2008 Review of Website Building Tools for Tax & Accounting Pros

From the Dec. 2008 Issue

Do you have a website? What’s your web address? I’ll just visit your website. How frequently do you hear one of those questions or statements? Fairly often, I would guess. I would also guess that if you don’t have a website, you may frequently find yourself cringing whenever the subject of a website is brought up.

Aside from the obvious marketing advantage that a website brings, having a web presence is just about a necessity for any business that wants to compete in a 21st century electronic business world. A website sells your services to potential clients and offers benefits to current clients, as well. Websites are also the electronic equivalent of printed flyers and brochures. A website tells people who you are, what you can offer them, and most importantly, why you should be the one to provide those services to them.

While advantageous in just about any venue, a tax and accounting firm’s website can contain additional information that can prove to be of particular value to those looking for unbiased investment advice, general tax information, and educational tools that will make your clients better informed about their financial position today and 10 years from now.

It’s a tough economy out there today, and while relief may be in sight, it’s still a little too far away for many to relax. As a result, more people than ever will be looking for ways to maximize their income while saving securely for the future. A wise tax an accounting professional can easily provide financial tools, calculators and more, helping to ease the worry that has monopolized people’s lives lately, while also building and strengthening client relationships.

Numerous services are available to help you build a website, maintain it and allow interactive client participation such as financial planning tools, retirement tools and even online tax filing. While the tools vary widely from product to product, it’s certainly safe to say that even a small website of a few pages will bring a far greater return to the accountant than no website at all. And while word-of-mouth advertising is still important, it’s fair to say that more people than ever before are searching the Internet looking for information and service providers.

You can only make a first impression once. Your website reflects a very important part of your business, and frequently, it is the first thing people “meet.” An amateur website or no website at all is not the impression you want to make when meeting a potential client for the first time. Do it right the first time. These website builders designed especially for tax and accounting professionals make it easier and more affordable than ever before. While you may glance at your operating budget to determine if you can afford a website, the real question should be this: “Can you afford not to have a website?”

  • Websites are becoming more important for firms that wish to remain competitive.
  • Define your needs and what you want from your website prior to shopping around.
  • Do-it-yourself websites are common, with the ability to add and edit content as needed.
  • Templates and layouts vary widely, with vendors commonly offering between 50 to 150 different templates and layouts.
  • E-mail accounts are available for firm employees with most products.
  • Pre-written content is widely available.
  • Marketing and other custom services are also available.
  • Fees vary widely depending on site size, storage and other services available.
  • Spend time trying out demos to see if a vendor’s product is right for you.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

AccountantsWorld - Website Relief
AccountantsWorld offers professional accountants a suite of products designed to enhance client services, including a professional website building tool that provides a secure portal for both staff and clients.
Build Your Firm - Website Development and Internet Marketing
Website Development and Internet Marketing from Build Your Firm offers clients a website building tool that is designed around the needs of each particular firm. Introduced in 2003, the vendor’s Website Development and Internet Marketing continually adds new features and enhances existing features based on client feedback.
CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business- ProSystem fx Site Builder
More than a website builder, ProSystem fx Site Builder from CCH is designed to enhance your professional presence on the web, offering your clients up-to-date information and the necessary financial tools for their personal or professional use. ProSystem fx Site Builder uses a 12-step setup process that simplifies the website creation process.
CPAsites.com - CPASites.com
CPAsites.com offers custom designed websites. In business since 1997, CPAsites.com has extensive experience in website design and bases its designs on clients' existing websites or logos. CPAsites.com offers four levels of website services.
CPASiteSolutions - CompleteWebSuite
CompleteWebSuite from CPASiteSolutions offers customers a unique guarantee — that their website will get better each month. Confident of that claim, the vendor maintains near constant software upgrading, ensuring that customers have the latest technology when setting up their website.
Drake Software - 1040.com Preparer Websites
Introduced in 2000, Drake Software’s 1040.com Preparer Websites currently has more than 8,000 customers. Offering website building and hosting exclusively to those using Drake Software for client tax preparation, 1040.com Preparer Websites offer complete layout customization...
E. Mochila, Inc. - Websites for Accountants
Websites for Accountants offers tax and accounting professionals a professionally designed website that includes more than 150 default pages of prewritten content.
Tenenz, Inc. - AFSB
AFSB Accounting and Financial Site Builder was introduced in 1999. Offering unlimited web pages and continuous product updates, AFSB’s latest enhancements were added in September of 2008. These most recent updates include the addition of new templates that use CSS technology, the ability to use Flash technology on their web pages...
Thomson Reuters - Web Builder CS
Web Builder CS was launched in spring of 2000. Since then, the vendor has maintained a consistent history of updating the product, with the latest enhancements including updated calculators, new user templates and tax refund links.