Partner POV with Eric Majchrzak on Being the CEO of an Accounting Firm
Eric Majchrzak is a shareholder and chief strategy officer of BeachFleischman in southern Arizona. In December 2020, he was named CEO-elect of the firm and will take over as CEO in January 2022. It is rare for a non-CPA, let alone a marketer, to become a CEO of an accounting firm, or a managing partner, but it’s a trend Eric thinks will — and should — grow. Following are excerpts from a conversation with Eric.
What does a marketer and business developer bring to the role of CEO of an accounting firm that a CPA might not?
Marketers and salespeople tend to see things holistically. We have an inherent ability to identify with clients because our work is to figure out ways to fulfill their needs and desires through marketing messaging and the delivery of products and services. Marketers can help firms transform the mindset from an input, time-based model to an outcome-based, client-centric business model.
When did you decide you wanted to become the CEO of an accounting firm?
About three years ago I was feeling an enormous sense of responsibility for the sustainability of the firm and the growth of our people and clients. There was no pushing it aside.
Did your partners always support your professional development?
I’m lucky I have supportive partners. My marketing team is also incredibly supportive, and I really rely on them. I’ve benefitted from trusting relationships that fostered and encouraged a culture of innovation and risk-taking.
Marketers typically don’t have a clearly defined growth path. To some extent, we’re left out on an island to develop our own roles. By getting involved with AAM and other organizations, I gained knowledge and formed relationships that helped forge my career path. I was determined everything I learned would translate to value for my firm. If my partners had been unsupportive and had said “no,” I would’ve thought twice about my commitment to the firm and profession.
Were you encouraged to “stay in your lane?”
Early in my career, yes, but as my career progressed, no. If you’re told to stay in your lane, offer to help define what your lane should be. For example, years ago, I made the case that M&A was essentially a marketing/growth function and that it made sense for marketing to be involved. I asked for a role in the process. Over time, I went from being notified of mergers after the fact to being head of my firm’s M&A committee. Partners appreciate when you say, “I want more responsibility. I want to take more ownership.”
Read more from this issue and find the version of this article in Growth Strategies on page 8.
About Heather Kunz
Heather Kunz is the manager of marketing and business development, Williams, Benator & Libby.
Welcome to CPA Growth Trends — your source for information, insights, tools and best practices to drive growth within an accounting firm.
with Danielle Reynolds, Business Development, Manager with Whitley Penn
A business developer’s day involves a myriad of activities from external meetings with business owners and referral partners to scoping calls for initial client connections.