Digital Marketing for Chartered Accountants is possible and it’s not against ICAI.
There are certain restrictions on Chartered Accountants by The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) as the use of logos and advertising in the competitive market. But with certain guidelines digital marketing for chartered accountants is acceptable.
In this article “How to do effective Digital Marketing for Chartered Accountants?” I will guide you on how to adopt digital marketing for chartered accountants within the ambit of ICAI
So let’s first start with the code of conduct for chartered accountants.
Code of Conduct for Chartered Accountants
As per Clause (6), Part-I of the First Schedule to the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949, a practicing Chartered Accountant shall be considered guilty of professional misconduct if he:
- Solicits work or clients either directly or indirectly by advertisement, circular, personal communication or interview or by any other means.
- Acquires any professional business either through his employee or a person who is not his partner or by means which are not open to a chartered accountant.
- Advertises his professional services, or
- Uses any designation or term other than chartered accountant on visiting cards, professional documents, and letterheads or signboards. It is allowed provided the primary document is a degree of a University established by law in India or recognized by the Central Government or title indicates membership of ICAI or of any other institution that has been recognized by the Central Government or may be recognized by the Council.
Nevertheless, the above rules have certain exceptions and the Chartered Accountants can undertake the following activities:
- A chartered accountant can secure professional work by responding to tenders or inquiries issued by various users of professional services or organizations from time to time.
- He can advertise changes in partnerships or dissolution of a firm, any change in the address, and telephone numbers of practice contact.
The advertisement is limited to necessary and basic statements of facts. Moreover, the Chartered Accountant must advertise in a newspaper or a magazine of an appropriate area. An appropriate amount of insertions need to be given.
A member is further allowed to give a classified advertisement in the Journal/Newspaper of the Institute. Provided such an advertisement gives information for:
- sharing professional work on an assignment basis or
- seeking professional work on a partnership basis or
- salaried employment in the field of the accounting profession
Also, such an advertisement should contain only the name, address, telephone, fax number, and email address of the chartered accountant.
Ethical ways of Digital Marketing for Chartered Accountants
When internet penetration is everywhere you cannot ignore the importance of digital marketing. Digital marketing for Chartered Accountant firms is very important in order to have their businesses grow and have the clients flowing in.
However, ICAI does not allow Chartered Accountants to solicit clients through advertisement, there are certain ethical marketing strategies with the help of which they can promote their work. Let’s take them one by one:
1. Create a Professional Website
The Chartered Accountants can get their own website created subject to certain guidelines issued by the Act.
- CA’s are allowed to have a website in their trade name or individual name.
- The website should run on the “pull” model instead of the “push” model.
- CA’s should not use email or any other mode to circulate any information contained on the website. But if a prospect asks for such information, then they can do so.
- Also, Chartered Accountants cannot issue any circular or issue advertisement or any kind of material that solicits people to visit their website.
- Also, they can use Passport size photographs on the website but not any logo.
- It is permitted to publish any articles, professional information, updates, etc. of professional interest.
- Furthermore, they can give online advice to the clients on their request either free or paid.
- Listing on search engines is permitted to CAs.
- Listings on several Chartered Accountant societies or relevant bodies is also allowed
- Also, listing offered by professional association or Chamber of Commerce to its member Chartered Accountants is also permitted.
- No Advertisement on the website is allowed in the form of a banner or any other.
You can refer to the complete set of guidelines for operating a website for Chartered Accountants.
2. Social Media Presence
Social media is the most popular and effective way to communicate with the target audience. It allows you to discuss, network, and share valuable information and updates with the community. This way you will be able to build trust among the people.
Chartered Accountant can take the benefit of social media platforms by creating informative and engaging content. You need to have well-optimized profiles on social media platforms.
LinkedIn is a professional networking platform. It will be very helpful, where Chartered Accountants can connect with business owners, tax experts, and other CAs in order to build their network.
3. Join Groups On Various Social Media Platforms
Social networking platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook have several groups for Chartered Accountants.
The groups are open as well as closed groups. There is no need to send a request to join open groups. However, you need to send a request in order to be a part of closed groups.
The member CA’s are not allowed to promote their accounting services in these groups. But they can grab the attention of other fellow members by contributing valuable content and knowledge.
These activities would help CAs in getting referral work from other CAs who are also members of the same group.
4. Start a Blog
If you have knowledge then a blog is the right way to share that knowledge with the world. There are thousands of searches on search engines for topics like accounting, tax, GST, etc. These searches are from small business owners, professionals, interns or accounting students, etc. Here you have the opportunity to help such people in resolving their queries by creating and sharing valuable content.
You can start your own blog or can write on various online platforms or forums that are relevant for chartered accountants. If you are able to provide valuable content then you will be able to keep your audience engaged and gain trust from them. Out of these audiences, you may have some potential clients too.
You can write on all the relevant keywords related to your niche which are searched more.
It would be better if you create content while keeping in mind the SEO too. There will be a better chance that your blogs will rank on the top searches of search engines.
Search engine optimization is a technique that helps your content to rank higher. Both on-page and off-page SEO are important for your website.
A well SEO-optimized site is always preferred by search engines. It is the most effective way to stay in higher ranks on relevant keywords. When you are visible on the top searches, chances are very bright that you will get enough clients and leads.
6. Email Marketing
You can always reach out to your target audience with some informative and engaging emails. It is always a good idea to stay connected with your customers and also make new ones with proper email marketing.
As a chartered accountant, you cannot advertise directly but you can always share some newsletter, information, updates, with your audience. Email marketing is the best way of marketing because it keeps you connected with your audience. When you connect with your target audience that means sooner or later you might get some clients out of them.
To understand more about the strategies you can view this presentation Digital Marketing Strategy for Financial Advisor.
Also, you can watch the video on Digital Marketing Strategies for Financial Advisors below:
Due to certain restrictions from ICAI, Chartered Accountants in India avoid digital marketing. But still, there are guidelines, and adhering to them CA’s can market their services. The digital marketing strategies that I mentioned in this article “How to do effective Digital marketing for chartered accountants?” are very effective. Ensure that you are making most of these digital marketing strategies for chartered accountants
Hence, CAs should work on these strategies and should also keep in mind the guidelines issued by ICAI in order to promote their services in an ethical way.