The way people research and make their purchase decisions has changed a lot during the past few years. Mobile devices, search engines, and social media have fundamentally changed the game across dozens of industries -- including professional services firms like accounting firms.
For decades, accounting practices -- including Palm Beach accountants -- generated nearly all of their new client business through networking and word of mouth referrals. And it’s not like small business owners all of a sudden stopped playing golf, or attending chamber mixers, or going to Rotary Club lunches. But in nearly all cases, this same group of potential clients is making all kinds of buying decisions very differently than they have in the past.
Accountants’ Clients Have Changed. But Are the Accountants Stuck in the Past?
These prospects are not much different than you and me. What’s the first thing you look at when you wake up in the morning? What’s the last thing you look at before going to sleep? If you said your smartphone -- congratulations: you’re “normal” and addicted to your smartphone. If you’re in denial, chances are a close friend or family member is more “normal” and addicted to their device.
So when building the Palm Beach County CPA Market Opportunity Report, we asked the basic question: which accounting firms in Palm Beach County are the most digitally-savvy?
Assessing Palm Beach Accountants’ Digital Footprint
When we turned to one of the most affluent enclaves in the country, we were frankly surprised to see so many accountants in Palm Beach so underinvested in their firm’s future and so far behind the times.
But some of the firms on the island are definitely doing a better job of staying current than others.
(Note: While the annual billings for accounting services may be quite lucrative, because of the high net worth of so many of the island’s residents, there doesn’t seem to be many accounting firms located in Palm Beach. In fact, the Florida Institute of CPAs (FICPA) doesn’t show a single accounting firm, of its 46 members in Palm Beach County, that’s located in Palm Beach.)
- HAFER Certified Public Accountants and Consultants (Palm Beach, Naples, Miami, and Orlando) With one of its four locations on Royal Palm Way in Palm Beach, this Palm Beach accounting firm should be in the consideration set for this blog post. That said, the website for HAFER Certified Public Accountants and Consultants is definitely not staying current as it isn’t mobile friendly and requires Adobe Flash Player.
- MBAF (Palm Beach, Miami, and 10+ Other Locations) In the Palm Beach County CPA Market Opportunity Report, the focus was on accountants whose firms are headquartered or have a fully-staffed location in Palm Beach County, and between 5-200 employees. MBAF is too big to qualify, with 536 employees on LinkedIn. But since 23 are tagged for the greater West Palm Beach area with an office on Sunset Avenue in Palm Beach, MBAF is worth a quick mention. As one might expect for a firm with this size, its digital resources are doing most of the right things. There’s educational content and personalization both by role and buyer’s journey stage. Search engine optimization basics are covered, and there’s relevant, active social media presence promoting some of its own thought leadership.
- Palm Beach Accounting and Financial Services LLC (Palm Beach) At some point, this accounting firm likely wanted to be found when potential clients were looking for “Palm Beach Accounting and Financial Services.” However, the website for PBAFS hasn’t aged well. Because of its very basic mistake with search engine optimization, its inability to pass Google’s mobile-friendly test, and its very stale copyright date, the website for Palm Beach Accounting and Financial Services LLC needs a lot of work to help better compete with other accounting firms in Palm Beach and more broadly, in Palm Beach County.
- Palm Beach Tax Group (Palm Beach) While its company name wouldn’t likely qualify for trademark protection, the name Palm Beach Tax Group is very descriptive and ideal for search engine optimization. While there is some educational content and attempting at segmenting by user role and buyer’s journey stage, much of the content on the website’s home page is focused on the firm itself rather than the questions and problems of potential clients. While its social media presence is passable, Palm Beach Tax Group is likely leaving a lot of potential opportunity on the table with some key omissions. Overall, however, it definitely gets a passing grade for staying current.
While these four accounting firms in Palm Beach provide some interesting learning opportunities for comparing which are more digitally-savvy than others, I would have preferred to add another two to four of these CPA firms to the list -- but simply couldn’t surface them, all the way back to page 5 of Google search engine results.
Which Palm Beach accountants did I miss from this list? And if you were a stranger evaluating potential accounting firms to hire in Palm Beach, how would you create your shortlist of who to meet with? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below.
And if you’re in a leadership role in an accounting firm and want to make sure that your firm comes across as staying current when attracting potential clients, be sure to download a free 4 page excerpt from the Palm Beach County CPA Market Opportunity Report.