Most firms relegate the accounting staff to corporate cubes; crunching their numbers, never to be seen unless needed to explain something to the non numbers types. Images of Bob Cratchit the underpaid clerk of Ebenezer Scrooge's comes to mind. Most small firms have an outside accountant to keep the books straight and make sure the IRS is happy.

No matter the size of your company you should include your accountant in your marketing planning.

What? Accountants in marketing? Yes! Here's why:

1. Budgets

Who better to help fine-tune the marketing budgets than the folks who are wholly immersed in the firm's finances? Having accounting at the table streamlines the budgeting process. They can help find funding where, perhaps, others would not. Having a number cruncher at the table will help set realistic projections based on past performance and anticipated market strength.

2. Market Performance

If your accountant is up to speed on your marketing plan she can provide insight into performance metrics that go beyond your spreadsheet. Their analysis of what is working (or not), and where, will be invaluable as you determine the effectiveness of a campaign. Are the labor expenditures moving into the red zone? Are the revenues segmented, or is the whole campaign a success?

3. Market Research

Smart firms rely on more that a SWOT analysis when considering breaking into a new markets. The information provided by your corporate financial whiz will be an important factor in the decision. What financial resources are available? How long can the firm sustain the new endeavor before the first project comes in? Are there any unseen hazards lurking beneath the surface? What are the short and long-term economic projections for your firm, market and industry?

There are very few firms who wouldn't benefit from accounting expertise in the marketing group. Free them from the cubes, they have so much to offer.