In today’s digital world, the first interaction many customers have with a business will be its website. Websites have quickly moved from static tools that display basic communication information to becoming an integral part of the digital marketing mix.
The right website for accountants can not only establish themselves as a trusted thought leader and attract talented employees, but also create quality standards that result in long-term clients.
A Most (58%) SMEs say it’s important to look up qualifications on an accountant’s website. However, despite the well-researched benefits of websites, there is growing evidence that many accounting sites are outdated and generic.
According to research from Moneypenny, the leaders in External calls, live chat and more, 72% of UK accountancy firms’ websites do not stand out from the rest. Only 38% scored ‘very strong’.
In an increasingly competitive and crowded accounting market, simply providing clients and customers with generic content that does not have a distinct voice is not enough to differentiate a firm from competing businesses.
A missed opportunity
As the old saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.
Accountants who fail to recognize the true value of websites and their digital presence can lose clients who view a poorly developed website, and judge the firm as not the best choice for a digital-first world.
The majority of SMEs (88%) believe it is very important for their accountants to understand technology, with two-thirds saying they would pay more for a ‘tech-savvy’ firm.
Reputable modern websites can demonstrate forward thinking by showing rather than telling.
According to Louise Walpole, head of finance at Moneypenny, the entire accounting sector has found it difficult to focus on other issues in recent years, including adapting to remote working and dealing with employment issues.
“Brand awareness and digital customer experience were not a priority for most – but those who are now paying them the attention they deserve, particularly with a focus on websites, stand to reap the benefits by boosting first impressions, reputation, new business and recruitment,” explains Louise.
Many accounting websites have remained traditional and have not moved with the times to embrace modern tools, including social media platforms and review platforms.
Lack of website functionality makes it difficult for new clients to learn more about what services an accountant offers and if the working relationship is good.
Just like any other industry, customers want to be able to trust their business partners. Review platforms such as Trustpilot or Feefo provide the perfect opportunity for accountants to show their clients that existing clients are satisfied.
Independent reviews have a higher level of authority and carry more weight than including written testimonials.
Although 13% of people immediately check reviews when looking for a new accountant, only half of accountancy firms integrate services like Trustpilot into their websites.
Including customer reviews on a website is a powerful way to demonstrate successful customer relationships and get customers to talk about why they value their account.
Talent and retention.
The benefits of an informative website go beyond just helping you attract new customers. In today’s competitive market, job seekers are firmly in the driver’s seat and scrutinize potential employers.
Company websites are often one of the first places job seekers go to learn more about weak websites.
Creating a strong website can help increase visibility in search results and attract and retain high-quality talent.
Google delivers the majority of traffic to accountant websites – but research shows that 10% of practices never come up when they type their business name into Google. If accountants don’t rank their own brand organically, what chance do they have to rank anything else?” says Louise.
Highly representative websites that provide a true sense of an organization’s culture, values, and services can increase brand awareness and employee engagement.
Together, these factors allow accountants to achieve improved recruiting efficiency.
Back to basics
So what can accounting firms do?
First of all, accountants need to understand exactly what their customers want and need. When thinking about the website’s user experience, everything from branding, usability, content and communication methods must be considered.
Contacting new customers should be easy and live chat is an option to increase reach and provide a more human touch, research shows that websites with live chat get 40% more conversions than those without.
“Crucially, 46 percent of the web chats we handle are outside of traditional office hours, which helps show that customers don’t feel constrained by the 9-5 and want answers to their contracts any day or night,” he says. Louise
High-quality videos and images that communicate exactly what clients need to know about the firm, up-to-date service offerings, and branding are essential to effective accountant websites.
To find out more about MoneyPenny’s live chat features, pricing or setup, call the Moneypenny team on 0333 202 1005 or arrange a chat. over here Today.