Customer Story

Forbes & Company

Forbes & Company

Forbes & Company is a full-service accounting company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1997, the company has seen an exciting path from an individual entrepreneur to a father-son team, and now to a well-rounded staff of bookkeeping, payroll and tax specialists.

The back story

Ask Steve Forbes, Jr., CPA and managing partner of Forbes & Company, how he handled marketing before using Rightworks’ OC+ service (now called Marketing Solutions), and he’ll cheerfully admit that it amounted to occasional newsletters and infrequent email blasts. It wasn’t ideal, but with his staff at capacity it was at least a way to communicate with clients.

In 2016, Steve bought another firm, which allowed him and his team to expand advisory services into the real estate and professional services verticals. They grew even busier, which meant marketing was frequently pushed aside so they could continue to serve clients with personalized service and top-notch efficiency.

By 2020, Steve realized that referrals and new business had actually decreased year over year—and he knew it was because they didn’t have time to spend on marketing. With future plans to move the firm from Atlanta to Alpharetta, he was nervous that moving out of the metro area would sever the connection to referrals for the type of clients the firm wanted to serve.

He knew things had to change.

“Outsourcing our marketing communications to Rightworks is paying off big! We use Rightworks Marketing Solutions service and highly recommend it. The first client we brought on board (via a strong digital email program) referred a friend to us who turned out to be another GRADE A client. This makes two ideal clients (at $2,000 per month) brought on as a direct result of the superior email campaigns executed by our dedicated MS+ manager. Great results from a great organization!”


Living the MS3 life

Forbes & Company originally became a Rightworks Academy member when their firm expanded in 2016. In 2020, when Steve learned about Rightworks’ OC+ service (now MS3)—which supports firms with marketing communications, client reviews, and Google Business Profile account and social media management—he was interested, but not quite ready to jump in.

He started talking to other member firms about their experiences with MS. The reports were good. In fact, Shannon Summersgill, CPA (and long-time MS3 user), took the time to visit with Steve and explain her success with MS3, including exceptional lead generation and revenue growth. That sold Steve, and he hasn’t looked back.

Thanks to his MS3 account manager, the pressure has been lifted not only from his shoulders, but from his wife Sarah Forbes’ (the firm’s office manager) shoulders as well.

“Before MS3, every six months Sarah and I would run into frustrations over marketing. I’d say we needed to do more of it, and Sarah would say yes, she knew that, but her team was so busy doing other work that there wasn’t any time—plus they had no one to create content.”

That’s no longer an issue. Rightworks provides plenty of fresh content that’s relevant to the firm’s clients.

Steve is not trying to grow so much as get the right client mix. That’s why he’s unapologetically picky about who they take on as clients. When asked how many they’ve added as a result of the MS3 email campaigns, he’s honest:

“It’s only a couple so far, but they’re homerun, high-dollar, profitable clients who are right in our wheelhouse—two more ideal clients.”

So, can he put a monetary value on what he’s gained from MS3? Absolutely.

“We’ve gotten $3,800 a month of actual business directly tied to email campaigns. We’ve had other bites, too, but I’ve either turned them down or they weren’t a good fit. But I’d be shocked if the total amount of recurring business is any less than $5,000.”

Getting social with it

Prior to MS3, Forbes & Company had no real presence on social media. But now, between the increased presence and newsletters, their internal referrals have at least doubled. (Over the month prior to this interview, they were the subject of 555 searches.)

“If I was a client coming to look for my own firm a year ago, I wouldn’t have come to us. We didn’t have any reviews. We had an out-of-date website. We didn’t check any of the boxes for how I try to find a business. But right now, if you go to our Google (Business profile), we have 43 five-star reviews with a lot of really good things clients have said about us.”

When asked what the Forbes & Company staff think about the MS3 program, Steve says: “It’s funny, I never foresaw this when I signed up. We all look at everything our account manager sends us. It’s knowledge for us, too, and takes the burden off everyone to have to communicate the information. Everything that goes out makes us look like a modern firm—our social media channels are engaging, and we’re being interactive online with our clients and potential clients. I’ve had multiple staff members tell me it’s so cool that the Facebook page is rocking.”

Making the magic work…

So, what would Steve tell other firm leaders who are looking for a way to enhance their marketing?

He starts by expressing that MS3 is a really good fit for firms that are open to new and outside-the-box suggestions—who understand that marketing is a core component of a modern firm, and that having an online presence is important.

And like everything else at Rightworks, you don’t go it alone. When you sign up for MS3, you get a dedicated MS account manager to guide you at every step.

“Our MS account manager really looks out for us,” Steve says. “She’s a champion for us. You’re told you’ll get a marketing contact, but what you really get is more like a specialized marketing coach. We meet every month, and she keeps us going. She pushes us with gentle reminders that we won’t get the business unless we do what we need to do on our side in order to make the magic work.”