Does This Sound Legitimate to You?

Today I got an email from a marketing firm that specializes in helping CPA firms market their services. The sender of the email was inquiring about whether I charge hourly or fixed fees, and what my hourly rates are. He said his client, a CPA firm didn’t want him to mention their name.

I thought this a bit odd. After all, why would I give this kind of confidential information to a marketing firm for use by their CPA firm client? The sender replied that the CPA firm had a potential fraud case to refer out and “… they want to size the fees.” And that he would go “elsewhere” if I wasn’t interested.

My response:

I’ve never heard of a CPA firm referring a case out via their marketing firm. This just doesn’t pass the smell test for me. I’d be happy to talk with the firm directly, otherwise, I’ll have to pass.

What do you think? Was the email a legitimate request based upon a case that needs to be referred out? Or was it a marketing professional making up a story to get confidential data that may help his client?

3 thoughts on “Does This Sound Legitimate to You?”

  1. Sounds a bit fishy. I wouldn’t think twice about moving on to other opportunities.

    When I worked for various accounting companies (as an employee) I never heard of a firm using it’s marketing firm to approach a potential local (I’m assuming it was local in your case) partner.

    Many “experts” say that if a client relationship doesn’t seem right at the start you should pass, as it likely will not get better. Probably good advice in this case.

    You have other fish to fry 🙂

  2. I love it when people agreed with me. They guy said I sounded too suspicious of people. I took that to mean he was disappointed that I figured out he was just trying to weasel information out of me. 🙂

  3. We get these types of calls all the time at our firm. Many times it is a voicemail.

    For instance, “This is Joe Schmoe from Super Duper Business Builders, Inc. and we have a large account we would like to refer to you. Can you give me a call back at 123-456-7890?”

    Of course, there is no particular client that they have in mind. They just use it as a means in the door so that they can work with you to get you clients. As far as I am concerned, it is an out and out lie. Why would I want to work with someone whose first contact with me is to tell me a bold faced lie? Needless to say, I do not return these phone calls.

    I am also a member of the Professional Association of Small Business Accountants (PASBA), and we have discussed this at length in our forum there. Several members were taken for several thousand dollars, and guess what – NO CLIENTS!

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