This paper highlights the colonization of public accounting firms by marketing expertise. Using data collected through interviews with auditors and marketing experts, complemented with data generated through documentary analysis, we examine the marketing-oriented transformations that took place in public accounting firms and the important outcomes ensuing from the spread of marketing ideology to the field of auditing. To carry out this work, we developed a customized conceptual framework aimed at enriching our understanding of the “marketization” of public accounting. Empirically, we document the development of various marketing strategies and the underlying translations of public accounting firm day-to-day activities (in terms of business relationships and technical advice) into marketing language. Our findings point to the transformation of public accountants to “part-time” marketers. The results are also suggestive of the colonization of public accountants' minds, whose core values are being subjected to the influence of marketing expertise. This shift engenders important consequences, particularly in potentially compromising auditor independence.

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