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Firm Management

2019 Review of Website Builders for Accounting Firms

Web visitors make snap judgements in under 5 seconds, and if your web design comes up wanting, it’s likely that your firm will as well. Remember, for many of your potential clients, their first impression of your firm will be via your website.


Web visitors make snap judgements in under 5 seconds, and if your web design comes up wanting, it’s likely that your firm will as well. Remember, for many of your potential clients, their first impression of your firm will be via your website. They won’t be walking into your office to assess your competency. Instead, they will sum up your competence and expertise based on their initial reaction to your website. Is this unfair? 

Maybe, but it’s also a fact. Today, visitors to your website will judge your firm’s competence on a number of things that have nothing to do with the level of expertise that your firm offers. Instead, your firm will be judged on how fast your website loads, how easy it is to navigate, how streamlined the pages are, how useful the content is.

Here are a few things you can do to keep visitors engaged on your website and ensure a favorable impression: 

  • Make sure your website loads fast. No one will stick around to see your great web design if it takes more than a few seconds to load.
  • Give them a reason to stay on your site – and to return. Keep content fresh, change out photos and banners periodically, and get rid of out-of-date materials. If your website always looks fresh, your visitors will know you care about the impression you make, and that should carry over to their desire to interact with your firm.
  • Keep your visitors engaged. Offer a free download, an online calculator, a free newsletter, or even a short eBook that they can download. Give them something to sign up for. Signing up is the first step to future engagement. 
  • Make your firm offerings clear. Now is not the time to be modest. Do you offer same-day appointments? Do you offer a free consultation? Display those offers prominently. If the details are buried under a ton of content, no one will take the time needed to find them. Give potential clients a reason to click on that Contact Us button.
  • Mobile-friendly matters. More than 50 percent of first-time visitors to your website are likely accessing it from their cell phone. You can have the best web design in the universe, but if it doesn’t show up well on a mobile device, this can deter possible clients.

Fortunately, you don’t have to learn web design in order to have a beautifully created website. In fact, there are a variety of website design applications that take the complexity out of web design, making it easy to create and manage your website. These do-it-yourself applications include:

If you have absolutely no desire to create a website, even using the tools and resources included in the products listed above, no need to worry. We’ve also included some custom products that specialize in building custom websites for accountants and CPA firms. These products include:

Don’t become a bad statistic because your website isn’t up to today’s demanding standards. Instead, use the tools and resources available in the applications above to help you create an informative, engaging website that visitors will choose to explore and return to again and again.


Editor’s Note:

In many of the reviews included in CPA Practice Advisor, the product reviewed is recommended for a particular firm size. In the majority of instances, this information comes directly from the vendors themselves, as many of the software products on the market today are created with a particular end user in mind. However, when that information is not immediately provided, this recommendation can be derived from a variety of things, including the following:

  • Product plan options – If a product offers scalability and a choice of several plans, that usually indicates that it’s suitable for firms of any size. However, a single plan option with few add-on features ususally means that the product will perform better for smaller firms or businesses. 
  • Multi-user capability – some applications offer limited user options. If this is the case, the product is typically better suited for smaller firms, since they will have a smaller number of users.
  • Price points – pricing can sometimes play a role in determining the size firm a product is best suited for. For instance, while per-user pricing is an affordable option for firms with 10 or less users, it can quickly become a sticking point for firms with upwards of 50 users. 
  • Features – the number of features available in an application is often directly related to the complexity of the application and who it is optimally designed for. The office that purchases QuickBooks Online in many cases is not the same office that would purchase NetSuite, though that is not always the case.

In any review, we will try to determine what size firm or business the reviewed product is best suited for. That said, a product best suited for a small to mid-sized firm certainly does not mean that a larger firm could not reap any benefits from using that product. It only means that the features and functionality in that application work best in smaller firms.  It’s entirely up to you; our readers to determine whether any product is suitable for your firm. We just try to point you in the right direction. 



See inside December 2019

AICPA News – December 2019

AICPA News is a roundup of recent announcements from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.