Take a LEAP forward with education for accountants and bookkeepers

LEAP-blog-photoSage Accountant Solutions recognizes the importance of adding value to client relationships, staying on top of trends, and uncovering opportunities. That’s why we offer the Leadership Education for Accounting Professionals (LEAP) program.

Through in-person events, live webcasts, and pre-recorded on-demand webcasts, LEAP provides accounting professionals such as yourself with the education, tools, and guidance to become an even more valued business advisor to your clients while also earning CPE/CPD credits.

LEAP offers courses that help develop success skills for accounting professionals, including how to:

  • Add value by learning new skills and extending your influence with clients.
  • Grow your firm through the acquisition and retention of more clients.
  • Increase efficiency by getting more done in a day.

To see the courses and register for one today, visit the LEAP website and take a leap forward towards more success.

See LEAP Courses

How to start and maintain your blog as an accounting professional

To blog or not to blog?

how-to-blog-600x400Many accountants may feel that writing a web-based log, or “blog,” is unnatural or awkward. After all, they’re numbers people who are more inclined toward balancing complicated budgets versus writing witty prose.

But the fact is, by not having a blog, you’re missing out on a tremendous marketing opportunity. According to a recent Marketing Sherpas study, 84% of marketers ranked blogs as either very effective or somewhat effective, higher than any other form of social media.[1]

The numbers say it all

Still on the fence about blogging? For proof that blogs are a worthwhile endeavor, check out these statistics: It has been reported that B2B companies that regularly blog receive 67% more leads every month than companies that do not.[2] Furthermore, 57% of marketers believe they have gained customers simply through blogging.

In addition to providing valuable accounting advice, having a blog allows you to:

  • Support your brand.
  • Establish you and your firm as accounting profession experts.
  • Strengthen existing client relationships and form new ones.
  • Boost your search engine ranking to drive Internet traffic to your website.
  • Add another customer service tool to your arsenal.

So let’s get started!

Step 1: Define your objectives.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the purpose of your blog? Will it be to inform customers and prospects about an area of focus for your practice–or to create a place for dialogue or questions–in a “doctor is in” format?
  • What do you want your audience to do? Developing your blog will be a lot easier if you know the answer. Do you want them to visit your website, try a new product, or call you about a certain service?

Step 2: Determine your audience.

Who are you writing for? Are your clients large or small businesses, or are they individuals? Establishing early on whom you’re writing for can help you determine the level of advice or commentary you will give. For example, when writing for individuals, you may assume they have limited or no accounting knowledge. On the other hand, if you’re targeting accounting departments at large corporations, you’ll want to talk shop or share industry buzz.

Step 3: Decide what your key messages will be.

What top three things do you want your audience to know? Make a list of broad messages you want people to know about your work. Then whittle it down to three basic messages. Ensure that in some way or the other those messages (in essence, not verbatim) are included in every post you make.

Step 4: Develop your content.

A recent Custom Content Council survey shows 61% of consumers say they feel better about a business that offers custom content and, in turn, are more likely to buy from that company.[3]

Your best bet is to blog about the benefits your products and services provide as opposed to the features of the product itself. Doing so helps you relate better with your audience, and it also prevents your blog from reading like a sales pitch. Focus on answering questions or solving problems your clients and prospects have.

For content ideas, review industry news websites, social media sites, your white papers, client correspondence and questions you commonly get asked, and customer surveys. The list goes on and on, but you get the point.

Step 5: Set up your blog.

If you don’t already have a hosted site to which you can post your blog, there are many free options, such as WordPress, Blogspot, Tumblr, Vox, and Typepad. They offer various templates and tools that make it easy to get set up in a matter of minutes. Keep in mind, however, that unless you pay for hosting services, you’ll be assigned a web address that includes their company name, such as: http://www.yourblogname.wordpress.com or http://www.yourblogname.blogspot.com

Step 6: Start posting!

Now that you’re all set up and know what your content will be, make sure that you know and use the tools available to you. Break up text-heavy passages by attaching photos and videos. Survey your readers. These elements can not only help engage your readers, they can help bump your blog up in search engines.

The time you post your blog is also important, as there are certain times of days and weeks that people are most likely to check out social media. Consider posting at 9 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m., or 6 p.m. on the three middle days of the week.

Step 7: Spread the word.

People have to be able to find your blog, and the more ways you tell people about it, the better off you’ll be. Post a link to it from all of your company social media sites, including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter pages. Feature an introductory paragraph to your blog on your company’s home page and link to it from there. List the link on your business card. You may even consider posting it to your personal pages, too. Conversely, make sure your blog links back to your company website and social media.

Step 8: Make maintaining your blog a priority.

Keeping your blog current is perhaps the greatest challenge in blogging. Consistency is key; you can’t simply post whenever you want to. Your clients likely expect content on a regular basis.

Set a content schedule and stick with it. Decide how often you’ll post–once a day, week, and so on. Develop a content calendar that details post times and topics so you’ll know what you’ll post about and when.

To make it easy to schedule and publish your posts, use status update schedulers, such as Hootsuite or Cotweet. They’re free, and they enable you to post updates to various social networking sites all at once, at the times you designate.

Conclusion

Blogging is a great way to establish and strengthen customer relationships. In the process, you become a trusted source of information and provide a handy customer service tool. But ultimately, it enables you to strengthen your brand while increasing your bottom line.


[1] www.marketingsherpa.com/article/chart/blogs-effective-inbound-marketing

[2] www.searchenginepeople.com/blog/925-business-blogging.html#ixzz3EYVgR3YF

[3] www.socialmediatoday.com/content/blogging-really-necessary-marketing-tool

Why small business owners shouldn’t do their own accounting

18656-403While it may seem more desirable for small business owners to do their own accounting, mishandling a fledgling enterprise’s finances, especially early on, could be potentially devastating. Without a dedicated professional or proven accounting software, businesses could lose out on possible revenue and even fall into legal trouble if problems arise with payroll.

Company leaders who can’t give the attention bookkeeping requires open themselves up to an array of risks that could easily be avoided if they hand off the financial responsibility of their business to a professional. Without having to worry about keeping track of all the economic records, owners can devote more time to expanding their organization.

Why do everything yourself?

Business managers who think they can do everything themselves may soon find that while this is possible, it’s at the cost of the quality of their work. If a leader spends too much time on the menial tasks of the organization, they may not have enough to direct their company in the way they want it to go, according to Forbes. There are only so many moments in any given day and with too tasks to complete, it’s easy for something to slip through the cracks.

With financing, this could be something as minuscule as a decimal point or an extra zero, but the consequences of such an error may be much greater than a simple mix up. To increase the chances of an enterprise succeeding, company owners should take advantage of an expert’s knowledge, the source asserted. Doing so could free up more time and even reveal hidden savings business leaders knew nothing about.

The value of professional consultation

With the help of an accounting solution, businesses can discover new ways to grow that they never would have considered before. Instead of struggling to make sense of the financial data quickly accumulating, company owners can have an accountant take a look at it to really give the information meaning, reported Business Know-how.

This may help enterprises determine areas that are costing more than they’re worth and even uncover new opportunities to encourage development. Accounting associations can cast business operations in a new light and enable companies to see some aspects from a different point of view.

One of the best paths to success for new organizations is coming up with a business plan early on to guide them through all of the challenges they may face, added the source. While it’s easy to get lost, not knowing where to start, an accountant can partner with a company and help it create a guide that navigates through the financial issues it might encounter. Rather than being caught unprepared for a charge or an audit, enterprises can develop a strategy to get them through whatever problems they may face.

Google Hangout recording: The Skype Accountant – Finding greater flexibility in a virtual world

Do you ever dream of having more flexibility in your work? Most of us do.  Whether it means working from home occasionally or managing all your clients in a virtual environment, there’s a lot to be gained from adopting online tools in your practice.

Josh Zweig (@LiveCA) of LiveCA wanted to have the flexibility to work from anywhere in the world while managing a client base spread across Canada. With the right tools and business model, he’s been able to make it work seamlessly and had some great tips to share during our recent Google Hangout.

Missed the live event? No problem! You can now access the recording on Google+ by clicking the link below:

Watch the Recording

We’re even keeping the conversation going, so feel free to post your thoughts, comments and questions on the event page.

Now’s the time! Register today for a free “Meet Sage One Accountant Edition” webcast in October

Be sure to meet Sage One Accountant Edition in one of our free October webcasts and discover how working in the cloud can benefit both you and your clients.

Introduction: Sage One and the cloud

In this webcast you’ll learn about the cloud, the benefits of the cloud, and some of the basics features and functions of Sage One. This webcast will also give a live demo of Sage One so you can experience its ease-of-use and see how it can benefit both you and your clients.

Advanced: Detailed overview of Sage One

This webcast is designed for those of you that are already comfortable working in the cloud. In this webcast, you’ll learn about the many features available within the different Sage One solutions. You’ll also get information on how you can begin referring your clients to Sage One and the benefits you can receive by referring clients.

Get Sage One Accountant Edition today!

Also, if you haven’t signed up for your complimentary license of Sage One Accountant Edition[1], sign up today! This way, you’ll be even more “in the know” when you attend one of our “Meet Sage One Accountant Edition” webcasts.

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[1] Sage One Accountant Edition for qualified professionals only. To receive and maintain your Sage One Accountant Edition account, you must be an accountant or bookkeeper providing professional accounting or bookkeeping services for multiple fee-paying clients. If at any time Sage determines that you are no longer eligible, your Sage One Accountant Edition account will be terminated.

Google Hangout invitation: The Skype Accountant

Want to learn more about the benefits of moving your accounting and bookkeeping work to the cloud?

Josh Zweig of LiveCA, a fully online accounting and tax planning firm based in Toronto, Ontario, likes to be mobile and have the flexibility to work from anywhere in the world. He travels constantly and works with a wide range of clients—30% of whom are based in Ontario and 70% who are located across other parts of Canada.

Josh found a way to make his dream of flexibility a reality by becoming a “Skype Accountant” and working with all his clients virtually and on cloud apps.

Join us on Wednesday, October 1 at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT as our guest Josh Zweig (@LiveCA), CPA and Partner, LiveCA LLP, discusses how to find flexibility in a virtual world by becoming what he calls a “Skype accountant.”

Be sure to sign up today and we’ll see you on October 1!

Join Event

Cloud computing made easy for you and your clients

Introduction to cloud computingAre you and your clients looking for advice on the cloud?

Moving your clients and your firm to the cloud is easier and more secure than you might think, and we’re here to help you along the way.

Using cloud-based solutions gives you secure access to your clients’ data anytime and from anywhere. For your clients, the cloud keeps them and anyone they work with in the loop—no matter where they are—and lets them focus on the parts of their business they love.

Have you been looking for some answers to what the cloud is all about? Download our complimentary Introduction to cloud computing guide and find the answers you’ve been looking for!

Download the Guide Now