Have you ever wondered why accountants are so willing to accept the cookie cutter approach to a website?
Often, your website is the first opportunity to create an impression and it seldom is a good first step. By all means, the bar across the accounting industry has been raised but there are still many practices that don’t have a website, or it poorly represents the type of accounting firm that they are.
To me, the purpose of the website is to generate leads for your practice, “brand” your firm gradually over time and help you operate more efficiently. In other words, a website for a bookkeeping firm should look very different than a payroll firm. And a sole practitioner tax accountant should look different than a large CPA Firm with 5-10 partners and many staff members. And a boutique CPA Firm that focuses on non-profit accounting will look very different than an accounting firm focused exclusively on IRS Tax Resolution. That’s why custom website development is so important to creating the right, first impression and growing your accounting practice.
If you’d like a custom website designed around your accounting practice, call Build Your Firm. The monthly price is extremely reasonable and we will take responsibility for designing it around your unique set of services.
At certain times of the year, does this cartoon resonate with you?
If you’d like to avoid getting into this situation by having more control over getting paid, then attend the free webinar titled “Boosting Cash Flow – Essential Ways to Get Paid Faster”. The webinar is instructed by a practicing accountant that uses this electronic payment processing system to get paid faster and less expensively.
By all means, I understand that some accountants still resist the urge to embrace QuickBooks. Heck, I even remember accountants telling me how much better Thomson Reuter’s CBS and Peachtree were. After a decade of clinging to alternatives, it’s time to jump on the band wagon and swallow that bitter pill.
In December, Intuit will be launching a new certification called QB Online Advanced, to support their improvements to QB Online. By all means, I realize that it’s not elegant but it is better than it used to be. If you would like to improve your placement within Intuit’s Find-a-ProAdvisor website and continue getting leads from QB users (small business owners), please plan to take this certification in early December. Being one of the first to pass this will matter to your placement.
For small tax practices that want to acquire small business clients, here are my suggestions:
- Obtain at least four (4) QuickBook certifications. If you obtain all six (6), your placement will be towards the top.
- Support your profile completely with a picture, hyperlink to your website, and treat the profile like an advertisement, which it is.
- Encourage happy clients to post glowing reviews about your QB review and clean-up services.
- Support your QuickBooks concentration with a BYF website dedicated to your QuickBooks services, for more leads from Google, Bing and Yahoo.
Have you considered “unbundling” your services to attract more leads?
Over the past ten years, many industries have begun unbundling their services into smaller bite size nuggets to generate more inquiries for their services. Sometimes, this change is forced upon them and other times, it’s opportunistic to generate that initial discussion, which leads into multiple engagements down the road.
Unbundling has been huge for the music industry. In the olden ages, the music industry would bundle together a batch of songs (e.g., album) and sell the bundle for higher price. With the digital age, songs are now unbundled and purchased a la carte. As a result, the barriers between music artists and genres has lowered thus creating over 1,000 bewildering microgenres.
In the restaurant business, have you found yourself getting sucked into ordering tapas which end up costing you more than buying one comprehensive entrée? This is what unbundling your services can accomplish for your accounting practice.
To illustrate my point, have you considered delivering your services in the comprehensive manner that you’ve always done but also offering them in smaller pieces? In other words, breaking a full service, comprehensive set of “we do it all” into smaller micro websites which break the message into smaller, more meaningful a la carte pieces. Below are some examples:
Forensic Accounting – In addition to your main website which communicates your comprehensive forensic accounting services, have you developed micro websites which break forensic accounting into fraud investigation, litigation support, business valuation, expert witness, collaborative accounting, child support calculations, trial preparation, innocent spouse relief, etc.
International Tax – In addition to your main website, have you unbundled international tax into micro websites like expatriate taxation, foreign tax credits, transfer pricing, offshore voluntary disclosure (ODVI), immigration tax planning, tax inversion planning, multinational family tax planning, etc.
To be more specific, here is a live example of how one accountant has unbundled IRS Problem Resolution into delectable pieces of the pie.
Try the best of both worlds, deliver your corporate message in the full entrée manner that most restaurants serve food but also try a tapas approach with smaller micro websites that make it easier to sample your services.
One of the more attractive niches for accounting firms that have a strong expertise in tax is International Tax. As our economy has become more global, the need for accounting firms providing international tax services continues to grow faster than the supply. While some aspects of this niche are extremely complex, other aspects are not.
Below are some examples of accounting firms marketing their firm on the internet to generate more leads for International Tax related engagements:
There are many more subsegments of International Tax niche that are ripe to targeting prospective new clients.
Build Your Firm understands that marketing is all about the process of distinguishing how your services are unique and different from other providers in your local market. By creating a point of distinction, you reduce the need to compete on price. That’s why we take great pains in understanding how your practice in different than your local competitors rather than pigeon hole your services into a cookie cutter website development program.
For example, the website that we design for a large CPA firm with 5-10 partners is radically different than a Chartered Accountant operating in Canada or CPA in Puerto Rico. The same differences exist between a Tax Accountant who is an Enrolled Agent versus a boutique accounting firm focused exclusively on Non-Profit Accounting. These same changes exist between a franchised accounting firm website and another CPA Firm that provides financial services, needing approval from their broker/dealer for every single item on the website.
Below are some examples on how the content, photography, and overall look/feel are distinctly designed around different types of practices within the accounting industry.
Website Design by Accounting Firm Type and Size
Website Design for Non-Tax Firms
Website Development outside the United States
Niche Websites for Non-CPA Firms
If you’d like to truly differentiate your practice from all of the local competitors, call Build Your Firm to bring your story to life. Let us paint your canvass online.
For those that have upgraded to BYF’s Platinum Website service, the feedback has been very, very positive. The Payment Processing and Secure File Sharing tools have been a home run. Read the commentary yourself…
BYF’s Payment Processing tool has been so unique that a major accounting vendor will soon sell this as a standalone payment processing tool at nearly $40 per month. Yes, for this tool alone (no website or other benefits). As a result of this endorsement, we will rebrand ePay as BizPayO and are seeking to obtain a patent on this amazing tool. More on this later.
Here are the main reasons why you should consider upgrading to BYF’s Platinum Website service.
- BizPayo Payment Processing – This secure payment processing tool enables you to collect payment by ACH, Credit Cards, Debit Cards and Bank Wires when your fee is due. It captures both one time and recurring payments so you can dramatically reduce A/R. The chargeback tool for credit cards enables you to recapture the cost of credit card processing. This online payment processing tool is integrated into BYF’s Platinum Website so you get paid before releasing tax returns. The embed tool also works seamlessly with your billing software program.
- Secure File Transfer (256 bit encryption) – Up to 7 members of your firm can use this system as part of your Platinum service. This easy to use system eliminates those “I forgot my password” phone calls during tax season.
- Up to 24 credits of self study CPE / CE – Hundreds of courses to choose from. Good for CPA’s and EA’s.
- Local listings set up with Google and Yelp – BYF will claim your local listing and optimize it for higher visibility.
- Reputation Management tool – After claiming your local listings, BYF will add our reputation management tool to your website so you can obtain online reviews throughout the year and enhance your reputation locally.
Marketing your accounting practice online should be a priority if you want to get more than your fair share of new business. If you’d like to ramp up your marketing on the internet, here are several key things that you should expect from your accounting firm website in order to put your best foot forward and acquire many new clients.
- Create a website that “brands” your firm and creates a positive image in the minds of your clients and prospects. In simple terms, the website should create an image that is more favorable than if they walked into your office.
- The website must be easy to locate in Google, Bing and Yahoo. It must be search engine friendly and optimized for desktop computers, tablets and mobile devices using responsive design.
- Invest into pay per click and retargeting advertising. Pay per click advertising can drive immediate traffic to your website informing them about your accounting firm services. As they consider the decision over time, they start to see your retargeting advertising which makes your firm appear larger and seeks to pull them back to your website so they take action.
- Get reviews online to favorably influence your local reputation.
- Order a blog and have it integrated into your website. Be social. This will establish you as an subject matter expert and support your placement in Google, Bing and Yahoo.
- Use amazing photography to paint a picture in their minds and headshots of the key people in your practice. Don’t be headless.
- Your “About Our Firm” page should have some personality and illustrate your qualifications.
- Your firm phone number should be on every page of the website. Your goal is to obtain inbound phone calls from prospects. Make it easy for prospects to reach the right person in your firm.
If you’d like more productivity from your internet marketing, give us a call at 888-999-9800 x1.
Nearly every day, we all frequent a franchise business. Whether it’s a trip to the gas station, fast food restaurant, cup of coffee, frozen yogurt, automotive repair, lodging, fitness centers, and copy centers, we have all seen the growth of the franchise business model. Here are some facts that illustrate how big franchises have become:
- There are over 3,000 different franchisers operating in the US today.
- Franchises in the US provide nearly 18 million jobs.
- There are over 300 different industries for franchises.
- The franchise industry represents approximately 50% of all retail sales in US.
- Approximately 1 out of 12 businesses in the US is a franchise.
Given the sheer growth of franchises, it might be time to rethink your mindset towards franchised businesses. Here is a quick sampling of the opportunity you are missing out on.
Fast Food – McDs, Burger King, Wendy’s, KFC, Arby’s, Subway, Denny’s, Taco Bell, Bojangles, Moe’s
Novelty Food – Dunkin’ Donuts, Baskin Robbins, DQ, Edible Arrangements, Cold Stone, Cinnabon, Carvel, Ben & Jerry’s
Pizza – Domino’s, Papa John’s, Little Ceasars, Pizza Hut
Automotive Repair – Midas, Monroe Muffler, Jiffy Lube, AAMCO, Meineke, Maaco
Business Services – UPS Store, Minuteman Press, Fast Signs
Gas Stations/C Stores – 7-Eleven, ampm, Circle K
Lodging – Hampton, Days Inn, Motel 6, Hilton, Ramada, Holiday Inn, Knights Inn
Home Services – Servpro, ServiceMaster, The Maids, Merry Maids, Lawn Doctor, Weichert, RE/MAX
Retail – Ace Hardware, GNC, Radio Shack, True Value Hardware
Fitness – Planet Fitness, Golds Gym, Gymboree
To capitalize on franchise businesses, Chahal & Associates is aggressively target franchise businesses in fast food, retail, travel and auto repair with Build Your Firm’s assistance. Below are some of the franchise brands they’ve acquired already. Although it’s not sexy, ignoring franchises might be something that you regret in the future.