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Build Your Firm — Website Development & Internet Marketing

From the Dec. 2007 Feature on
Website Builders for Accountants

As a website development option for professional accountants, Build Your Firm
is unique in many ways, not the least of which is that the company’s president
is a CPA with an active practice. This surely keeps the needs of most practitioners
in clear focus, since he encounters the same workflow processes and firm needs.
Another differentiating point is that Build Your Firm’s offering is full-service,
meaning that the vendor handles all of the website setup, editing and maintenance
requirements. Working with the professional practice, Build Your Firm’s
websites can include various calculators, calendars and online newsletter articles,
along with several other tools for clients, including secure online transfer
capabilities for large data files.

company helps firms register their own unique web address and provides hosting
and registration as a part of the service. Domain names remain the property
of the accounting firm, which allows them to easily move hosting if they ever
wish to. As noted, websites are completely created and customized by Build Your
Firm staff, with the professional practice deciding themes, styles, navigation
menus and other components but remaining hands-off on the work, although administrative
functions like website visitor tracking tools can be accessed and used by firm
staff. Websites of any size can be created and maintained through this service.
Build Your Firm’s websites are very professional in appearance and have
excellent design and navigation components.

All professional firm sites are unique and maintain the professional practice’s
logo and other branding elements throughout. Build Your Firm provides many marketing
services to professional practices, so its web services are also geared toward
marketing goals of building client bases and cross-selling existing clients.
The vendor submits sites to search engines and uses optimization techniques
to help them get prominently listed in major search engines like Google and
Yahoo! As noted, all website setup and maintenance tasks are performed by the
staff at Build Your Firm, but the company also provides free technical support
online and via phone.

Automated financial and tax articles and other content are included as a part
of the website and Internet marketing package that Build Your Firm offers. This
includes more than 10 new client-focused articles each month, which helps provide
website visitors with useful information on tax and financial issues like tax
and estate planning, retirement savings, college deductions and other issues.
This can also drive the clients to seek additional firm services. All of the
content is also archived, with the total library now housing more than 300 articles.
Firms can also utilize the content for print or e-mail newsletters.

In addition to this content, Build Your Firm includes numerous calculators
and has an online data transfer function, which simplifies the process of clients
sending their accountant their financial data files, tax organizers or other
information. The system also includes five e-mail accounts that can be locally
managed with Microsoft Exchange or can be hosted and accessed online at any
time. A PayPal option can also be integrated to allow practices to accept bankcard
payments without setting up merchant accounts.

Build Your Firm is not a do-it-yourself template-based system for building
websites. Rather, it offers professional accounting and tax practices a truly
customized option using professional website developers who do all of the work,
including setup and edits. This full-service option is comparable in price to
self-maintained options and includes useful financial content and file transfer
options. Websites are professional and designed specifically for accounting
practices. Build Your Firm’s website development services have an initial
setup charge of $250, with ongoing hosting and maintenance charges of $1,000
per year ($250 per quarter). This fee also includes the spam filtering program,
which was recently added to the vendor’s website service. (Build Your
Firm noted that the $250 setup fee is waived for accountants who attend the
vendor’s One Day Accounting Marketing Workshop.) The secure client transfer
option costs an additional $240 per year. Credit card processing and enhanced
search engine placement services, including pay-per-click listings on Google,
are also available for additional costs.