Accountancy marketing case study Wilson Wright

Wilson Wright (established in 1893) is a nine partner accountancy practice based in Holborn Circus in London serving both private and commercial clients. In 2016 it won the British Accountancy Award (BAA) for Independent Firm of the Year (Greater London) and is currently shortlisted for Mid-Tier Firm of the Year. Yet it has only recently appointed its first marketing and business development manager. This accountancy marketing case study looks at how it achieved its past success and what it hopes new methods will do to enhance its performance. 

The partner perspective

Jamie Grossman joined the Wilson Wright audit team after qualifying with Ernst & Young in September 2003. He was made an audit manager in April 2006 and became a partner two years later.

“When I joined the firm I was told that over 95% of our work came from existing client recommendations and word-of-mouth – and that business development was about building long term client relationships. In more recent years, we have looked to become more proactive in building the profile of the firm. Unlike some practices where there is a reliance on one or two rainmakers, all partners here participate in business development although we do play to our different strengths”.

“Because we generate so many referrals from clients we have developed a reputation in a number of diverse areas such as charities, property, recruitment, professional service firms and the creative sector. Personally, I have a sports niche and act for over 35 top footballers. The firm also serves those in the film and fashion world too. In addition to offering core accountancy services, our tax specialists tackle complex tax matters usually reserved for the Big Four practices. This includes work on corporate restructuring, share schemes and offshore trusts.”

The marketing professional perspective

Sophie Hainsworth, who previously worked at KPMG and law firm Fisher Meredith joined Wilson Wright recently.

“Wilson Wright impressed me for a number of reasons. First, it is a long established firm with a strong track record and it has achieved this success without an in-house marketer, although it has used some external agencies. Second, it has an independent financial planning business called Mulberry Bow which has some fantastic branding (“An FD for your personal life”). Third, it is a Xero Gold partner showing that it has a high level of expertise in this accountancy software. Fourth, it has many long term client relationships and staff retention rates are extremely high as well. Fifth, the firm does a lot of international work whether this is setting up businesses here or overseas – in fact over half of our web traffic is from the USA”.

“The firm is well known for tech start-ups in London and we organise discussion dinners for the CEOs of tech businesses. We have company formations specialists. The firm’s strength in property means we have both PropTech and FinTech clients. It also has a specialism in medical research and technology”.

“With databases to keep clients and contacts informed about developments, we will be investigating the impact of GDPR on our email and e-marketing operations – particularly the distinction between keeping clients informed and pure marketing and the impact on collecting emails when people download material from the website”.

“In terms of the future strategy we intend to strengthen awareness of our sector specialisms and extend the excellent relationship management into the online space. I hope we can achieve a larger social media presence – and this means developing our content strategy – across all platforms, including Instagram – my favourite.”