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Accountancy Age’s Top 50 Websites Review 2015

WELCOME to Accountancy Age’s review of the Top 50 firms’ websites. It’s been a long time coming, indeed many years since we last undertook such a task.

But there are a number of reasons why now seemed a good time to revisit the ‘online shop windows’, let alone time itself. For starters, Google has changed its algorithms to prioritise ‘mobile friendly’ websites: ones which alters their display to optimise the view across a smartphone, tablet or desktop browser.

Google’s move has, in part, been driven by the increasing use of non desktop-based internet access.

And so here is our review. It’s not a ‘technical’ breakdown of the websites, instead we have approached them from the viewpoint of a prospective client, a current client, or a potential employee.

Our key criteria were: usability; look/feel; content; and any unique selling points.

In other words: How easy is the site to navigate? Does the site’s look and feel present the firm in the best image? Is there information about partners, the services offered? And is there any ‘x-factor’ that makes the site stand out?

Click the Excel logo to view a spreadsheet of the results:  Excel logo

 

 

Click the firms’ pictures below to visit their website:

PwC logoPwC – the PwC site has an outdated feel in terms of its design, but easy navigation means information is easy to find and the site is mobile-friendly. The site has appropriate content with a client portal and a useful ‘issues’ tab that addresses regulation and governance etc.

OVERALL: 6

deloitte-strandDeloitte – The website is mobile-friendly with an appealing design and while page layouts can be confusing, navigation itself is straightforward. There is vast content including a portal including insights and undergraduate opportunities.

OVERALL: 7

kpmg receptionKPMG – KPMG’s site is smart and professional with a busy layout, navigation is simple but the site is not mobile-friendly. Content is appropriate for the user and there is a particularly good research tab which contains reports and an archive.

OVERALL: 6

ey-logoEY – The site is professional and mobile-friendly but the home page is slightly too busy, which can be off-putting. Tabs navigate to vast amounts of information and there is a positive focus on news and existing clients through an alumni section and a client portal.

OVERALL: 8

Grant Thornton signGrant Thornton – The site feels appealing and innovative with an interesting design, information is easy to find and it is mobile-friendly. It contains good content, including a ‘thinking’ tab with advice for existing clients and businesses, along with a client portal.

OVERALL: 8

BDOBDO – The layout and design of the site is enticing, with user-friendly language and simple navigation leads to appropriate content. There is a good focus on the firm’s news, the site is mobile-friendly and BDO InTouch (a client service portal) has recently been launched.

OVERALL: 7

baker-tilly-logoBaker Tilly – Baker Tilly’s site has a simplistic and enticing design, but navigation is not as simple as with other firms. The site is not mobile-friendly, but content is user-friendly and includes detailed client success stories.

OVERALL: 7

Smith & WilliamsonSmith & Williamson – The site is outdated but looks professional with effective navigation. There is a high level of content such as a vast and impressive section on the services offered but the site is not mobile-friendly.

OVERALL: 5

MazarsMazars – The site is appealing with a good design and navigation is not complex, with content that is appropriate and user-friendly. It is mobile-friendly and personable as there is a ‘your needs’ tab which is aimed to assist individuals and businesses.

OVERALL: 7

Moore StephensMoore Stephens – While the site is effectively simplistic, content is squeezed together on the home page, yet navigation is easy and the content is extensive. The site is not mobile-friendly but does include an international section with a focus on the firm’s presence in different nations.

OVERALL: 6

pkf logoPKF UK – The site is aesthetically interesting but navigation could be improved as every page requires scrolling and is not mobile-friendly. The content is good with an archive of publications, a client portal for every region and an international finance reporting standards tab, which is also useful to clients.

OVERALL: 7

Safery ChampnessSaffery Champness – With an effective and personable home page, navigation through tabs and professional page layouts make information easy to find, and the site is mobile-friendly. Content includes services details, a client portal and a great careers section focusing on students and graduates.

OVERALL: 8

Haines WattsHaines Watts – The design and layout on the site is appealing, with simplistic navigation and content such as great client case studies, a client portal and personality through imagery and language. The site is mobile-friendly and has a section with calculators for many services such as tax and VAT.

OVERALL: 9

crowe-clark-whitehill-logoCrowe Clark Whitehill – A unique layout makes the site attractive and also easy to navigate through with tabs to find content such as careers and firm information. The site is not mobile-friendly, but does have a good focus on news and maintains archives.

OVERALL: 6

begbies-logoBegbies Traynor – The site is smart and information is easy to find due to minimal navigation required through the use of drop-down menus for various service options. The site is mobile-friendly, information on services and staff profiles is extensive and there is a section dedicated to assets for sale.

OVERALL: 7

hacker-youngUHY Hacker Young – The site shows personality through business, but is tidy and smart meaning content such as an alumni section and press and careers can be found easily. It also contains a creditor reports portal, a good blog with news and info and is mobile-friendly.

OVERALL: 7

Kingston Smith logoKingston Smith – The home page contains too much information and the layout it bad but tabs make navigation easy and the site is mobile-friendly. The content is extensive with firm information including KS group and international sectors and a vast resources section with articles, news, blogs and brochures.

OVERALL: 7

MacIntyre Hudson Association (MHA)MHA Macintyre Hudson – The home page is smart and content found there makes important information easily accessible; it is a mobile-friendly site. Content includes the firm’s affiliations, tools and business news, with a ‘your business’ section giving good advice on strategy and success.

OVERALL: 8

Wilkins KennedyWilkins Kennedy – The site opens busily, but navigation is simple and leads to pages with good layouts and content such as events, a client portal and a resource centre with an archive of reports. Key staff lists are fairly impersonal, although negated somewhat by extensive list of blogs. Wilkins Kennedy’s website is mobile-friendly.

OVERALL: 7

MenziesMenzies – The site is professional, uses imagery, but lacks some personality. The layout is effective but it is not mobile-friendly. Content is user-appropriate with information on specialisms, services, a client ‘extranet’ portal and country desks catering for international businesses with advice.

OVERALL: 8

BuzzacottBuzzacott – Buzzacott’s site is appealing, smart and personable with user-friendly language and is mobile-friendly. Good page layouts mean navigation is simple and content includes news and insights, a client portal and personable ‘shared experience’ videos containing client testimonials.

OVERALL: 9

Francis ClarkFrancis Clark – The site’s design shows personality, simple navigation leads to detailed pages with information on the business, community, services, case studies and newsletters, as well as a useful user-friendly resource section with factsheets, forms and a glossary. The site is mobile-friendly.

OVERALL: 8

Tax Assist AccountantsTaxAssist Accountants – The site immediately feels commercial with no appeal to existing clients, but navigation is easy and there is detailed information on each page and a resource section with Q&A’s from experts. It is not mobile-friendly and unappealing due to design and brashness.

OVERALL: 5

FRP Advisory FRP Advisory – The site’s design is unappealing. Moving animations dominate the page and make it feel more akin to a tour operator’s website than that of a restructuring firm. Navigation is fairly simple but the site is too busy. It is mobile-friendly and contains some detail on services and client testimonials, with a creditors portal.

OVERALL: 5

HW FisherHW Fisher – The site’s design is unique and appealing, containing vast content such as news and events, services and a client portal, with information easy to find through tabs. It is mobile-friendly and there is an employee portal.

OVERALL: 7

Frank HirthFrank Hirth – Frank Hirth’s website looks professional, has a simple layout and is mobile-friendly. It contains detailed content that feels personable and friendly including a staff profile and a vast news and events section with a newsletter which involves the client.

OVERALL: 7

Kreston reevesKreston Reeves – A modern site, that outlines clearly its main lines of business. The smart, modern homepage leads through to more detailed services and sectors. Cleverly links to key contact details, based on user requirements. Homepage case studies a nice touch.

OVERALL: 8

Armstrong WatsonArmstrong Watson – The site home page is not particularly enticing but contains good information, and content on industries and services can be found easily through the navigational tabs. Armstrong Watson provide very detailed case studies from successful clients.

OVERALL: 6

price-bailey-120Price Bailey – The home page is muted, and not particularly enticing, and navigation works adequately. The information on services, events and careers is detailed and the resource section is interest-specific. The site is not mobile-friendly.

OVERALL: 6

SJD AccountancySJD Accountancy – The site’s home page layout is messy, but the navigation is effective and simple and there is extensive detail on services, an information and news centre, client login, a useful site content page with user-friendly links to social media and it is mobile-friendly. Useful for potential clients.

OVERALL: 7

haysmacintyreHaysmacintyre – Haysmacintyre’s site is simple, professional and appealing with a simple layout and effective navigation system. It is mobile-friendly and contains careers, services and business information for prospective clients, as well as an in-depth ‘not for profit’ section.

OVERALL: 7


Hazlewoods
Hazlewoods
– The site’s home page is busy but effective, with very specific tabs meaning information can be found through one click and there is great detail on services, sectors, events, the firm and a news and publication archive. It is mobile-friendly with a user-friendly business recovery and insolvency portal.

OVERALL: 7

Duncan ToplisDuncan & Toplis – The site feels initially unenticing but is professional and the layout means information can be easily found, such as the great resources section, portal and news and publications. The site is mobile-friendly and the firm publishes a monthly newsletter and has a client zone, which appeals to users.

OVERALL: 8

StreetsStreets – With a professional and friendly appeal for new and existing clients, the site’s content including service and sector detail, client area with a portal and knowledge section with ‘how-to’s is easy to find. The media and communications page is very detailed and the site is mobile-friendly.

OVERALL: 9

Anderson Anderson and BrownAnderson Anderson & Brown – The site is interesting, appealing and friendly with an effective layout and navigation is great due to specific tabs including taxation services, auditing and accounting, knowledge, alumni and client login. It is a mobile-friendly site and the app and e-brochure are user-friendly.

OVERALL: 8

BIshop FlemingBishop Fleming – Bishop Fleming’s site feels innovative and professional and though the home page is too long, vertical tabs mean more interesting navigation for finding detail on services, news and blogs and documents. It is mobile-friendly and the design is excellent, with a separate site dedicated to careers.

OVERALL: 9

Old MillOld Mill – The site is very professional, enticing and mobile-friendly. Navigation is simple and there is extensive content such as a portal, great staff profile, events, news and careers, with fantastic personable information with ‘your business’ and ‘your family’ tabs and a great design.

OVERALL: 9

Lovewell BlakeLovewell Blake – The home page contains good information for new and existing clients and feels professional, with a simple layout, effective navigation and mobile-friendliness. But deeper content is plain and lacking detail. Content found on the site includes ‘virtual cabinet’ client portal account.

OVERALL: 7

Larking GowenLarking Gowen – Larking Gowen’s home page is friendly but too busy, yet content such as the detailed business accounting section, blogs, events and client portal can be found. The site is mobile-friendly and the help and advice section offers user-friendly brochures and newsletters.

OVERALL: 7

Mercer and HoleMercer & Hole – The site is formal and has an cold feel and a focus on new clients, yet navigation is simple so the staff profile, services and sectors and news and blogs can be found easily. The site contains separate blogs for insolvency, business, tax and charities and is mobile-friendly.

OVERALL: 6

ASEASE – Its site is appropriate for the industry but not very attractive or mobile-friendly. Tabs direct users to information which includes case studies, performance tracking, client testimonials and a resource centre, as well as a downloadable magazine being available.

OVERALL: 6

Jon Lisby Clive Stevens Robert HolandJames Cowper – Formal but friendly, the site’s specific tabs make navigation easy and there is in-depth information on events, news and publications, careers. Podcasts and videos provide clients with advice. It is not a mobile-friendly site.

OVERALL: 6 

Hillier HopkinsHillier Hopkins – Though outdated and disinteresting, the site is still professional and friendly with information on services and sectors, a secure doc exchange and client testimonies. Bad page layouts lessen good navigation and the site is not mobile-friendly, but it does contain a blog with good detail on many subjects.

OVERALL: 5

Forrester BoydForrester Boyd – The site’s design is unattractive and commercial, but the detailed business and personal services, client experience, news and senior expertise information is easy to find. The site is mobile-friendly and the excellent staff profile and detailed information on the site is user-friendly.

OVERALL: 8

ShipleysShipleys – Shipleys has a simple, smart site with personality and easy navigation leading to the list of successful clients, newsroom and the careers section with an alumni section. It is mobile-friendly and the great resource section contains a useful toolkit including current issues and publications.

OVERALL: 7

Moore& SmalleyMoore and Smalley – The site is professional, a clear style and is mobile-friendly. Navigation is simple through accessible links to the blogs, media centre, client portal and careers sections, and there are options to ‘make a payment’ and ‘get in touch’ forms on every page, making the site modern and lively.

OVERALL: 8

Barnes RoffeBarnes Roffe – Barnes Roffe’s site is busy but smart and good features on the home page save navigational time. Content includes a client portal and cloud accounting, and specific sectors for each service such as audits and accounting. It is mobile-friendly and the resource section is excellent including an ‘ask an accountant’ service.

OVERALL: 8

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