For Accountants, By Accountants

By Lauren Simonds | Posted June 03, 2004

A little more than a year ago, Intuit launched ProConnections, a free monthly newsletter written by and for accountants. Today, more than 50,000 professionals subscribe &#151 and benefit &#151 from a wide range of best practices, tips and tools for Quick Books. This professional resource lets subscribers learn what others in their field have done to increase client service and satisfaction.

Written in the Trenches
Bonnie Nagayama, a CPA, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisorSM and the president of McWilliams & Associates Inc, in Moraga, CA, has been a contributor to ProConnectionssince it launched. "One reason for the newsletter's success is that it's aimed at small accounting firms and gives them the tools to work with their clients more efficiently &#151 tools that they may not otherwise have access to," she says.

Nagayama believes that the work she contributes to ProConnectionsalong with the other information in the newsletter "helps me educate my clients on different products and increases the visibility of my own business."

Why Should I?
Subscribe to ProConnection and receive the following benefits:

  • Free. Signing up is free and there is no obligation to purchase anything, ever.
  • Monthly e-mailed newsletter. Contains valuable information like how-to tips, best practices, as well as marketing and practice-building strategies from accountants and Intuit.
  • Checklists. QuickBooks, marketing, and others.
  • Marketing guide. Marketing 101: the information you need to successfully market your practice.
  • Marketing templates. Enter your firm information and you're ready to prospect for new clients.
  • Engagement letter templates. Enter your firm information and you'll have professional engagement letters for various types of engagements
  • Coupons and discounts. On various Intuit products and services.
  • Benchmarks. Compare your practice against them.
  • Intuit Developer Network Solutions. Access to demos, technical info, and free QuickBooks-integrated software from IDN developers.
  • Intuit product information. Product and service information that you choose.
  • Access to premium resources.
  • Access to archived newsletters. Login on the Members Login site.

Try it on for Size
Intuit provided us with a couple of samples from recent issues of its newsletter. This excerpt talks about why a small business benefits from having a Web site and offers tips on what to consider before diving in:

Does a business need to have a Web site? Internet leads can translate directly to an increase in the bottom line, the overall awareness of your services and will simply add credibility. But where is a small business to start?

  • Decide why you want a Web site and set achievable goals &#151 step into the users' shoes and figure out what they would want to find on your site.
  • Keep it simple &#151 you should be able to lay the design out two dimensionally on a piece of paper as a mock-up.
  • Choose one navigation scheme &#151 either horizontal or vertical, but not both.
  • Allow breathing room &#151 don't overwhelm the screen with text, keep ample margins and white space and, use a simple to read font.
  • Don't redesign just because you're tired of it &#151 redesign only if the organization has a new identity, strategy or structure.

Here's a second excerpt that talks about generating customers:

New Tips on an Old Marketing Tool
With such an over abundance of messages sent out to the public everyday via the Internet, small businesses must take on innovative marketing approaches to get their voices heard and market their services above the online noise.

One way to do this is to take an effective offline (direct mail) approach instead. Whether it's an effort to attract individual customers or other businesses to purchase services, an effective print-marketing tactic is making resurgence &#151 postcards.

Postcards make a great marketing tool, according to Intuit ProConnection newsletter contributors, because:

  • They have immediacy &#151 Potential customers and clients only have a seven-to-eight second attention span when it comes to marketing materials, so without an envelope, it's easier to flip a postcard over and see all of your information at a glance.
  • They are inexpensive &#151 Postage for a first class letter is $.37 while a postcard is only $.25 &#151 about 15 percent less expensive than letters. Source: The USPS.
  • They are non-intrusive &#151 There are far fewer messages sent via snail mail than via e-mail, so postcards only compete with a single day's worth of mail.
  • They are flexible &#151 Unlike e-mail, postcards can take on any size, color, gloss, and graphic.

Both accounting and financial professionals may sign up to receive Intuit ProConnection.

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of smallbusinesscomputing.com.

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