How's Your Firm's Website?

As technologically reliant as modern tax and accounting professionals are, it is astounding, at least to me, that about half of practices in the U.S. don't even bother to have a website. Yet, that's what our annual reader surveys and Productivity Survey continues to show, and both correspond with measurements made by the AICPA and other organizations. There are surely countless reasons for these practice units not having a website, but most probably boil down to one of these: A) I Don't have time to build and manage a website B) We don't really need a website; or C) Too much hassle. First, all of these are lazy responses, of course. At the very least, a practice should have a basic website- which a non-web experienced person can create in about 10-15 minutes using simple tools available from many tech vendors, including most tax prep vendors, and companies like Intuit, Yahoo!, etc. The definition of such a "basic" website would be at least 4-5 pages, including your home page, an about us section, services, contact info and, perhaps, useful links. Most of the template-based website tools make this part easy. So, not really a hassle. As far as "needing a website," well, "need" and "should have" are two different things. Every firm can find value from a website, even at the most basic level. Most practices can also find value in offering more substantial website resources, such as financial and tax related content, enewsletters, blogs and calculators. In my June column in The CPA Technology Advisor, I will discuss some of the automated content systems that make it easy to provide useful information to clients and potential clients, as well as simple SEO strategies that help people find your website quickly when they do a search. It's 2010. There aren't any excuses to not have a website anymore. And it should offer valuable content to it's visitors, as well. While waiting on my June column, you might also want to check out this article from AccountingWeb, about blunders that accountants make on their websites.