From the November 2012 Issue.
How many email addresses do you have or do you manage? You certainly have at least one for work, hopefully with your firm name as a part of the email address, but you may also be the person that email@example.com emails, or other variations, go to.
Then, you also have at least one personal email address, but possibly more than that. Off the top of my head, I have at least 14 email accounts. I’m not saying that I have to manually go and check 14 different accounts, since several of these email addresses are associated with my role as editor of this publication and are routed into my primary email account in Outlook.
Why so many work email addresses? Well, we have default corporate accounts, and then we get to choose more easily usable addresses (like firstname.lastname@example.org), and our magazine also has special topics throughout the year (such as our 40 Under 40, Readers Choice Awards and Innovation Awards) that are easier to manage with separate email addresses. Once again, they actually come into one singular account, so they can be managed pretty simply with a few Outlook rules. (I give a few pointers below.)
I also have at least six email accounts, however, that are either personal or related to my LLC or a various side project. Many of the tax and accounting professionals I meet have entities other than their practice, such as our own executive editor, Darren Root, who runs his accounting firm, the separate RootWorks consultancy, and also guides our editorial processes. As such, he has at least one email account for each of these entities (probably more than that), as well as personal email accounts.
As for my accounts, most of them feed into my personal computer’s Outlook Express, but I also have access to them online and from my mobile devices. I could probably let go of a couple (like the Yahoo! email I’ve had since 1996), but I have a sort of fondness for the old account. It is pretty much unusable these days due to spam, but I do keep it active and use the account occasionally when signing up for things online.
Your Email Name Reflects Your Brand
This may seem excessive, particularly to professionals with only two or three total email addresses, but it’s partly process driven, and also to protect the different brands of each activity. Having your company/firm name in your email is essential, because it reinforces branding, whereas using a generic free email account (like Yahoo! Or Gmail) simply looks unprofessional.
While every firm should have a website that reflects its brand, those who don’t can still get personalized firm email addresses that reflect your practice name. Several vendors offer this option (Google the phrase “personalized email”), but another more professional option is offered by CPA2Biz, the business arm of the AICPA.
Their CPA.com Email Solutions, which won a 2012 Innovation Award, offers two options: Full email with send and receive capabilities, or an account that receives emails and forwards them to whatever existing email you currently have. Both options allow the user to select their address (such as Your_Firm@CPA.com). The Forward-Only version is under $30 per year, the full account is less than $100 per year.