Parachute Design is a Toronto web design company, and over the years we have completed our fair share of website design for accounting firms across Canada and the United States. Through our experience working with professional services firms, we’ve established a list of best practices to follow when undertaking web design for accounting firms give our clients digital marketing a leg up on the competition. Every accounting firm has a unique personality and marketing needs. Our job as Toronto website designers is to guide our clients through the web design process, from strategy through deployment and the day-to-day management of the firm’s new website. To achieve a successful website design, our web designers follow a series of best practices for accounting firm website design. To illustrate these web design strategies in action with one of our best web designs for accounting firms, please read our Stern Cohen web design case study.
Best Practices for Accounting Firm Web Design
Responsive Web Design
The accounting firm website design must be user-friendly and respond not only to tablets and mobile devices but various viewports on desktop and laptop computers as well. In our experience, many accounting firms have a wide range of clientele ranging from young entrepreneurs to mature business owners. Ensuring the website loads quickly and communicates effectively in web browsers of all shapes and sizes is critical when aiming to appeal to such a diverse user base.
Clean and Simple User Interface Design
For web designers, it’s fun to create a new and exciting website with the latest technology. However, web design for accounting firms is not the time and place to flex too much creative muscle. The website interface should be clear and predictable to communicate effectively and instil a positive brand experience with the audience.
Be Unique and Avoid Stereotypes
Accounting firms are often stereotyped as being straight-edged and boring. The truth is, most professional services firm’s website design falls into that stereotype. One of the best ways to create a winning website design for an accounting firm is to make it unique and design the user interface with the firm’s unique personality as the foundation. In combination with clean, elegant web design, incorporating character into the website not only adds a human connection to the user experience but also makes a lasting impression on the viewer.
Avoid Stock Photos
Most accounting firm websites (and their marketing materials) rely on the same handful of stock photographs – you know the ones with the calculator and wire-rimmed glasses sitting casually on a desk filled with charts and graphs? Ignore all of that. There are two options to consider when incorporating images into new website design for an accounting firm.
- First, try to use as many original photographs as possible. This solution requires hiring a photographer and providing art direction to create a series of unique and consistent branded images to be used as a foundation for the website.
- Second, if custom photography is not an option and you rely on stock photography, focus on something other than the literal meaning of professional accounting services. A typical design strategy our web designers rely on is using lifestyle imagery. This approach works to help users make a more personal connection with the firm’s website and digital branding. Perhaps most importantly it shows potential customers that they can dream. After all, accounting firms are here to help us make sense of and save our money so that we can do more of what we love, right?
Make the Website Design Personal
This design practice can take some convincing depending on the professional services firm we are working with, however, with a little elbow grease and a case study or two, we’re often able to get the firm’s partners on board with showcasing themselves on the website. By creating accountant profile pages within the website, and explicit methods of communication available to the user (whether it be email or social media), we can quickly make a stronger, more durable connection between the accounting firm and the customer. People relate to other people, not calculators and spreadsheets. If we can make the firm appear friendly, professional, and approachable through excellent website design, the results will follow.
Offer Free and Gated Content
Another surefire way to connect with your audience and provide value is to offer downloadable content that provides some form of help the potential customer. This content may be tax advice, market updates, or downloadable PDFs to help clients get ready for their year-end tax review. Providing this free content creates a positive feeling with the user before that first face-to-face meeting.
In addition to free content, consider offering gated content such as white papers. White paper documents can be more in-depth than the free versions and entice potential customers to provide their contact information to download the files. With this information, you can create an email marketing campaign or learn more about the type of customer your website is attracting.
SEO Web Design
When our Toronto website designers approach a new website design for an accounting firm, the primary goal is not always about attracting new leads for the firm. In many cases, the accounting firm only wants to use its website as a point of reference for existing clients or word of mouth referrals. In our experience, creating an SEO-friendly website design, one that will perform better in search engine results pages (SERPs), gives the accounting website a big vote of customer confidence and relevance, even if the site is intended merely to act as a reference point. If the accounting firm website ranks well in local web searches, there is a level of prestige and credibility that comes along with that ranking that speaks volumes to clients new and old.
Website Security is Paramount
Our professional web designers tackle several issues in a straightforward swoop by creating a secure website design.
- First and foremost, if the accounting firm and its clients are going to be transferring personal financial information via the website, the website has to be secure and well maintained. A data leak at this level could be catastrophic for the business. Many of the websites our Toronto web designers create for accountants, accounting firms, and other professional services companies feature a secure client portal that allows clients to log in and securely post financial information for their accountant to access and prepare documents on their behalf. The accountant may also securely upload documents to the website for clients to download and sign for example.
- Secondly, secure websites get a boost in organic search engine ranking. By using an SSL certificate to secure the website you’re telling search engines that the website is safe and secure, which can help your accounting firm website leapfrog the competition online.
About Parachute Design
Our Toronto web design agency has worked with accounting firms and professional services companies across Canada to accomplish their online marketing objectives by following these accounting firm web design best practices. Most recently, our logo design and web design for Stern Cohen won awards for the best corporate rebrand and best website design in their industry.
To learn more about our approach to web design for accounting and professional service firms, please call our Toronto web designers at 416-901-8633 or complete our online proposal planner to get a free quote.