Accountants should not hire Creatives, Would you hire a full time Plumber?

Occasionally someone reports a problem with the office loo. I grab my Fisher Price tools and wiggle a few nuts and washers, call in other directors to look at the problem and give their opinion, maybe even get someone to Google it. The time these clever people at Concep spend trying to solve the problem costs the company more in time and salary than if I had picked up the phone and called my brother in law, a plumber. George would have charged me by the hour, fixed it and then left but I would never consider bringing him on full time.  

Accountants shouldn’t hire ‘Creatives’ for the same reason that my Agency hasn’t hired a full time plumber – it just doesn’t make economic sense.

I think senior marketers have a place and can make a huge difference within a firm, and there are some great marketers within the Professional Services sector - I work with a few.

But, too often Partners hire marketers at the wrong level, resulting in the marketing function being too meek and not having the power or the influence to say “no that’s a bad idea, we need to do this...”  If you can’t get the non-experts to listen to marketing ideas, what value is there in having them there and what value do they really bring to the firm?

An obvious argument for keeping people in house is that they understand the business and are a part of the firm’s culture.

But is this:
a) A good thing? How creative and inspiring is the culture of an accounting firm, really?
b) True when referring to most marketing or design teams? If Marketing is not sitting on the board or at least exposed to the main business strategy, do they truly have more insight over an external resource?
c) Reliable? Is it easier for the board to share their two-year plan with an agency under a five-year NDA than a member of staff who may leave,  go to a competitor and is only restricted for six months?

My opinion: allow the lawyers, consultants, bankers and accountants to spend their energy on what they are trained to do and make the choice between marketing being a “colouring in department” compared to something that will really drive and differentiate the business. Firms should hire people at a senior level to drive the marketing strategy and let them manage a team, but if they cannot afford this, they should use an agency. Either way I still don’t see why a Professional Services firm needs an in house designer.