There’s this question I have heard at least a hundred times since I started working with QX Ltd – a company that (among other things) supports accountants through a wide range of services. While accountants are quite interested when it comes to using software that can help to automate repetitive tasks, most do not see much of a point in building their own website. Usually, it is the sight of a brand new website by their competitor that makes them just a wee bit uncomfortable, leading to the question, “Jignesh, do you think I need a website for my accounting company?”
Too many times, even before I can answer, I am confronted with a litany of reasons why they might not really need it after all:
- We get most of our clients through referrals.
- Most of our customers don’t use computers all that much – they prefer the personal touch.
- We are listed in plenty of directories – people looking for an accountant online will find us there.
- I think most of the people in the neighbourhood can’t miss our hoardings. They know where they can find us.
- We don’t really have anyone who can manage a website. We are too busy with more important tasks anyway.
- I’ve no idea what to put on a website or what to do with one.
- I’d rather invest money in local advertisements than in a website. Building and managing a website must certainly be costly!
I must admit that for someone who has spent close to twenty years building websites and applications, the idea that a thriving accounting company doesn’t have a website in 2016 is mind boggling. But as the arguments come from really intelligent people who can perform a cost-benefit analysis much better than I, it seems that many accountants are unaware of how a website can benefit their business (or how the absence of one can hurt their business).
So, what do you think? Should an accounts company offering services locally invest time and money in building its own website? My answer is definitely a ‘yes’. Here’s why:
1. Your competition has one (or will have one soon!): At least half of the small accounting practices that we work with already have a website. Many are planning to get one soon. As more and more customers use the Internet to find and research local services, you risk being outmanoeuvred by your competitors who have an online presence.
2. It serves as an online brochure: As noted above, people nowadays like to research a business online before trying its services. While there’s nothing stopping someone from walking into your office to learn more about what you offer and how much it will cost them, many people might not be inclined to do that. They just want to look at a few local businesses online and make a decision on the basis of what they see. If you do not show up at all, they are unlikely to consider you. Also, the great thing about an online shop is that there’s no closing time – the website’s going to be online 24/7!
3. Perception of your business value: Just as your office premises demonstrate the value of your business in the physical world, a website showcases your value in the online world. If you do not have a website, new prospects (who are, unfortunately, unaware of the grandeur of your physical location) may fall under the wrong impression that your firm is too small or even unprofessional.
4. Building a website is not difficult, nor costly: For most accounting companies, a simple website that highlights key details – location, contact address, services, accountants, a little bit about your history and a few testimonials from your clients – can be ready within weeks or even days. As it is a website with just a few pages, it wouldn’t cost much either. Of course, you can also add more pages and information over time, if you feel the need.
Still unsure? This is a subject close to my heart and I would love to talk more about how exactly a website can help an accounting company like yours. Don’t hesitate to take me up on my offer!