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REVIEW: Website Builder Software 2014

One of the best sources for new clients is your website. And yet, many accountants and CPAs still do not have one. The majority of the firms in my area do not and that is mind boggling, as for a small cost per month or year and a little TLC, you have can have a great referral source with very little effort. If you are one of those firms, we have some very good and affordable solutions for you.

Furthermore, if you are a firm is only using its website as a website, we have other options for you. Our firm's website is not only a website but it is also a secure location for my clients to access their information and send me information. I use my website to contact clients on a monthly basis via a newsletter, which is a great way to allow clients to know you are looking out for them without you having to put a ton of time and effort into it.

In this review we are going to look at the top web-building software for CPAs and accountants. If you either do not have a website or are looking to change your website you came to the right place. The products are all very good. All but one is part of full suite of products. If you would like to offer e-commerce through your website, you can do it with each of these products. You do need to make sure your specific merchant services works with the product you choose.

At this time of year, we can all agree time is our most valuable resource. I know this is the time of the year, I am either pleased with some of my choices along the year or I start making lists of what I need to do better this next year. So, when doing this review, I had a different view than I might normally. How nice would it be to make sure you had a way to communicate easily and effectively with your clients in a secure way? Are there prospects or clients you wish you had talked to more throughout the year? Are there communications you would like to get out quickly to your entire client base?

For me, being an accountant isn't about creating a financial statement and processing tax returns. It is about working with clients to help them build successful businesses. It means staying abreast on all the inputs that affect doing business. And in today's business world, one of the first things you do after you decide to start a business is to set up a website. It is a quick an inexpensive way to allow prospective clients know who you are.

In this review, we are going to take a look at a few website building tools that you as an accountant can use to ensure you are staying ahead of your clients.

Website Relief
Hauppauge, N.Y
(888) 999-1366
Price: $495/year or $49/month.

Website Relief
Website Relief is a top-quality website builder, especially if you are already a customer of AccountantsWorld there is no reason not to use this product, which ct interacts with the company's suite. This is also much more than a website construction product. Tools available can help you stay on top of keeping your website fresh and updated without you spending a lot of your time doing it.

If you provide payroll service, you can set up a page to offer a quote. So, if a potential client searches for payroll in your area, your page can come up and they can go there, see what you have to offer, and if they are interested they can enter their information for you to send them a quote.

The company touts the product's Dynamic Website Design, which enables users to start with a template and customize the site with graphics, logos and texts. A subscription provides one hosted domain name and five hosted email addresses to start and can support unlimited e-mail addresses.

The ability to set up groups that include different types of clients and prospects is another benefit. You can create a mailing, a newsletter, a tax update or anything and quickly send it out to your intended groups. This is a huge timesaver.

Users are not on their own—AccountantsWorld provides unlimited support and training. Web specialists thoroughly review users' websites for completeness, aesthetics and to offer suggestions for the best customer experience. The company also provides assistance for SEO and marketing, including Google Maps and Yahoo Local listings. Custom web design services are also available.

AccountantsWorld also provides a variety of tax, accounting and financial tools, along with an online calendar for important tax dates, Clients can determine the status of refunds with the Tax Refund Tracker and there is a Paycheck Calculator for salaried and hourly paychecks.

Firms can utilize the sites to offer client communications. They can send emails to selected clients, or to everyone, including through recurring newsletters. Dynamic news headlines can be delivered via an RSS feed from your site to keep clients up to date. Customers can also accept credit card payments securely through their website.

If you are serious about wanting a website that is ease to use and would be an enhancement to your firm, I would highly recommend spending some time reviewing this product.

Web Builder CS
Thomson Reuters
Dexter, Mich.
(800) 968-8900
Price: Starts at $70 per month.

Web Builder CS
If you already own other Thomson Reuters products you absolutely need to take a look and add this product. If you are not, you still need to take a good look it. The product is easy to use, it flexible, professional and has all the tools you will need to easily make this a profitable part of your business.

An excellent product, Web Builder CS is very easy to use. You can customize to allow for the specific image you want to present. Among the many tools provided--one of my favorite--is the monthly newsletter. A great way to touch clients and prospects on a monthly basis, it is automated and allows your clients to be informed and feel special. If you use other Thomson products, you can have clients access the portals right from your website.

Thomson offers a wide variety of mobile-friendly templates that can be customized with the firm's branding. The company believes one of the big advantages is the integration of websites built by using this tool with its NetClient CS portals.

There is an intuitive WYSIWYG editor that makes it easy for firms to maintain and update pages themselves. Many add-ons included at no additional charge, including automated newsletters with Thomson Reuters content, social media integration, financial calculators; online bill pay capabilities, and more.
The company also offers extensive design and technical assistance.

To see a great example of what is possible with this product, go to Template (Free): www.cpahomepage.com Animated : www.hecoxcpas.com and www.strategicvaluegroup.com.

ProSystem fx Site Builder
Riverwoods, Ill.
(800) 739-9998
Price: Starts at $785 per year.

ProSystem fx Site Builder
If you are using any CCH products, you really want to think about adding this onto your suite. If you are not using CCH products, you might want to start here. It is a product that  will earn back every penny you spend

There is a lot of fabulous content available. You have the ability to add on modules such as appointment scheduler, eNewsletters, File Share, Lead Generator and TaxNotebook. Besides CCH's well-known depth of content, the company also says it offers more interactive calculators than competitors do.

The website product integrates with CCH's ProSystem fx Tax (Tax Notebook) and Portal. It also offers templates, including many mobile-ready (responsive) choices, and can provide custom website design. Recent enhancements include PayPal integration and the addition of an appointment request form that integrates with Microsoft Outlook.

Now that you have read this, get a plan in place to take advantage of the tools that are available for you. All of these products are quick and easy to get set up. You can at least start to have a web presence at a time when it is vital to your business. If you have a website but are not thrilled it with it, you will now have some added knowledge to make an informed switch as soon as tax season is over! Either way, determine your needs and start using one of these outstanding products as soon as possible. It will help increase your profits by saving your time and adding the ability to enhance your communications with your clients and prospects.

For an example of what some of the sites look like go to www.dchcpas.com, http://dchcpas.com/info_center.html (includes the standard and premium content offerings available) or www.dchcpas-custom.com.

Julie Lepper, EA

Julie S. Lepper, EA, MBA is the Principal of Julie S. Lepper, Accounting & Tax Service, LLC, a small local accounting firm in Pinckney, MI. She earned her Master's of Business from Eastern Michigan University and her Bachelor's of Accountancy from Walsh College in Michigan. Julie has over 16 years in consulting with client not only accounting and tax issues , but also on software and sales engagements. She specializes in focusing on start-up businesses and small to medium client needs.

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