this year. Better is fleeting; different is the thing that’s gonna get you recognized and remembered.

Better is fleeting; different is the thing that’s gonna get you recognized and remembered.

Jean: That’s a challenge isn’t it? Because firms are offering very similar services, there’s specific ways you need to do that, so in our world it’s that much more difficult.

Jack: I think one of the missing pieces of that equation is it has to be genuine. You can’t just say, “We’re different,” and then list off the three things that are…that make every firm different. It really has to be something that stands out for you.

Jean: I absolutely agree. So, with all this change with digital, and how our accounting marketing world has changed, what is your prediction for accounting marketing for the next five years

Jack: I think there’s a couple of areas that are really gonna help drive the marketing within the accounting industry. We talked about technology and the digital marketing stuff. I think that’s one of the key ones. I look at somebody like Lori Colvin at Armanino, and that she’s even identified that they have a marketing technology stack.

So, it’s not just we have all these programs, this is what this does. It’s how do they work together and how do they feed each other? That’s one of the big things that we’re gonna be looking at during the summer, is really looking at our technology stack and making sure that the right pieces are fitting together.

Jean: And the data that it’s collecting, what do you do with that, how does that work together, as well?

Jack: You can have all the data in the world, but if you can’t access it what’s the point? We see a lot of that with our CRM. We’re trying to put the right information in and then also trying to get the right information out.

Jean: Also, the number of firms that still don’t have any sort of CRM, so Herbein is a step ahead right there.

Jack: Well, that’s always debatable, but yeah, we are moving in the right direction with that.

Jean: Excellent.

Jack: Another thing is the client experience. When you start talking about different, that’s where client experience really steps up. I’ve heard Mitch Reno from Rehmann, Leisa Gill from LBMC and, at the Summit this year, Nicole Gantz from Honkamp Krueger was mind-blowing what she is doing with their firm and with apps and all kinds of technology, tying it back to the client experience.

I think that that’s something that, for a firm like Herbein, where we’ve gone from about $16 million to doubling that over the past eight or nine years, it’s hard to get your arms around process and make sure that everybody is treating clients consistently and that client experience is the same. Our net promoter scores are off-the-charts good, but we’re doing things a hundred different ways.

At some point, as your firm grows, that becomes unsustainable. Then, the other thing is the pricing issue. You were probably in Toronto, you probably heard Ron Baker 20 years ago talk about value pricing for the first time. The idea that it’s not up to you to just be efficient, you have to be effective.

It’s not up to you to just be efficient, you have to be effective.

By charging for value and trying to capture the value, that’s really what clients want. They want choices. Michelle Golden is working with K·Coe Isom and BeachFleischman, and really capturing the value and adding choices and saying, “You can have this at this level, this level or this level.”

Wouldn’t everybody wanna have a choice of what service level and what they pay based on that service level?

Jean: Do you think that more firms don’t price based on value because they don’t see the value or is billing by the hour just easier?

Jack: I think billing by the hour is that crutch that justifies your price as opposed to really taking it to the next step and capturing the value. In a lot of situations, if you don’t really get a chance to meet with a prospect and really learn about what they’re looking for beyond the numbers, you’re pretty much stuck into that, almost what people consider the commodity of the audit.

It’s a Catch-22. In a lot of ways we’re resistant if we know that our competitor is gonna charge $20,000, then where are we gonna be? Are we gonna be $30,000 or $18,000? There’s a lot of thought that has to go into that decision. But, again, if you can’t talk to somebody ahead of time, you are just a price to them. If you can’t stand and really learn what they’re trying to do, you’re really just a price.

If you can’t talk to somebody ahead of time, you are just a price to them. If you can’t stand and really learn what they’re trying to do, you’re really just a price.

One more thought on that. We just heard where artificial intelligence is going with the audit. We just heard within the last couple of weeks that an audit can take 45 seconds in the future, using artificial intelligence. So, even if you have your lead partner and they’re charging $1,000, that audit is still $9.99. Nobody is gonna be successful doing that.

As an industry, that’s something we really have to look at. What is the value of the audit? How do we charge for the audit? Because the hourly rate does not work in that situation.

Jean: Exactly.

Jack: Fortunately, between Mark Koziel and others at the AICPA, I think they’re really shepherding the industry for the transformation to blockchain and what the effect on the audit is gonna be. But, it’s gonna be within five years. It’ll be incredibly different from the service side, let alone the marketing side of it.

Jean: We already have the battle that prospects and clients need an audit, so they don’t get real excited about that. Add to that fact what you were just saying, with artificial intelligence and blockchain, if you can do an audit in 45 minutes, what happened to those hours and hours and hours that you used to spend on that same service and charging by the hour? It’s pretty incredible.

Jack: I tell everybody who’s coming in to our firm, as a new hire, that they’re coming in at a fantastic time because we are gonna see so much change over the next 5 to 10 years. The repercussion on them is they’re gonna have to – just like a firm’s gotta be different and not just better – they’re gonna have to be different. Their skillset is gonna have to evolve to be more relationship-based and less going out and counting refrigerators in a warehouse or counting boxes of something in a retail store.

So, it’s affecting the people, the clients, the industry, the firms, obviously.

Jean: Oh, it’s a game changer, for sure. So, Jack, tell me. You’ve met lots of accounting marketers and you’ve got this vast network. What factors or skills have you seen that enable accounting marketers to be successful?

Jack: That really is a great question, because…I think I come at it from the standpoint of I do have a lot of experience and people that have talked to me, they might say I’m overconfident, but I do have a lot of confidence in what I’m doing. That’s a kind of thing that comes with years of experience, and I think that no matter where you are in your career journey, you really need to have a curiosity and you have to be looking for things. I do get frustrated when I hear people saying, “Oh, I went to this session and it was everything I already knew.”

No matter where you are in your career journey, you really need to have a curiosity and you have to be looking for things.

You have to be able to get something new out of every situation that you’re in. So, I think curiosity is a big thing. I would encourage people that, if you’re curious, you’re gonna be successful. If you’re not curious, you either have to figure out a way to reposition your mindset and think, “I still have a lot to learn.”

A way that I think about it in my own head is I’ve never done anything just because somebody else has done it, but I’ve done a lot of things that I’ve learned from others. I think that’s a key distinction. Instead of just being a copycat, trying to analyze something and saying, “That’s a good idea, and I’m not doing it just because 10 other firms are doing it, I’m doing it because it’s the right idea for my firm.”

Jean: Excellent. We also know lots of firms that do just that, “ABC firm did this seminar, we should go out there and do that same thing.” Not thinking about whether it’s right for them, or what it takes to do that, but it’s just so-and-so did it, so we should. That’s the reasoning.

Jack: Another thing…in my family, we always joke about it. My wife and kids…I always tell them how logical I am, and I can take a lot of situations and apply a logical approach to them, which they don’t appreciate, but in my career it helps me think through situations and try to look at different angles and really try to look at things from maybe a less emotional standpoint and more logical.

The emotion is always gonna be there, but if you can boil something down to the logic of it you’re gonna get a good outcome.

Jean: Do you think that also helps you sell your ideas internally?

Jack: I think if you can build a logical case for something, it’s gonna give you a great deal of confidence.  If you know that you have something that is bulletproof, you’re gonna feel really good about it and you’re gonna have a lot of enthusiasm and energy when you present something, as opposed to something you’re like, “Yeah, I’m not really sure this makes sense, but let’s try it.”

Jean: Let’s do it well.

Jack: You’re not gonna get a lot of confidence instilled in you when you do that.

Then, in terms of building a career in accounting marketing, I do think you have to stand up for yourself and for things that you believe in. I think I’ve done that, maybe successfully, maybe not always successfully, there’s been some dicey moments where, maybe you overstep a little bit.

Jean: I can relate.

Jack: Jean, you and I have had several of those situations between ourselves. I think if you can see both sides of the equation, and then you make a decision, then you move on. You can’t harbor a grudge and you can’t look back and say, “Oh, five years, if we had done this, this would have changed differently.” All you can do is go forward with stuff.

Then, the other thing I’ve found really valuable for my career is, anybody who’s listening or reading this might debate it, but my sense of humor has gotten me into trouble at some points. I can find something funny in a lot of situations, so I never really get so down about something where it just demoralizes me

There’s always a little tweak that you’re like, “Wow, this happened, but, on the flip-side nobody blew up or anything.” There’s always a bright side to something, and the sense of humor can always take you there.

Jean: I think a sense of humor is one of the most important qualities a person could have. When I was my dating my husband, I said, “Sense of humor is gonna be important, you know what I mean.” So, life can be tough sometimes,  you’ve dealt with different situations, it’s really important that we know how to laugh.

Jack: You have to have a good outlook. My dad always said, “Every day is a good one.” So, if you take that approach, you can’t go too wrong. You can’t stray too far off of the path.

My dad always said, “Every day is a good one.” So, if you take that approach, you can’t go too wrong.

Jean: Jack, how do you think marketers can gain more power or influence within their firms?

Jack: I find this to be a pretty complicated question. Jean, I go back to when we were talking 20 years ago about firms that get it and firms that don’t get it. If you have a firm that is just not gonna buy in on the whole marketing and growth concept, it’s gonna be hard to really accelerate your career within that firm.

I remember when I was at the AAM Summit a couple of years ago, Lauren was interviewing me in front of the entire conference, and I was looking out there and I was thinking, “Wow, I see so many people that they’re probably so great at doing what they can do, but the firm is not gonna get it.” The firm is not gonna understand why we need to do this or why we need to do social media or get a website or stop putting 20 partner names on letterhead.

They’re gonna be focused on the minutiae of stuff. I also thought to myself, “There’s probably firms that are really great out there but they haven’t found the right set of marketers.” So, I think it’s all about fit. You need strong leadership and great vision at a firm, and then you need somebody to come in with that curiosity and the desire to be a great marketer.

You need strong leadership and great vision at a firm, and then you need somebody to come in with that curiosity and the desire to be a great marketer.

Unless you have that match, it’s gonna be a bad experience for everybody. We’ve seen hundreds of these, literally, since you’ve been in AAM, you’ve seen, for whatever reason, it’s just not the right match.

If you’re not creating that kind of relationship with your firm where you’re engaged and you’re happy and they like what you’re doing, then I would say it’s probably not the right fit. You’re probably better off to be looking to move on sooner than later.

It’s got to be two ways. They’re always evaluating the marketer. We have to be evaluating the firms to make sure they’re the right place for us, also.

Jean: I can’t tell you how many times over the years marketers have talked to me and the conclusion is that they really needed to leave their firm. They were talented and introducing ideas that just were not being accepted. It was not the culture that was gonna help make this marketer successful, which, in turn, makes the firm successful. I hate to say that, but, let’s face it, at Summits, when you say, “Hey, if this is your first Summit raise your hand,” and all those hands go up in the air. We’ve come a long way because in the 2018 AAM Career and Compensation Survey, the average marketing director, a person with that title, has been with their firm just over six years. I thought that was positive

Jack: That is really good. That shows that, as you put it, the firms are getting it and they understand that it’s no different than losing a key tax person as losing your marketing person. I do look back to the AAM conferences and, Jean, we’ve been to a lot of AAM conferences together, in a lot of ways I do remember some early ones just being everybody commiserating and they’re, “Oh, my firm’s doing this. It’s horrible, my firm is doing this,” or, “My managing partner won’t let me do this.”

I really feel the last probably 5 to 10 years it’s been transforming. I don’t view it as everybody is complaining at the same time about the same things. I think everybody is so excited about the opportunities at their firm. I think it’s been an amazing transformation within the Association for Accounting Marketing. I think it’s a credit to people like you, Jean, who have helped so many people personally with their careers and, aside from the ABCs of marketing, but how do you manage a career and when do you call it a day?

Jean: That’s a wonderful observation. Not about me, but about the conferences, the Summits being less of a whine-fest. Whining, I mean.

Jack: Yeah, exactly.

Jean: Marketers have always shared what they’ve done. We have found AAM members being very forthcoming and willing to help other people and share resources and provide feedback. That’s great that you say that. I would agree that there’s more collaborating and sharing information as opposed to complaining about how their partners are acting or what they’re not doing and other negative talk. That is awesome.

So, let’s talk about the best piece of advice you have for accounting marketers.

Jack: Just like every answer, I’m gonna give you two answers on that. The first is to keep it fun and to keep it interesting. I think we’re in a position where we can try to push the envelope a little bit. Remember that we’re dealing with people who are generally conservative and sometimes could be out of their comfort zone, but one of the things that I love to do is have people tell me no.

One of the things that I love to do is have people tell me no.

I love to come up with an idea and pitch it and have people’s initial reaction be, “Oh my God, how could you even bring that up?” Then, that’s where you start, the logic and making a couple of jokes about it. I’ve found that you can chip away at that.

When at my last firm, one of the funnier things was, and this just seems so arbitrary to me that the firm said, “You could go to the AAM Summit every other year.” I’m like, “Well, first of all, you guys do CPE every single year and it’s not like you could take two years off and then start it up again. Although, from what I hear, some people might try to do that.”

Even though I was told that, every year when it came time for the Summit I would ask to go to the Summit. Then, I would be told no and I would say, “Well, that’s ridiculous. That’s me missing two years of marketing education. Why would you wanna take me out of the game for two years?”

Eventually, I don’t know if it was a case of wearing them down or just the logic taking over, but, finally, Steve Carr at Asher finally would let me go every year. I think that plays into the bigger picture of what I would say to accounting marketers today is… I look back at the last 20 years with AAM and I’ve had so many people that I look up to and, Jean, I always have to put you top of the list. So, full disclosure, there you are.

Jean: Well, I appreciate that.

Jack:  It’s true. Hopefully, neither one of us will start crying on this call.

Jean: That’s all right.

Jack: You’ve meant the world for my career and I will never be able to thank you enough for that. There are so many people that I look up to. The Mitch Renos, and the Katie Tolins, and the Michelle Goldens, and Tracy Crevar Warren, and Art Kuesel, and Lori Colvin and Eric Majchrzak. I know I’m missing a hundred names.

They’ve all, whether intentionally or unintentionally, served as mentors to me. It’s just so great to have people you can look up to. But then, when you go back to your firm, I think it’s really key to have a sponsor. A sponsor is different from a mentor because a sponsor can actually effect change within your organization related to you. We’re really lucky here at Herbein. My boss is Jim Michalak. He’s a partner and also responsible for the role of marketing within the firm.

A sponsor is different from a mentor because a sponsor can actually effect change within your organization related to you.

He’s become engaged within AAM. He’s gone to the conference the last couple of years. He’s always telling people good things about the marketing department. He’ll come back from another conference and he’ll say, “Just so this is what I heard,” and our guys are already doing that.

He instills confidence in the rest of the firm about us, so we don’t have people coming in and questioning everything that we do. When you have somebody who’s willing to take a stand for you, it’s gonna play such a big role in your everyday satisfaction. If you cannot find somebody who’s really gonna step up for you like that you’re gonna be swimming uphill at your firm.

Jean: It makes the job just that much more difficult. So, let’s turn the page and give us your best piece of advice for managing partners.

Jack: This is a really interesting question also. Usually about every five years I get thoughts just hit me and I’m like, “Oh, my goodness.” I remember, five years into the career I was thinking, “Wow, every firm has similar issues.” Which, obviously, everybody knew that.

Then, a couple of years later, I had another revelation that I won’t say on the record, but one of my most recent ones was that the word marketing could have such a negative connotation for so many people. If you say marketing, a third of the people are like, “Yeah, I get it. I wanna do it.” Another third of the people are like, “I never wanna talk to you. All I wanna do is sit in my office and do work.” Then, you have that middle third of people who can go either way.

That’s who we’re working with, but we’ve transformed. Instead of talking about marketing a lot, we’ve been talking about growth. Growth is such a better word and it’s so much more positive. We’ve positioned the Herbein Growth Imperative as being something where, if we can help our clients grow, the firm is gonna grow, and there’s gonna be multiple opportunities for our people to grow.

If we can help our clients grow, the firm is gonna grow, and there’s gonna be multiple opportunities for our people to grow.

The firms that you see being acquired, or getting merged into a bigger firm, they didn’t have that growth to sustain the firm. We think it’s really important, as a message, about how it affects everybody in the office. It’s not just about the partners, it’s not just about managers who are gonna become partners someday, it’s really about all of us.

At the Summit this year, Ed Kless from Sage was talking about the importance of linguistics. I think you cannot underestimate the value of using a word like “growth” over “marketing”.

Jean: I took a picture of that slide.

Jack: It really ties up into the bigger picture within the firm. I would tell managing partners that you’ve gotta be including marketing, you’ve gotta be including HR, you’ve gotta be including your operations people within every partner and executive committee meeting from start to finish.

I would tell managing partners that you’ve gotta be including marketing, you’ve gotta be including HR, you’ve gotta be including your operations people within every partner and executive committee meeting from start to finish.

A lot of times those people will get called into a meeting and they’ll give a report. They’ll be talking about, “Oh, this new program, and it is so exciting, and this is what it’s gonna do.” Meanwhile, you don’t know what just happened before you got in there, and you don’t know why. Five people are angry at five other people and you don’t have any sense of dynamics of what is going on. You’re really operating within a vacuum.

A lot of times, when we’re talking about marketing things, we go down a path and, at some point, we say, “Well, we have to get IT involved with that,” or, “That affects HR.” There’s not a lot of things within the firm that we don’t touch or we don’t at least influence. So, I don’t know how you can really keep people out of a seat at the table, which is the proverbial saying, just because they don’t have a CPA behind their name, or a certain designation.

The things that these other firm professionals can bring to the table is a different perception. That’s so valuable. I would love to hear my HR person countering when we talk about growth goals, to say, “Well, where are we gonna get the people to do that?” or “We’ve just lost two people in this department, how can we do this new work?” It has to be holistic.

Jean: And have all these departments to work together.

Jack: Yeah, it has to be holistic. Operating in a vacuum is just gonna create more tension within the firm. Firms that aren’t doing that are really missing the boat on a great opportunity. There’s a lot of firms, Jean, as you said, they get it, and they have those people. They are not doing a meeting without the Sally Glick seating in that meeting or the Eric Majchrzak sitting in that meeting, or the Marc Busny sitting in that meeting, because it’s all integral to the success of the firm.

Jean: So, Jack, I’m gonna go a little bit off-script. I know you’re a big hockey fan. As of today, the Washington Capitals lead the Vegas Golden Knights 3-1 in the Stanley Cup play-offs. I’ve got two questions, can Vegas come back?

Jack: As a big Flyer fan I thought putting a team in Vegas was a joke, but I am now a Golden Knight. I am happy to root for the Golden Knights and I am a believer in the Golden Knights. So, yes, they can definitely come back.

Jean: So, this is the perfect lead-in for my second question. What can accounting marketers take away from the Golden Knights? Here is their first year in the league and they’re playing for the Stanley Cup.

Jack: I shared something with some of our team members here recently. The coach of the Golden Knights is a guy named Gerard Gallant. He was talking about how, in their games, guys know that if they’re out on the ice and they make a mistake that they’re not getting benched the next time that it’s their time to go on the ice.

He wants people to go out there and try their best, and sometimes that means making mistakes. I’d rather make a mistake, come back to the bench and hear you made a mistake, and get a chance to fix it than to be forever put on the bench. I think that’s a great lesson for CPA firms: that ROI doesn’t happen overnight and, a lot of times, it’s a long-term thing, but we’ve gotta be trying stuff within our markets.

We have to know that not everything is gonna be a winner. You’re not gonna win the Stanley Cup in your first year every time, but, how boring would it be to not try stuff and to just go through the motions? Or, to be punished every single time something doesn’t go right

Jean: Or, to have that sense of fear as you’re trying something…

Jack: That’s why I’m a Golden Knight right now.

Jean: I’m not a big hockey fan, but it’s pretty awesome because I think the Golden Knights surprised everybody and nobody thought, “How in the world in their first year in existence are they playing for the Stanley Cup?” So, they need to be doing a lot of things right.

Jack: They started off great and everybody said it’s not gonna last. They finished the year great and everybody said, “Well, they’re not gonna do anything in the playoffs.” Then, obviously, every round of the playoffs they were dominant. So, if you have faith and you believe in yourself and what Gallant is saying is you’re playing for your teammates. They’re not gonna be perfect, but that doesn’t mean that we’re gonna forget about them. We’re gonna stay together and stay strong as a team.

They’re not gonna be perfect, but that doesn’t mean that we’re gonna forget about them. We’re gonna stay together and stay strong as a team.

Jean: That’s a great message. We’ve been talking today with Jack Kolmansberger, Chief Marketing Officer at Herbein + Company, and a 2018 inductee into the Association for Accounting Marketing Hall of Fame. Jack, thanks for your time today.

Jack: Thank you, Jean. You’re the best.

Download the PDF of the Capstone Conversation with Jack Kolmansberger