Web Development for Accountancy Firms: 10 Top Tips
Accountancy firms for some time now have been expected to provide a strong web presence to communicate their service offerings, news, and key points of difference in the market. But what makes an effective website for an accountancy firm?
In this article we’ll explore ten top tips for delivering an effective accountancy firm website. From clear and consistent navigation, to media distribution, to online tools; we’ll list the items that are expected by the market today and those that can position you ahead of the curve.
1. Design matters
In general accountants aren’t known for being the most effective visual communicators. That being said, it’s not expected that an accountancy firm builds their own website. However, in today’s market, how you present in the accountancy industry matters.
Your website needs to be visually appealing and showcase what you do and why you’re better than the competition. If your website looks like it was built in the 1980’s, this is communicating to your customers that you don’t really understand what a modern business service looks like. Make sure you get assistance from a professional in this case, because it can make all the difference to the quality and number of enquiries you receive.
2. Ease of navigation is a must!
“Seek, and ye shall find”. Maybe, but not when it comes to websites. If your visitors can’t find what they’re looking for in 3 clicks or less, they’ll leave your site. We recommend spending some time mapping out your website navigation in a spreadsheet. This can save a great deal of time during the development phase of your site and decrease the amount of lost enquiries occurring on your site dramatically.
3. You absolutely need a CMS
If your current website does not use a content management system (CMS), then you’re definitely missing out on the opportunity to save expense on development and implement a bunch of handy features which can all be added using drag and drop functionality.
At OSE we use Squiz Matrix and build the majority of our websites using this CMS as it offers a great deal of functionality out of the box and let’s us configure pretty much any type of web service for our clients. We know of a number of accountants and financial service providers use this CMS and strongly recommend it.
4. Media distribution needs to be easy
If you’ve ever been around professional services firms you’ll know that media distribution is one of their favourite past times. That being said, distribution of news articles, blogs, social media blasts, technical documentation and online forms needs to be super simple.
If you’re IT department has convinced you that you don’t need a CMS to do this or you’re frustrated with how challenging it can be to upload a document to your website; something’s definitely wrong. News and media distribution is easily done if setup right, you just have to partner with the right people who understand how this should be setup.
5. Calculators are extremely powerful
Online calculators for personal finances, superannuation, or the like are gold when it comes to generating a positive return on your investment online.
Online calculators attract a ton of visitation if they’re easy to use, and if setup well can be an incredibly effective marketing tool to drive customer enquiry. It really doesn’t matter what type of calculator you’re adding to your site, if you can drive traffic from search engines such as Google to your calculators and promote them across your site, they’ll get used and drive enquiry.
6. Site and document search is vitally important
In the finance and accounting worlds, the ability to easily access to documents online is vitally important. These documents should be searchable (both PDF and web pages) using metadata, titles and descriptions. This will give your users the ability to filter documents more readily and find what they’re looking for without any hassle.
There’s nothing worse than struggling to find a document on a website. How frustrating this can be! So if you are going to add documents to your website which are part of a searchable index, make sure you take the time to tag them correctly to avoid angering your user base.
7. Mobile responsive website design is the standard today
As sure as the sky is blue, if your site does not display effectively on a mobile device, potential customers will leave your site and go elsewhere. This can be so damaging that existing customers will not even bother to complain about your web service, they’ll just go and find someone else who can provide a quality service and take their business with them. Ouch! So if you’re new to website design and development, make sure your site is designed to be mobile responsive.
8. Location maps and contact details
Most accountancy firms these days tend to have more than a few locations. If this is you, make it easy for your customers to find you. By providing a Google Map on your site which showcases where you’re located, how your customers can access your office (including parking), and any other details which will make them feel comfortable contacting you then this is good thing.
9. Your people, partners and expertise
Most accountancy firms follow the partner model. This is an excellent marketing tool because corporate customers love to know prior to their engagement who may be managing their money and what capability they have. If you can effectively communicate your senior partner and firm expertise, you’ll be able to showcase to customers why you’re the best option for them.
This has become a given when visiting major accountancy firm websites (just check out the Big Four accountancy sites - PWC, Deloitte, KPMG and EY). This important element is also required to showcase your corporate culture. Accountancy websites can be a little cold at times, so by using modern imagery and colours to communicate who you are and what you stand for, you can potentially attract a number of new clients and staff by setting their minds at ease with who they will be working with. After all, business is about relationships first.
10. Careers for industry experts and graduates
Accountancy firms are one of the biggest employers in the country and globally. Their success in this arena has been assisted by the focus they put on corporate culture and careers within their organisations. Whether you’re a graduate looking for their first job or a 30-year veteran of the industry, you have to spend a great deal of time at work (and potentially on the weekends). By ensuring your website visitors receive a positive feel for the environment they’re set to work in, you’re likely to attract better candidates and potentially add to your corporate culture.
If you’re looking to build and support a website for your accountancy firm, there are a number of items to consider. OSE’s team of website design and development professionals can help you deliver the right mix of technological innovation and online communications. To find out more, get in touch with the Online Solution Experts today.