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Monday
Nov022015

Marketing Tips For the Busy Accountant

This post has been adapted from the AccountantsWorld Expert Webinar presented by Div Bhansali. Click here to download the full webinar presentation.

 

Most accountants are very busy people. Most accountants would also like to attract more prospective clients.

So how do you reconcile those two realities? Is it possible to succesfully market your accounting practice in a productive, time-efficient way? Yes - and this post will show you how.

Here are some concrete steps you can take to better market your accounting firm. Each of these tactics can be completed at your own pace, and none require more than an hour or two to get started.

(Note: Any companies that I reference below are based on my personal experiences or those of colleagues I trust. None have compensated me or AccountantsWorld for the mention.)

 

1. Maximize your local presence

if I asked you what adjectives describe you and your accounting firm, you might say "dependable", "high-integrity", or "trustworthy". Great. But here's another one: you’re also a LOCAL business. That’s not to say all of your clients are local – but rather to say geography matters. So when when it comes to marketing, you want to make sure you’re maximizing your home-court advantage. So how do we do that? Start with your local online presence.

Percentage of consumers who use the Internet to research products or services in their local area: 97%. 

 

 

 Let's start with search results on Google and Bing, since that's where so many prospective clients will be looking for a firm like yours. In search results like the one shown above, two critical things to get right are your ratings (usually represented by stars) and your contact information. Step one: make sure you're listed correctly on Google. Just go to Google's business page, claim your business, and verify that your business listing is correct and up-to-date.

So why is this so important? First, because Google is ubiquitous. They do search, they publish local contact info and directions, they publish reviews, and they publish Google+ pages. And they’re a dominant player in each of those areas.

The second reason to manage this data is that everything on Google is integrated. It may take you 20-30 minutes to get listed on Google (or update your listing), but after that your information immediately propagates on every Google property, and on every device that people might be searching for you on.

 

 

Step two: ensure that you're listed everywhere else. Now that you're set on Google, you can go to every other major online media and get your business verified... or you can use an aggregation service like Moz Local.

Moz Local scans about a dozen different online directories and sites, from Bing to Foursquare, and will tell you exactly where you have complete information and where you’re missing info. And then they’ll automatically complete that info for you everywhere, and provide great reporting to boot. If you’re OK with spending $84 to get listed everywhere, go to Moz. Otherwise, you can do it for free manually.

2. Get authentic client reviews

 

 

It's a great idea to ask your satisfied clients to write an online review about you on Yelp or Angie's List. However, it's NOT OK to tell them what to say. Both of these sites have sophisticated algorithms to detect when multiple reviews are using exactly the same language. Encourage your clients to describe your service in their own authentic words.

3. Revamp your printed materials

Business cards and brochures serve a different purpose than your website.

Business cards are most often being given to existing clients, or to other people who already have had a conversation with you. So you want to use them to extend your reach. Your cards should include a referral request - something along the lines of “If you love our service, please tell your network. Then tell us!”. Also make sure to list all of your social media accounts on your card. 

As far as card printing services, I use MOO for my own business, because their card stock and print quality are superb. (People comment frequently on how nice my cards are, which seems like a great way to start a conversation.) Vistaprint is also a solid option - it's less expensive, and still pretty good quality.

Brochures are different, because they are often being read by people who don't necessarily know much about you yet. Two tips for brochures:

  • List the benefits offered by your firm first, and the specific functions you provide second. This approach builds trust more quickly.
  • Have a clear call to action. Whether it's your phone number, website, or social media page, make it clear what you would like people to do after reading your brochure.

Ready to see the remaining tips to market your practice efficiently, including email newsletters, your website, and the most important source for paid leads? Click here for the full recording.

 

Friday
Oct022015

AccountantsWorld Executive Team Named to Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting by Accounting Today

 

AccountantsWorld co-founders Dr. Chandra Bhansali and Sharada Bhansali, along with company president Jeff Gramlich, were named to the Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting by Accounting Today magazine for 2015.Chandra Bhansali

 

Sharada Bhansali

 

AccountantsWorld has been a pioneer in cloud-based software solutions for accountants for over 15 years and is the only small company in the industry to have placed three people on the list.

“This truly is an outstanding honor to make this list once again. As a company, we are happy to see that our peers recognize our success and achievements. Having dedicated ourselves to helping accountants grow their practice and become more profitable through cutting edge software solutions, this achievement is very fulfilling,” said Dr. Chandra Bhansali, CEO.

 

This is the first time that all three have been included on the Top 100 list.

Jeff Gramlich

AccountantsWorld opened the first online portal for accountants in 1999, and since then has repeatedly identified ways to use new technology to serve the needs of professional accountants. From the earliest days of the Internet, Dr. Bhansali and his co-founder and wife Sharada understood that the Web would change the nature of accounting work, and could be used to foster stronger collaboration with clients and put unprecedented computing power in the hands of accounting firms of all sizes.  The result of that vision has been the development of the Power Practice suite of cloud-based solutions, designed exclusively to help accountants grow their practices and better serve their clients.

“What makes this list so special is that we ask candidates to name who they think are the most influential people in the field. The people who made the list were not chosen by the magazine, they were chosen by their peers. This makes the acknowledgement all that more important,” said Dan Hood, editor-in-chief of Accounting Today.

Congratulations to Chandra, Sharada, and Jeff! 

 


Tuesday
Sep152015

Accounting Power™ from AccountantsWorld Awarded Best Small CPA Firm Solution and Best Cloud Solution by K2 Enterprises

Hauppauge, NY, September 15, 2015 – Accounting Power™ from AccountantsWorld, a pioneer in cloud-based software solutions for accountants for over 15 years, has received two honors in the 14th annual K2 Technology Quality Awards, presented by K2 Enterprises. Accounting Power received both the Best Small CPA Solution and Best Cloud Power Solution awards this year, making AccountantsWorld one of only two professional solution providers to earn multiple awards from K2 in 2015. 

 “We’re thrilled that Accounting Power has been recognized once again for its unwavering commitment to the professional accountants,” said Dr. Chandra Bhansali, CEO and Co-founder of AccountantsWorld. “Our Power Practice System is the first fully integrated suite that harnesses the cloud to revamp every aspect of accounting practices and helps accountants greatly enhance their client services.”

Created with the professional accountant in mind, Accounting Power is shifting the paradigm of accounting, and as a result, is giving accountants greater control over their accounting services. Accounting Power helps accountants work collaboratively with their clients and easily customize their services to best meet each client’s needs.

 “AccountantsWorld has been an innovator in collaborative accounting for over a decade,” said Randy Johnston, Executive Vice President of K2 Enterprises. “Their model is ‘public accounting profession-friendly’, and they are one of the few entry-level products to include inventory, costing and payroll all in a SaaS product.”

 

About AccountantsWorld

At AccountantsWorld, we Put Accountants First. Our focus is on supporting accountants and revitalizing the accounting profession to make accounting practices more rewarding and profitable. Unlike most solution providers to accountants, we never sell any product or services directly to accountants’ clients or compete with them.

To help accountants capitalize on the billions of dollars’ worth of opportunities created by the cloud, we’ve created a complete suite of seven highly innovative breakthrough cloud solutions for accountants that are changing the landscape of two core services—payroll and accounting. These solutions put accountants back in the driver’s seat, regaining control of client accounting while working collaboratively with their clients. Our new model benefits both accountants and their clients, enabling accountants to better serve their clients while raising their own practices’ bottom line. Visit www.AccountantsWorld.com to learn more.


About K2 Enterprises

K2 Enterprises is a Hammond, Louisiana based organization that provides continuing professional education services to the accounting profession and marketing consulting services to technology providers in the accounting market. K2 Enterprises delivers approximately 900 educational programs to over 40,000 professional accountants on an annual basis throughout the United States and Canada. They are registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. Visit www.k2e.com for more information.

Monday
Jul272015

Where Are the Growth Opportunities for Accountants?

At first glance, it appears that there aren’t many bright spots for growth for accounting practices today.

For starters, look at the state of tax preparation. More and more clients are buying "do-it-yourself" tax programs and doing their tax returns themselves. Undoubtedly, the market for this service is shrinking.

What about client accounting? It's become a low-margin commodity service, thanks to the most widely used "do-it-yourself" accounting systems sold directly to small businesses. These pieces of software have taken control of many accountants' time and processes. Clients buy the software, but most don't know a thing about accounting, so they end up making bookkeeping messes. Professional accountants like you have to spend hours cleaning up those messes before they can do their professional work. You became an accounting professional so that you could add value to your clients' businesses, and give them the crucial business advice they need. But current circumstances make it difficult – if not impossible – do that.

If we look closely, we uncover a disturbing reality – and the reason that accountants have lost control of their core services (tax and accounting).

While technology has undoubtedly brought in tremendous benefits to accountants, it's also the cause of the diminished control that accountants now have over their core services, and of the marginalization of accounting practices.

The "do-it-yourself" (DIY) accounting systems and tax programs are products of the PC era. DIY accounting systems took control of accounting away from accountants, and DIY tax programs have taken a big bite out of the tax preparation business.

Meanwhile, payroll bureaus used the power of mainframe computers to capture payroll processing services from accountants. The tools accountants had in the 1980's and 1990's were no match for the power of these mainframe computers.

If accountants continue on the same path and keep surrendering more and more of their territory to the ever-increasing intrusion of external forces, the prospects for a brighter future for accountants will keep getting dimmer.

But fortunately, unlike previous technologies, new technological advances have created tremendous potential for accountants to recapture a good amount of business they had lost to external forces.

And that's not all. These technological advances have also created billions of dollars' worth of new opportunities for accountants.

The revolutionary cloud technology that has transformed so many aspects of our lives in sweeping ways has the potential to completely transform the accounting profession and help you revamp your practice.

Ready to learn more? Download our white paper today.

In this white paper, we'll review the major challenges accountants face in accounting today. These obstacles include:

  • Time spent on non-billable (or non-productive) tasks. This includes barriers like fixing client bookkeeping errors, managing different versions of software, and sending files and paper back and forth with your clients.
  • Significant inefficiencies in client accounting, thanks to the reactive role that accountants play in current "do-it-yourself" accounting systems created for small businesses.
  • Diminished perceived importance of your services. When clients use these "do-it-yourself" accounting systems, they believe that they have done most of the work. They get the wrong impression that, as an accountant, you essentially add just little value over what they have accomplished using a piece of software.
  • Difficulty in differentiating your firm.

Then we'll explain why, despite these challenges, we are confident that the future for accounting practices is actually very bright. We'll show you how certain types of cloud technology can help you overcome these challenges. Then we will discuss five exciting growth opportunities created by the cloud and other new developments. These trends have the potential to add billions of dollars in revenue to accounting practices over the next five years. These opportunities include:

  • Regaining control of accounting and strengthening your client relationships.
  • Making your client accounting work 30 – 50% more profitable.
  • Becoming an indispensable "virtual CFO" to your clients.
  • Turning a service you may have considered "no gain, all pain" into one that can be "all gain, no pain" for your practice.
  • Offering a complete accounting service – without additional staff or overhead.

The reality is there is no lack of opportunities for proactive accountants. Download our white paper to learn how to start tapping your practice's true potential today.

Tuesday
Jul072015

Visions of the Profession: Helping Accountants and Clients Work Together

Dr. Chandra Bhansali of AccountantsWorld talks about his company's cloud-based accounting software for practitioners and their clients, in an interview with Accounting Today editor-in-chief Dan Hood.

 

 

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