Tag Archives: Accounting

Is Your Accounting Practice Using an Obsolete Email Solution? You Could be Surprised

It’s 4:30 – and you decide you want your husband to buy some wine for dinner. You write “Pick up wine” on a piece of paper, roll it up, strap it to one of your pigeons, and send him flying out the window toward home. There.

 

It sounds ridiculous – but if you use Microsoft Outlook for your email, you might as well communicate with your spouse through carrier pigeon.

 

Yes – it’s that out of date.

 

Let me show you how to easily save 10 hours of productivity each month by simply switching from Outlook to a web-based email solution like Gmail.

 

Problems with Outlook

 

In the computer technology timeline, Outlook is very old. The technology is outdated; the program simply was not built to accommodate a high volume of messages and the size of today’s email attachments.

 

Here are some problems you might have with Outlook that drain your productivity:

 

Your messages pile up – you try to spend time organizing them into folders but you’re still always behind. (est. time lost – 1 hr/wk)
The search function is slow and cumbersome – and the results are often so bloated that you still squander time sifting through messages. (est. time lost – .5 hr/wk)
You can’t view appointments on your calendar with your smartphone or other mobile device. (est. time lost – .5 hr/wk)
You get “Cannot Connect to Server” and other error messages. These come from problems configuring Outlook and they hinder your ability to send and receive emails. (est. time lost – .5 hr/mo)
You struggle with initial setup and reconfiguration challenges. If you’re not a techie, making sure your settings are correct and updated is frustrating and time-consuming. (est. time lost – 1 hr/mo)

 

A Better Solution

You can now send and recieve email through the Gmail interface using your own domain name using a relatively unknown service called Google Apps. Gmail is 100% web-based, and this saves you time, money, and frustration…

 

Less Expensive: If you use Outlook, you’re most likely paying for IT support, Exchange hosting, or email accounts through GoDaddy or another domain registrar. In contrast, Gmail is absolutely free.

 

Easier: With Gmail and other Web-based email solutions, your inbox looks the same no matter where you access it – and you can do so from any computer or mobile device with an Internet connection. Plus, the outstanding search feature allows you to quickly find any email in seconds. Much better than sorting in Outlook.

 

And because the software is all online – “in the cloud” – you don’t wrestle with installing software or keeping track of updates.

 

Saves Time: Gmail saves time, too, with keyboard shortcuts. These allow you to compose, answer, and organize your email without ever having to take your hands off the keyboard.

 

Furthermore, Gmail groups emails into conversations. Instead of getting a new email each time someone replies to a message, all replies are displayed with the original thread. This cuts way down on the number of messages to wade through in your inbox.

 

Safer: Gmail is backed up on fully redundant servers. If a virus infects your computer, if a hurricane strikes your office, if any disaster compromises your computer – your email remains perfectly secure.

 

Don’t Use Pigeons – Use Gmail!

 

Take advantage of current technology. Stop using Outlook – an old email solution – and go with a Web-based email service. When you do, you increase productivity and eliminate time-consuming and frustrating problems.

Brian O’Connell is the owner and founder of CPA Site Solutions, one of the country’s leading edge website design businesses dedicated exclusively to accounting websites. His firm at present provides websites for more than 4000 CPA, accounting, bookkeeping, and tax preparation firms.

Small Business Accounting Why Outsource?

Small Business Accounting Why Outsource?

1) Lack of specialization.

Most small business owners are very good at what they do but not good at accounting. Don’t Force your self to do something you hate.

2) Increased costs. Less time in the field.

3) Lack of efficiency.

Think about it it takes a long time just to get organized and than you only do it once a year. It normally takes a small business owner 3 to 4 times longer than a CPA to do accounting work. Lets say you are a plumber making $86.00 dollars an hour you can find a true CPA professional to work for $115.00 an hour and a less qualified CPA for under $86.00. You are looking at huge saving’s. The average tax return for a business can be completed in less than 10 hours and is under $1000.00. I have preformed accounting for much less with simple returns.

4) missed deductions.

If you don’t understand what you are doing it is very easy to miss something. For instance all capital leases can be written off, did you do that. I’m not going to list everything but a CPA does not miss valid deductions so use one.

5) Tax abuse, IRS Audits :(

Many business owners take too many deductions to compensate for all the ones they forget. Business throw up huge flags and get audited adding frustration and increased costs. Sometimes the IRS will audit back multiple years after they discover a flag. Save yourself time and headaches. Do the right thing get a CPA.

I have plenty more but if you hate accounting and bookkeeping frustrates you, outsource it. If you love numbers and always dreamed of being an accountant have a CPA review your return, it’s cheap and can be done in many cases for less than an hour of billing. A CPA can help you find things you missed.

Don’t get audited have a CPA prepare your business tax return.

<a rel=”nofollow” onclick=”javascript:_gaq.push([‘_trackPageview’, ‘/outgoing/article_exit_link’]);” href=”http://www.judydriscollcpa.com”>Business Accountant Clearwater</a>

began her career with Spence, Marston, Bunch, Morris & Co. as a staff accountant in 1983, after graduating USF, and is now a

Your Website: Use Google Adwords to Build Your CPA or Accounting Practice

It has never been a particularly closely guarded secret that you can buy your website a great listing in the Google search results for just about any keyword you want.

 

When you have used Google to perform a search, you have likely seen the sponsored listings. They are displayed on the right side of the search results page, and often up to the first three positions on the left side. These websites are using “pay-per-click” marketing through Google’s Adwords. When you see a sponsored listing, that is an impression. When you click on a sponsored listing, that advertiser pays Google for that click. In other words, that advertiser pays Google per each click their ad receives.

 

The price that is ultimately payed to Google, will be impacted by the quality score of the landing page. Quality score is driven by a lot of factors, including the relevance of the landing page content to the search term, as well as the Click Through Rate, or “CTR”.

 

Click through rate is the rate of clicks to impressions. If your ad is displayed 100 times, and receives 10 clicks, then your CTR is 10%. The higher your click through rate, the more relevant Google will think your ad is for the search phrase. This will improve the keyword’s quality score

 

The higher the quality score is of the landing page, the lower the actual cost per click will be. Adwords is essentially an auction. You bid on keywords. In very straight forward terms, the higher your bid, the higher your ad will be displayed.

 

Now there are a number of valuations and specific calculations Google makes to specify where your ad will be placed. These calculations happen in real time when the search is being conducted. In a future article, we will take a closer look at the specifics of these calculations. For today, it is simply important to be aware of that what you bid, is not what you will pay for a click. If your quality score is 7 and you bid $5.00 for a click, you will pay less for a click then if your quality score is 4, and you will never pay more then your bid, or $5.00, for a click.

 

Remember Google’s first priority is to display relevant search results, even for the sponsored listings. They could just give the first spot to the highest bidder, but that would only ensure the person willing to spend the most money would be listed first. The most relevant search result however may not be ad with the highest bid.

 

The best illustration of this is your company name. Let’s say you are Adidas, and you want to bid on the keyword “Nike”. The most relevant search result for the keyword “Nike”, is obviously the Nike website. Google is going to give Nike a higher quality score for that keyword, in effect rewarding them for their relevancy for that keyword.

 

Before we look at tips to improving your quality score, it’s important to also understand match types. There are three match types you can and should bid on for each keyword. They are exact, phrase, and broad match types.

 

Exact Match: Exact match is the best keyword to bid on. An exact match means the search phrase being searched on is an exact match for the keyword for which you are bidding. For example if you are bidding on exact match for “Accounting Firms”, your website’s ad will be displayed only when someone searches for “Accounting Firms”.

 

Phrase Match: Phrase match means your keyword is a phrase within the search string. For example, if you bid on a phrase match of “Accounting Firms”, you ad will be displayed when someone searches on things like “accounting firms for small business”, or “top accounting firms”.

 

Broad Match: Broad match essentially let’s the search engine determine if the search phrase is a match for your broad match keyword or not. It is worthy that you bid on broad match keywords, but it can also be dangerous. It’s important because a broad match for “accounting firms” might be triggered when someone searches for “accounting services”. It also can be triggered when someone misspells a word, such as “acounting firms”. The danger is that Google may decide that “Accounting Supplies” is a close enough match to “Accounting Services”, and trigger your broad match keyword. This is why Google allows advertisers to declare “negative keywords”. We’ll talk more about negative keywords in a moment.

 

Now that you have an understanding about your keyword match types and website’s quality score, here are some ideas on how you can improve your quality score and click through rates.

 

Ad Copy

 

The copy in your ad should reflect the search phrase, or keyword you are bidding on. The person doing the search will be more apt to click an ad if it includes their search string. For example, if you bid on “CPA Services”, you want the headline of your ad to be something like “Quality CPA Services”. If your ad title says “Jim’s Accounting Firm”, the searcher then has to stop and think… if they click your link, are they going to find what they are looking for? They often make their decision within a split second, so you don’t want the prospect to have to stop and think. Give them exactly what they want. If that means writing 50 different ad titles for 50 different keywords, so be it. Your work will pay off in the end.

 

Landing Page

 

The landing page is the page on your site that the searcher is taken to when they click your ad. Typically this should not be your website’s homepage. If someone searches for “Strategic Business Planning”, they should be taken directly to the page on your website that explains your business planning services rather than a generic accounting related homepage. If the ad goes to your homepage, and they have to search through a big pile of CPA related content just to find what they are looking for, they’ll probably just click the back button and go to the next advertiser.

 

If your website doesn’t have a suitable landing page for the keyword, add one. It really is that important.

 

Similar to the ad copy, you want to take as much of the decision making out of the process as possible. Make it as effortless as possible for the searcher to find what it is they are looking for. Google will reward your quality score for having a landing page that is specific to the keyword, because it improves the search experience for people who find you through their search engine.

 

Negative Keywords

 

Defining what keywords you don’t want to trigger your ads is just as important as knowing what keywords you do want to bid on. This is very imperative because of phrase and broad matching. If you bid on “accounting services” as a broad match, you probably do not want your ad displayed if someone searches on “accounting supplies”, so you would want to have “supplies” added as a negative keyword.

 

Your ad will not be displayed, when a search phrase includes one of your negative keywords.

 

Location Targeting

 

I’ve saved the best for last. For firms that provide services like accounting or CPA service, location targeting is extremely important. CPA and accounting firms typically will want to be able to meet with their clients, and more importantly the client is very likely looking for an accountant close to their business. Having propsects more then 100 miles away clicking on yoru ad is going to become a big waste of money.

 

There are two ways to target a location. The first is to target your ads to only be displayed within a certain radius, such as 10 to 20 miles from your business location. You can bid on more general keywords, like “accounting firm”, within a very specific location.

 

The second way to target location is with very specific keywords in a more general area. For example, you might display your ads to anyone in Florida, or even the country, if they type in the specific keyword “Miami CPA” or “Tampa Accounting”.

 

Keep these basic principles in mind while you’re setting up your websites with Adwords campaigns and you’ll find the learning curve a lot easier and your initial results will be a lot more profitable!

Brian O’Connell is the CEO and founder of CPA Site Solutions, one of the country’s leading website design businesses oriented exclusively to CPA website design. His company at present provides websites for more than 4000 CPA and accounting firms.

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