Three Uses of the Web for CPAs

Everyone these days is on the Internet, but how much can you use the Internet to deal with clients? Here are three fundamental uses of the Web.

1. Answer Basic Questions: many firms use their Internet site to provide solutions for customers and clients. This is especially evident with systems like Ernst & Young's Ernie, which provides online assistance at a rate of $3,000 for 10 questions. But you don't have to be a Big 5 to provide answers; have a portion of your Web site devoted to email and online assistance, and you've provided a service that is truly value-added to the client.

2. Push Online, Rentable Software: CPA firms push their clients towards specific software packages for various reasons depending on the need and size of the client's business. With today's 'rentable' applications available through Application Service Providers, firms can encourage their clients to 'rent' applications instead of purchasing them to save money and use only what they need.

3. Remote Access is Good: online access of client records and files have never been easier thanks to extranet systems in which firms 'push' data out to clients via a part of the firm's Web site. The business owner or customer has ready-access to all of his or her files, and can analyze the data whenever the mood strikes.


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