CPA’s and Enrolled Agents can now earn up to 24 hours of free continuing education credits with the purchase of Build Your Firm’s website service. This offer is for the Premier and/or Niche websites.
The free CPE courses are offered by WiseGuides. All of the courses are online, so no travel required, and the number of courses offered is extensive.
The incentive is extremely aggressive for accountants who do not already have a Build Your Firm Website. Below is the incentive:
- earn up to 24 hours of CPE or CE credit for CPA’s and Enrolled Agents
- 60 day free trial
- no annual commitment (cancel at any time if not satisfied)
- SEO included – no extra fees
- includes email newsletter, portal, 134 calculators, client center and hosting
Check out examples of Build Your Firm websites for the following types of accounting firms:
Call us at 888-999-9800 x1 to discuss your online marketing needs.
While you were busy servicing clients, we managed to update our website presence. This was a huge undertaking and we’d be interested to hear your thoughts. Good, bad and indifferent.
Check out our new look at:
Let us know your thoughts on both websites. Thanks!!
The accounting industry is rapidly moving to “the cloud” to provide business owners and accounting firms with secure and reliable access to financial information in real time. Cloud9 Real Time is a leading provider of cloud hosting solutions for over 350 applications online. They offer two distinct cloud solutions: QuickBooks Hosting in a shared environment and their more robust, award-winning Private Cloud solution offering customized virtual servers. Through Cloud9, all data and applications are available in a secure, central location while providing the user access 24/7 from anywhere with internet connection. Cloud9 currently provides virtual office solutions to over 9,000 users and guarantees uptime of 99.999%.
The partnership was inspired by Build Your Firm President Allan Ratafia’s desire to help accounting firms operate more efficiently, and securely. Build Your Firm and Cloud9 expect that this alliance will improve accountants’ efficiency in two ways: by making it simple and easy for them to access QuickBooks remotely, and by better ensuring that their data is secure in the cloud. According to Allan, “Cloud9’s hosting capabilities enables progressive accounting firms to Work Smarter, Not Harder by reducing the need to send electronic files back and forth, which is archaic and wastes tons of time.”
Cloud9 Real Time and Build Your Firm will also collaboratively promote a Lunch & Learn educational series of webinars in 2013, which will be free for accountants to attend. The Lunch & Learn webinar series is expected to attract 12,000 – 15,000 accountants throughout 2013.
Blogs that are “integrated” into your website are an effective tool to grow your accounting practice.
By integrated, I mean the website domain address is the same as your website. The blogging software that we recommend is WordPress. Typically, the blog posts are questions that your existing clients ask and similar types of clients should be thinking about.
The benefits of using a blog that has the same branded look as your website and uses the same website domain address are:
- Higher placements in Google, Bing and Yahoo
- Higher brand awareness for your accounting firm
- Opportunity to establish yourself as a subject matter expert for a particular service or industry
Below are some examples of other accounting firms that are using blogs effectively:
In each of the cases above, the blog focuses on a niche set of accounting services and establishes the firm as experts in understanding the struggles that the reader faces, the unique set of rules and regulations they are facing. And by working with an accounting firm that understands these unique challenges, they are able to attract clients from a broader geographic area and less likely to compete on price, which we all hate.
After tax season, you should consider adding a blog to improve the QUALITY of your accounting practice.
A federal judge has stopped the IRS from imposing a competency exam and new regulations on tax preparers. In other words, there will be no RTRP. The government can seek to appeal. Details at:
Each and every day, small businesses compete directly against the big guy and succeed. This is done by changing the rules of the game and competing selectively. Overtime, the small entrepreneurial firm becomes one of the big guys and we forget about their rags to riches story.
At one time, Nike was a start-up operation started by a University of Oregon college track coach Bill Bowerman and his former middle-distance runner. That middle-distance runner was a degreed accountant from the University of Oregon named Phil Knight. Both invested $500 to form a partnership in 1964 and today, Nike is a global athletic manufacturer with $20 billion in sales. At the time, Nike sneakers were totally different from Converse, Keds and traditional sneakers on the market. $20 billion of growth in four decades is pretty impressive and now they are THE global juggernaut in athletic footwear, apparel and sporting goods.
So can a small start-up operation with limited funds compete against Nike and other global operators like Adidas, Reebok, and Russell Athletic? Of course. However, the mouse trap must be unique and compelling.
In 1996, a former University of Maryland football player named Kevin Plank was convinced that a moisture wicking fabric could help regulate the body temperature of athletes better than cotton t-shirts. With $20,000 of his own money and $290,000 in loans, he started his own athletic apparel company from his grandmother’s basement in Washington D.C. With the prototypes that were developed, his first sale was to Georgia Tech and fifteen years later, Kevin’s business does at least $1.4 billion in sales under the name of Under Armour. While I presume that someone like Nike may ultimately acquire Under Armour, Kevin has managed to create an attractive niche in a highly competitive industry.
Other examples that come to mind are Samuel Adams, Whole Foods, and Cirque du Soleil. In each of these cases, these start-ups have figured out ways to create a niche in the market without relying upon discounting their price. In each example, they command an attractive premium and compete with larger competitors with very deep pockets.
With this orientation, you can probably tell that I would NOT recommend that a new accounting firm compete directly with larger, more established accounting firms by targeting medium and large-sized businesses. Here are some examples of how the sole accounting practitioner can win:
- Hire a website development provider that knows how to develop a “branded” website which puts your best foot forward so you can compete with more established accounting firms. Many established accounting firms have websites that suck. The internet is an easy way for small accounting firms to compete effectively. Also, this website must be search engine optimized so it is towards the top of search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.
- Blog on your website. The blog should be integrated into your website (same domain name). The major search engines will reward you by elevating your firm in the search engines.
- Write a newspaper column – Most local newspapers are struggling financially as the internet has cut holes into their business model. As a result, the editorial departments in most local newspapers are starving for reliable content from someone with your expertise.
- Start a radio program – In smaller markets, radio can be a way demonstrate your expertise and create awareness for your accounting practice. For years, financial planners have been hosting retirement planning call-in shows on the radio. Why not start a small business accounting and tax issue radio program? If Dave Ramsey can talk about getting rid of debt, you have many topics to consider talking about. If you don’t want to commit yourself to hosting a call-in radio show, how about a cooperative approach with a DJ? In one market, we have a client that has created Tax Tuesdays where he is available for one hour each week to answer call-in tax questions or call his office during regular business hours.
If you are willing to create a unique and compelling point of difference like Phil Knight did with Nike, and Kevin Plank did with Under Amour, you too can create a foothold into the market. Be strategic about how you market your practice and then, Just Do It!