One of the most powerful ways that I know to build any CPA practice effortlessly is to position yourself as an expert in your field. When you position yourself as an expert, you have instantly differentiated yourself from your competitors.

I see that most CPAs don’t do a good job of differentiating themselves from their competition. Just because you have a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree and a CPA license and you have experience does not make you different from the other CPAs that the prospect is talking to.

If you don’t differentiate yourself based on something positive, the prospect is going to shop based solely on fees. They will assume that, “Hey, if someone’s a CPA, they are competent to do the job well, so let me see which CPA can do it for the lowest fees.” (And please, don’t decide that the best way to differentiate yourself is to lower your fees.  That’s the SINGLE WORST WAY to differentiate yourself.)

When thinking about becoming an expert, the first thing to remember is that you do have expertise.  But until people recognize “expert” as part of your identity, it isn’t helping your marketing.  So you “become” an expert by advertising the fact.  The best and most powerful way to become an expert is by authoring a book or a special report.

I call it “education-based marketing.”  You write a report that solves a problem that is being experienced by your prospects.  When your prospects read your writing, you’ve educated them and they realize you are the expert. You have positioned yourself as the expert in your field.

Essentially what this means is that you create magnets and place them out in the marketplace. Some examples of magnets are:

  • Writing a book or a free special report
  • Writing an article
  • Giving a talk

The public views someone who has authored a book or been published as an expert. Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be a book. You may start with publishing special white paper reports. They can be 5 to 15 pages long, and it doesn’t take more than a word processing program and a printer to produce them.  (Besides, people prefer to read something brief but information-packed, so don’t worry that a short report is too insubstantial.)

What should you write about?  Ideally, you want to write on a topic that you feel your prospect wants to read and you know more about.

If you’re not sure you can find a topic, try this quick brainstorming exercise.  Draw a line down the middle of a sheet of paper.  On the left side, make a list of problems or concerns your target market has (that are somehow related to your services and knowledge).  On the right, make a list of possible solutions that you could recommend to help them fix those problems or address those concerns.

I’d be willing to bet at least one of those solutions is worth a short report.  To develop the report, consider these questions:  What (if anything) keeps your prospective clients from enacting the solutions you recommend?  What background information do they need to understand how to implement your solution?  What are all the practical steps they need to take?  Writing answers to those questions will get you a long way toward a full special report.

If you’re a first-time author, the next thing to do is to get someone you trust (a friend, preferably one who is NOT a CPA) to read the report and tell you honestly where they have questions or where they’re confused.  Use those comments to add information you might have skipped because you took it for granted or to clarify passages where you’ve used technical language.  Get someone else you trust to proofread it, and you’re ready to make copies of the special report that you can offer to current clients and to prospects.

Once you have written the report, it’s like magic: you are now an author and an expert. You have instantly differentiated yourself from your competitors.

Salim Omar, CPA is a best selling author, thought leader and mentor for CPA firms. He is considered by many as THE “CPA Practice Coach” because he owns and runs a successful CPA practice so he understands what it takes to create and sustain a thriving firm. To learn how you you can transform your practice, go to