Growing the Business:  Client Development in Public Accounting

Program Dates:  Course closed - New date for 2018 coming soon
Program Fee: $2,800*

*discounts may apply

Participants will be provided log in details to access course materials.


Responsibility to the top line requires constant attention to bringing in new clients and building a deeper relationship with existing clients. Through instruction and interactive, experiential learning, this course takes an action-oriented approach to learning essential business development skills.  Participants will leave the course with an action plan and foundational skills to build their book of business.

Who Should Attend

Accountants who have top line accountability will find something new to add to their client development toolbox regardless of experience.  Whether you are a partner or a manager anticipating client development responsibilities, this course will grow your strategic approach to firm growth.  Recommended for accountants with at least 3 to 5 years of experience.

This program is suitable for accountants seeking a Basic level of programming.  Novices will learn fundamental skills to advance their effectiveness in the fields of study.  Mid-level accountants who may be new to the material will deepen their understanding and applicability of concepts presented.

Program Content & Key Takeaways

At the end of the following modules, participants should be able to:

  • A Strategy Primer for Accountants
    • Identify, frame, evaluate, and make (or contribute to) strategic decisions in participants’ firms
    • Use their firm’s strategy to guide new business development efforts
    • Be able to understand their clients’ strategies in order to position their services to help clients achieve their strategic goals.
  • Identifying Potential Clients and Growing the Firm
    • Identify potential clients by understanding what problem they are trying to solve and how that fits with the solution the firm provides
    • Make the best decisions on which audiences to target in order to maximize marketing efforts
    • Develop a unique, ownable position from which marketing messages can be derived to increase engagement with targeted audiences.
  • Building Strong and Durable Relationships
    • Create a strategic communications plan and leverage multiple communication channels
    • Develop continuous learning strategies to deepen customer knowledge
    • Incentivize existing customers to maximize repeat and referral business
  • The Challenges of Cross-Selling
    • Target clients that are relationship versus transactional buyers;
    • Bundle services in ways that deliver more value to clients than would be case if the services are purchased from different providers;
    • Design organizational arrangements (incentives, processes, structures, etc.) that overcome the numerous and powerful internal barriers to cross-selling.
  • Strategic Networking
    • Recognize the differences among relationship building strategies and the value they bring to professional development activities
    • Embrace new tools for building and tracking one’s network
    • Strategically grow and maintain a personal network especially after the busy season ends.
  • Meeting Clients with Presence
    • Know the difference between preparing material and preparing for presence
    • Understand the underlying behaviors and attributes that convey presence and how to practice them
    • Convey increased presence in a future meeting or presentation

Click here for the course fact sheet.

Industry Speaker

Spencer Williams, President & Owner, West Paw Design

Spencer WilliamsA 5th generation, Montanan, Spencer Williams grew up on a ranch in Columbus, MT. His love for his home state and its pristine beauty, led Williams back to Montana after receiving a bachelor’s degree in German from Middlebury College in Vermont. With a strong desire to “make stuff”, Williams acquired a pet product company now known as West Paw.

Since 1996, Williams has grown the Bozeman, Montana-based business into a world-class manufacturer of eco-friendly pet toys and beds. West Paw’s products are sold in over 3,000 US retailers and in over 30 countries.

From its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility to the use of recycled, recyclable, sustainable and organic materials, Williams’ innovative and forward-thinking techniques demonstrate that it’s possible to make business choices that are positive for both the environment and the bottom line.

West Paw is a founding member of the Pet Sustainability Coalition which strives to be the leading organization for sustainable advancement in the pet industry by promoting creative collaboration throughout the pet industry. West Paw became the first pet product manufacturer to become a certified B Corp and in 2015 became Montana’s first Benefit Corporation. In 2016, Forbes magazine as  recognized West Paw as one of America’s Best Small Companies as well as “Montana Manufacturer of the Year” and Prospera Businesses Network’s Business of the Year.

Williams lives in Bozeman, Montana with his wife, two sons, their dog, Niko and a cat, Sasha.


Tom Bloomquist, MSU JJCBE Instructor

Steve Burnett, Former Associate Dean of Executive Education and Professor Emeritus of Strategy at the Kellogg School of Management.

Karen Cates, Director of the MSU Jabs Executive Education

Eric Van Steenburg, MSU JJCBE Assistant Professor of Marketing

Guy Summers, Founder of Farrell Group, LLC

Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Credits

Continuing Education Credit

Montana State University is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors.  State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit.  Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its web site:

This program is a Group Live program offering a total of 25.2 CPEs that addresses multiple fields of study including Business Management & Org (9.0 CPEs), Communications and Marketing (12.6 CPEs) and Personal Development (3.6 CPEs).

There are no pre-requisites for this course. There will be pre-course work including advance readings.  About three weeks prior to the course start date, participants will be provided with access to a course web page with assignments and other information.

For more information regarding administrative policies such as complaints and refunds, please contact our office at 406-994-4677.


Other available courses include: