What We've Learned Since Accounting Marketing Was Legalized by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1977


For good, bad or indifferent.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article originally appeared in the September 1980 issue of The Virginia Accountant. It is one of the first articles – if not the very first article – on the advent of legalized marketing for accountants after Bates v. State Bar of Arizona. It is as viable today as it was then.

by Bruce W. Marcus
Professional Services Marketing 3.0

When, a few years ago, the codes of ethics were changed to allow straightforward marketing by profes­sionals, there came into play a new configuration of circumstances and activities that will reverberate throughout the accounting profession for years to come.

Bruce W. Marcus
Bruce W. Marcus

More for CPA Trendlines PRO members:   Do Accounting Firms Really Want an ‘Image’? What Accounting Firms Need to Learn from Personal Financial Planning Specialists The Delicate Art of Positioning Your Firm in the Mind of the Prospect

For generations, concepts of probity have pervaded public accounting. Accountants were to be not merely independent, but well beyond the fray of public quarrel of exposure. The sword of the CPA has always been independence and, it was long felt, independence is compromised by public debate. And now comes mar­keting, the crux of which is visibility.

Already a PRO Member? Click Here to Login & Continue Reading →


Get the Key to Unlock Premium Content Reserved Exclusively for PRO Members.

Go PRO Today: Choose one of these great offers


Monthly Plan, $24.97
Save $5/month (17%)!


7-day, no-risk free trial
then billed to your credit card monthly.
(Cancel any time)
Regular monthly rate: $29.97


Yearly Plan, $249.95
Save $110/year (30%)!


7-day, no-risk free trial
then billed to your credit card annually.
Regular annual rate: $359.95


One-Time, $12.99
Best for occasional use.


Get instant access, expires in 24 hours.
One-time, non-recurring, charge of $12.99

Bruce W. Marcus

About the Author

Bruce W. Marcus remains a pioneer in the modern practices of professional services marketing even after his death in 2014 at age 89. He is the author of the seminal work, Professional Services Marketing 3.0, published by CPA Trendlines. he Association for Accounting Marketing named a lifetime achievement award in his honor.

In 1951 (with a degree in Economics and Philosophy), he joined the then-Big Eight accounting firm, Peat Marwick Mitchell to establish the firm’s library, where he developed an article writing and seminar program that successfully promoted the firm’s reputation.

He has served as a public relations and marketing executive or consultant to most of the international accounting firms, and many large and small law firms.

His book, Competing For Clients (1986) was one of the first to delineate the new practices of professional services marketing, followed by more than a dozen books on professional services marketing, real estate marketing, investor relations, and international accounting standards.

His first newsletter, The Marcus Report (1986), was followed by the award-winning www.marcusletter.com in 1995 — one of the longest running letters on marketing for lawyers and accountants.

He served on the editorial boards of several leading professional services publications, a contributor to many publications, and has been a keynote speaker at major conferences.

He taught one of the first courses in professional services marketing at the Fordham University Graduate School of Business, and lectures frequently at the Fordham University Law School.

Click here for more by Bruce W. Marcus