Marketing and Websites For Accountants: The Official W4A Blog

Turbo Charge Your CPA Website with Online Accounting Software

Is your accounting software keeping you tied to your office because you’re still using yesterday’s tech? With online accounting software becoming the standard of the day, you should be able to access your accounting software any time from anyplace through your website.

Today’s CPA and accounting websites help you accomplish this by using web-based, or “cloud” solutions. These systems have become very sophisticated; perfectly suited to professional accounting services. Cloud accounting not only makes your job easier and more convenient, it makes your entire firm more efficient and improves your marketing potential.

Remote Staff
Every year your firm hires temporary staff to help meet the demands of tax season. It’s just cheaper to have these staffers work at home than to host an office space they would only use a few days per month. The cloud accounting software linked to your website permits you to access central data and files anytime they are needed.

Monitoring remote staff is easy. You and your supervisors can access their work files any time.

Clients can enter their accounting information themselves, right over your website; at their convenience. Those files are always available, day or night, to anyone who needs them: No more file transfers, no more FAXes, no more emails, no more overnight express.

Cost Benefits
All this allows you to service more clients with fewer staff, and that means more profit.

Web based solutions also reduce the need for travel since the most of your work can be done from the office (or even your home). Cloud accounting can eliminate or reduce transportation, accommodations and food expenses.

Clients benefit as well. They no longer need to provide work space and accommodations like copiers and printers.

Online access can reduce (and for small firms even eliminate) the need for an in-house staff. Supplanting in-house accounting staff can tremendously reduce overhead costs for these businesses.

Accounting firms can boast improved efficiency and lowered costs to prospects. These savings can then be passed on to customers while maintaining profit margins.

There is no corner of the world that online marketing software can’t reach. It is no longer necessary to meet clients face to face. Firms specializing in things like expatriate services will find this technology has revolutionized the way you market your practice.

This is Not the Future
Cloud accounting is no longer the future, it’s the here and now of accounting technology.

Accounting, audit and tax services can all managed online, now. Accounting firms that choose not to integrate internet-based technology into their company CPA website design will find that they are falling behind, and will find it much more difficult to remain competitive in the future.

How to Market on the Web like a Champ

If you’re not already online you’ve already made your first mistake. Five years ago a website was the key to getting ahead. Now? Now you need a website just to keep up.

You can’t just be online to get ahead. You need to be the practice who “gets it”. There are few insults in the parlance of tech savvy young people as devastating as, “You suck at interwebz.”

Accountants who aren’t prepared to meet the unique challenges of successfully managing an online presence are putting themselves at a significant competitive disadvantage.

In this piece, we will examine my favorite online marketing pitfalls. Let’s take a look at how to handle your digital presence so that it brings in more clients, rather than simply creates more headaches.

Keep the following points in mind as you formulate a strategy for keeping your customer relationships strong, even online.

Make Your Blog A Community Event
You blog is your online persona, make it a fun place to visit. Don’t just write a few articles a month and let them ferment. Promote them. Encourage comments, and when you get them, respond to them!

People who give you feedback in the form of a blog comment are not only expressing enthusiasm for your content, they have generously given you their valuable time. Return that respect in kind. Of comments are negative think of them as an opportunity. Be understanding, show your professionalism, and you also keep the situation from getting out of control.

You’ll find that making your blog an interactive community is the best way to keep people interested in it. If you ignore comments, on the other hand, people will be far less likely to try to engage your blog, or you.

Answer Emails Immediately
Whenever possible you should answer emails the same day you receive them, if not as soon as you get them. 

This is the biggest mistake a lot of businesses make with online marketing. This isn’t the age of the pony express. There’s no good reason not to answer emails right away.

Yes… Set your email up with an autoresponder, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Answer in person as quickly as possible. Show people their email matters to you. Even if you don’t have the answers right on the spot, saying so right away shows the person contacting you that you value them.

Actively Manage Your Forums
Not many accounting or CPA practices are adding forums to their websites, yet. Those that do, however, find that they attract attention, engage prospects, and give their clients more ways to reach them.

Forums need to be actively managed. Don’t ignore posts. Engage them yourself if nobody else does.

Keep your forums tidy. Spam and otherwise inappropriate posts should be promptly removed.

I find most CPA and Accounting firms are comfortable marketing themselves on LinkedIn and even Facebook, but many still shun Twitter. It’s time to get over that.

Twitter’s here to stay. Many of your clients and prospects are already deeply involved in it. “Tweeps” do reach out to businesses over this platform, but more importantly they talk. Whether you realize it or not people are talking about you on Twitter, and it’s more than a little likely there are people listing.

Cultivate Social Media Contacts
Engage people who contact or comment about you in social media. It doesn’t matter whether the comment is negative or positive, it deserves a response. Be grateful for positive feedback, and be patient and understanding with nay-Sayers.

Don’t ignore comments, good or bad. Remember, ignoring your clients online is a surefire way to lose business.

Take the Web Seriously
Some of us older folks have gotten into the habit of thinking about online communication as somehow less meaningful or less important than written or spoken messages. This is a terrible mistake.

Nobody writes letters anymore. Email has not provided an alternative to snail mail, it has actually replaced it. Treat every email with the same time and respect you would give to a hand-written letter.

Keeping in good contact with your customer base and “keeping them in the loop” will help strengthen your connection to your clients and improve your professional image online for years to come.

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