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Wednesday
Dec232015

AccountantsWorld Partners with AGN International North America

AccountantsWorld is proud to announce that we're entering into a two-year partnership agreement with AGN International North America, a regional subsidiary of AGN International. As a part of the partnership, AGN International North America members will enjoy a 20 percent discount on AccountantsWorld's Power Practice System bundle for the duration of the relationship.

"Partnering with AGN International North America will enable us to deliver our solutions to some of the most respected accounting organizations, providing them with the ability to harness the vast potential of the cloud to move their firms forward," said AccountantsWorld co-founder and CEO, Chandra Bhansali. "Our Power Practice System includes cloud solutions for bookkeeping, trial balance, document management, client portals, practice management and a website builder, providing virtually everything an accountant needs to manage and grow their practice."

AGN NA is part of AGN International, Ltd., and is one of the world's leading associations of independent certified public accounting and consulting firms. It has 187 accounting firm members in 89 countries throughout the world. AGN sets rigorous criteria for admission to the association and provides outstanding continuing professional education and intra-member collaboration to help all member firms serve clients with excellence and maintain adherence to the highest professional standards.

"AGN International North America counts some of the most technologically savvy and progressive accounting firms as our members, and we look forward to providing our members with the innovative solutions AccountantsWorld has created," said Rita Hood, Regional Director for AGN International North America.

Thursday
Dec172015

AccountantsWorld selected as Finalist For 2015 Cloud Awards

AccountantsWorld is proud to announce that we've been chosen as a finalist in the 2015-2016 Cloud Awards Program in the category Best HR / Payroll Solution!

 

With awards for excellence and innovation in cloud computing, the Cloud Computing awards program accepts entries from across the globe, including the US, Canada, Australasia and EMEA. Entries are accepted from organizations of any size and include start-ups and government bodies. The program is now in its fifth year.

"It's a truly special honor for AccountantsWorld to be recognized in the 2015-16 Cloud Awards. To make the shortlist against such competition illustrates the level of service and commitment to our customers we strive for and achieve," said Dr. Chandra Bhansali, AccountantsWorld CEO and co-founder. "We are excited to continue to support the accounting profession by providing accountants with innovative tools and resources to better serve their clients and make their practices more rewarding and profitable."

Award winners will be announced in January 2016. Click here to see the full list of finalists for 2015.

 

Monday
Nov302015

The 4 P's of Succeeding in the Cloud

From our close interaction with thousands of accountants, we have learned that most accountants:

  • Want to begin to migrate to the cloud, if they haven't already done so; and
  • Share some apprehension about the potential risks of cloud migration.

Another fact we uncovered is that many accountants are unaware of the tremendous benefits the cloud offers to accountants.  Making the 3 Ps (Product, Process, and Solution Partner) your guiding factors can minimize your risk and maximize your rewards, but the most important factor for harnessing the cloud is the fourth P – your Passion. Your passion for your practice will lead you to find innovative ways to harness the cloud to revamp your practice in ways you never thought possible.

Product

Obviously, the first thing necessary to harness the cloud is to choose software that both takes advantage of the remarkable capabilities of the cloud to overcome the challenges you currently face and creates new opportunities for you. This requires a completely fresh approach to software design.

For example, with accounting software, Do-it-Yourself (DIY) solutions, created for small businesses, have dominated accounting on the desktop. Despite the limitations of this kind of software, and the problems this approach created for accountants, DIY software was the only viable option on the desktop. Most accounting software producers, including Intuit, Xero, and Sage, have chosen to use the same DIY approach for their cloud solutions.

Other solution providers, including AccountantsWorld and Thomson Reuters, have taken a different approach. They have created solutions that take full advantage of the one of the most important capabilities of the cloud: collaboration.  These solution providers have created professional accounting systems that include not only powerful trial balance and financial reporting, but also complete bookkeeping capabilities. In these systems, accountants work collaboratively with their clients while retaining the power to customize their services to best serve each client’s needs. This unique approach makes it easier for accountants to offer complete accounting services.

When choosing a software product, be sure to evaluate solutions based on both models - the DIY model and the new accountant-focused, collaborative professional model - to see which offers more benefits for your practice.

Processes

On the desktop, integration between different applications makes data exchange between applications seamless. The cloud takes integration between applications to a higher level, making it possible to use integration between different applications to greatly streamline your workflow. For example, with the seamless integration of a cloud-based payroll system like Payroll Relief with Excel spreadsheets, bank ACH processing systems, and IRS and state e-filing and tax payment systems, payroll processing becomes highly efficient and virtually painless, with no compliance headaches. This has enabled thousands of accountants to offer highly profitable payroll services to their clients. Similarly, integrating accounting systems with smart phones, document management systems, and bank ACH systems makes offering bill payment services easy, efficient, and profitable.

To take advantage of these capabilities, you will need to re-evaluate and re-engineer your own internal processes, and to align your business model with technological advances. Fixed fee and value pricing have become the new norm for maximizing firm profitability and client satisfaction. 

When evaluating cloud solutions, make sure to analyze how well the solutions you consider can streamline your workflow and processes to increase efficiency and productivity.

Partner

Accountants know how important having the right partner can be for a firm. Having the right solutions partner is just as important for the success of your firm.

For many accounting and payroll solution providers, your small business clients are their primary customers, and accountants are only secondary customers. However, there are solution providers whose only customers are accountants, and who are focused on accountants’ needs.

When evaluating cloud solutions, it is important to factor in your potential solution partner’s long-term commitment to your success in your decision-making process.

We hope you’ve found this short guide useful for your cloud strategy. Please contact me with any additional questions.

 

About the author

 

Dr. Chandra Bhansali (CBhansali@AccountantsWorld.com) is the Co-Founder and CEO of AccountantsWorld – a leader in cloud solutions for accountants. AccountantsWorld offers innovative solutions for accounting, payroll processing, practice management, and much more. AccountantsWorld has helped thousands of accountants revamp their practices by harnessing the cloud. Learn more at AccountantsWorld.com.

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! 

 


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