Watch the Pendulum Swing by Sir Tax-A Lot | AccountingWEB

Watch the Pendulum Swing by Sir Tax-A Lot

By Allan Boress, CPA - Four years ago I wrote an article on the 16 reasons Hillary couldn’t lose the presidency. Although I may still be proven correct, not even the highest paid political consultants predicted she would be taken down by an unknown senator from her home state.

What’s this got to do with CPA firm marketing? It helps you understand the highly powerful concept of the emotional pendulum that I first wrote about in The “I-Hate-Selling Book”.

Every marketer knows that people are driven primarily by their emotions. Selling into the emotions is Madison Avenue 101. What many DON’T get is that these emotions are never stagnant, never stable; they always fluctuate. You can never take the buyer for granted. Look at how the public has felt about Brittany Spears over the years…

Here’s your Pepsi Challenge: monitor how you are feeling all day long. Are you feeling happy? Sad? Frustrated? Mad? (Maybe I could be a rapper…call me Sir Tax-A-Lot.)

So, you’re driving down the road, groovin’ to some classic tunes. I’m talkin’ REAL rock n’ roll, The Kinks:

I'm not content to be with you in the daytime
Girl I want to be with you all of the time
The only time I feel alright is by your side
Girl I want to be with you all of the time
All day and all of the night
All day and all of the night
All day and all of the night…

You are feeling SO good. Who needs drugs to get high??? And then some dork in a Mercedes convertible with vanity license plates from New York cuts you off and you are off-roading in your Toyota Corolla.

Your emotions have flipped from happy to murder in less than 3 seconds.

The emotional swings affect all of our marketing. How people feel about your firm and your work today may not at all be the same tomorrow. If you have a positive market presence, you got one way to swing, baby.

Sixteen years ago – exactly – Mrs. Clinton’s other half was in the process of being written off by the media. All sorts of bad things were coming out about Slick Willie: he smoked marijuana, he was a serial womanizer, he dodged the draft, bimbo eruptions were happening all over the place and people flat out predicted he would withdraw. Pendulum position: negative, very.

Understanding the power of the emotional pendulum, I predicted that he would win handily in November, 9 months later. Why? He had one way to swing: negative to positive.

Same thing applies to you and your marketing: firm got problems? People have short memories. Help the pendulum along and prod it positive. You got one way to go.

Conversely, Hillary entered the presidential race two years ago with 80% of registered democrats behind her. Pendulum position? Positive – way too positive – way too early. She had one way to swing, and we have all watched her go negative.

Meanwhile Obama is enjoying the mid to top level of his popularity and momentum. Which way does he have to go? IT’S ONLY FEBRUARY.

Also, look at Senator McCain. Taken for dead in August (negative position) he wins the nomination and it ain’t even close.

So, we can watch the political pendulum swing and apply the lessons to our own marketing and firm.

The lesson in our CPA firm is we have worked hard to get market impression, positions of high visibility in our target market, and lots and lots of positive word-of-mouth. We have to work really, really hard to keep that feeling going – to keep the pendulum positive. Because left by itself our marketing and popularity will swing negative, just as it has for Mrs. Clinton.

Election prediction? Clinton wins. Where is your firm on the emotional pendulum? What do you need to do to get it positive – and keep it there? Or will the partners continue to ignore the importance of public relations and positive marketing messages, leaving them and the firm wide open to Barack Obama, CPA?

This blog

by Allan Boress, CPA - Based on over 25 years being a practitioner and consultant to the profession. Mr. Boress is the author of 12 published books in 6 different languages, including a best-seller, The "I-Hate-Selling" Book.

More from this blog

Bloggers crew

Steve Knowles has spent 25 years in business and practice in the UK, but he also worked in the states and the years haven't dulled his way of seeing an alternative view to everyone else, and every day is a new adventure.


Joel M. Ungar, CPA is a lifelong resident of the Detroit area and a graduate of The University of Michigan. He is a principal with Silberstein Ungar, PLLC, a Top 15 auditor of SEC public reporting companies.


Allan Boress, CPA, with over 25 years as a practitioner and consultant to the accounting profession. Mr. Boress is the author of 12 published books in 6 different languages, including a best-seller, The "I-Hate-Selling" Book.


Larry Perry, CPA, CPA Firm Support Services, LLC, is the author of accounting and auditing manuals, author and presenter of live staff training seminars, and author of webcast and self-study CPE programs. He blogs about small audits, reviews, and compilations.

Sandra Wiley, COO and Shareholder, is ranked by Accounting Today as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Accounting as a result of her prominent role as an industry expert on HR and training as well as influence as a management and planning consultant. She is also a founding member of The CPA Consultant's Alliance. Sandra is a certified Kolbe™ trainer who advises firms on building balanced teams, managing employee conflict and hiring staff.

Maria Calabrese, CIR, Human Resources manager for Fazio, Mannuzza, Roche, Tankel, LaPilusa, LLC in Cranford, New Jersey, Maria's topics revolve around the world of: Mentoring, Performance management, and The "Y Generation," a.k.a. "The whY generation".


William Brighenti is a CPA, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified [Business] Valuation Analyst, operating an accounting, tax, and QuickBooks consulting firm in Hartford, Connecticut, Accountants CPA Hartford.


Ken Garen, CPA, is the co-founder and President of Universal Business Computing Company (, a software development firm of high-volume, high-productivity accounting and payroll technology.


Eva Rosenberg, MBA, EA, is the publisher of, and author of the weekly syndicated Ask TaxMama column. She provides answers to tax questions from taxpayers and tax professionals worldwide.


Amy Vetter, CPA, CITP is the CPA Programs Leader for Intacct Corporation responsible for leading the CPA/BPO Partners nationally.

Brian Strahle is the owner of LEVERAGE SALT, LLC where he provides state and local tax technical services to accounting firms, law firms and tax research organizations across the United States. He also writes a weekly column in Tax Analysts State tax Notes entitled, "The SALT Effect." For more info, visit his website:
Scott H. Cytron, ABC, is president of Cytron and Company, known for helping companies and organizations improve their bottom line through a hybrid of strategic public relations, communications, marketing programs and top-notch client service. An accredited consultant, Scott works with companies, organizations and individuals in professional services (accounting, finance, medical, legal, engineering), high-tech and B2B/B2C product/service sales.

Rita Keller is a nationally known CPA firm management consultant, speaker, author, mentor and blogger. She has over 30 years hands-on experience in CPA firm management, marketing, technology and administrative operations.

Stacy Kildal is the mom of two fantastic kids, an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Certified Enterprise Solutions ProAdvisor, Sleeter Group Certified Consultant, a nationally recognized member of the Intuit Trainer and Writer Network, and co-host of RadioFree QuickBooks.
Michael Alter's blog specializes in providing practical advice to those who seek greater profitability and practice management tactics that enhance deeper client relationships.

Sally Glick, CMO, Principal, Marketer of the Year in 2003 and AAM Hall of Famer in 2007, leads a lively discussion of the constantly expanding roles of marketing and the professional marketers that drive this initiative in accounting firms of all sizes.


The IMA Young Professionals Blog features the insights of IMA’s Young Professionals Committee. Committee members share advice and experiences on careers, continuing education, work/life balance, and other issues affecting young accounting and finance professionals.


FEI Financial Reporting Blog provides highlights from SEC, PCAOB, FASB, IASB, and other regulatory news, including reporting under Sarbanes-Oxley Sect 404. It is written by Edith Orenstein, Director of Technical Policy Analysis at FEI.


Sue Anderson has 30 years of experience in continuing education for accountants. Currently she is the program director for online CPE provider CPE Link.


Jim Fahey is COO of Apple Growth Partners, a regional CPA firm in Ohio. His focus is on the effective and efficient use of technology within the firm by all team members.

Caleb Newquist is the Editor-in-Chief of Sift Media US, overseeing content for both AccountingWEB and Going Concern.

Leita Hart-Fanta, CPA, CGFM, and CGAP is the author of "The Yellow Book Interpreted" and owner of a website devoted to training for governmental auditors.


AccountingWEB is more than just a U.S. team of journalists and financial and technology experts - we have an international side, too! Members of our British team who publish share their ideas, insights, and perspectives from across the pond.