First I have to disclose that this post is a shameless advert for what we do, as well as a plug for one my clients. At last night's awards ceremony, my good friends at Goodman Jones won this year's Accountancy Age awards in the category "Best use of internet by a Practice". They are an ideal example of how accounting practices can embrace the new Internet technology that is available, from the basics of their website, to the way they are using Software as a Service tools to help the business and the services they provide to their clients. In the awards issue of their magazine, Accountancy Age described the key reasons why GJ won the award:
- They commissioned and built a new website that really communicates what they do and how they help their clients, and which provides a better information source for their target communities. The judges praised the site's innovation and "stunning presentation" and applauded the firm for "creating a site that was truly aligned with customer needs". One client commented "Goodman Jones site is such a doddle to get around. Everything is so clearly laid out, I can easily find what I'm looking for in a couple of clicks".
- Used the website to provide an intranet for their clients as a delivery mechanism for some of the reporting and services they provide.
- In a "clear departure from more common brochure sites", GJ have moved in to providing a SaaS based online accounting solution for their clients, which is directly accessible from their website. The judges were impressed by the fact that it has direct links to online banking, which they called "outstanding".
- They have started a blog, written and managed by Philip Woodgate, one of the partners, which is aimed at providing SME/SMB advice. Another client said "SME Blog is a great way to stay in touch with issues that impact small and medium-sized enterprises. The informal nature of the site means it is easy to dip in and read".
- They've embraced using tools like GoToMeeting to have online meetings, training sessions and to support their clients.
- They've also adopted blog technology to provide a support system for their online clients, as another way that they can interact with them, provide direct support, help, and advice.
As I disclosed at the start, we've been involved in advising them to take this direction - we designed and built the new website and intranet (thanks to Glenn Jenner, our lead designer), involved Dennis to help with the "wordsmithing", got Philip in to blogging, and provided the SaaS accounting solution - Twinfield. However, it was very much a team effort in Goodman Jones building high quality content that impressed the judges. It is great to see a practice take on board the ideas and jump ahead like this, and to win against stiff competition from big firms like PwC.