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Three of Top Ten firms’ websites ‘unfit’ for mobile use

THREE of the top ten accounting firms’ websites are classed as ‘not mobile friendly’ by Google, according to research undertaken by Accountancy Age. 

According to Google’s ‘mobile friendly’ tool, KPMG, Baker Tilly and Smith & Williamson have multiple issues when it comes to their websites’ usability on mobile devices. The problems were found during Accountancy Age’s review of the Top 50 firms’ websites, which will be published on Monday.

In April, Google launched new search algorithms that favour websites designed to function well on mobile devices. Websites that fail to adjust to accommodate mobile devices are effectively penalised. Where the text is too small to read, have hyperlinks sitting too close together, content that is wider than the mobile screen, and a lack of scaling, will negatively affect a site’s ranking on Google searches.

Tim Prizeman, a PR consultant at Kelso Consulting, said professional services firms can struggle to be agile on technology issues. “Both small and large professional firms can be slow-moving organisations,” said Prizeman.

He warned that target audiences for firms, including potential clients and students, were likely to use mobile devices to access websites.

“Around 20% of website traffic comes from mobile phones, and this is on the increase. Senior executives travel a lot, so no mobile usability is unfriendly towards them. The issue also affects students who are looking for careers on their mobiles.”

Outranked by competitors

Bob Dearsley, chief executive of B2B Marketing Laboratory, suggested that the lack of desktop-to-mobile transitioning was due to a lack of concern: “It does not come as any great surprise that many large organisations, particularly those who consider they don’t have a consumer focus, have just not bothered to make the changes needed.”

“But by not optimising your website for mobile while your competitors are, you run the risk of being outranked by your competitors.”

The three top ten firms said they were aware of the issue, and are looking to resolve it.

In a statement to Accountancy Age, a KPMG spokesman said: “We are continuing to develop and invest significantly to update our online presence to greatly improve the mobile experience for users.”

A Baker Tilly spokeswoman confirmed that action will be taken to improve their technology: “We are aware of the limitations of our current website, and will be launching a new fully responsive site in October in line with our rebrand.”

Nick Hodgson, head of marketing at Smith & Williamson, said: “A significant programme of investment is already underway for the launch of a totally new group website and this is due to go live in early 2016. This new site will offer a much better user experience via desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile.”

Of the 50 firms reviewed by Accountancy Age, mobile usability issues were detected in 11.

Dearsley added: “Let this survey be a wake-up call to those in the industry who are being sluggish to create mobile friendliness. Don’t delay – there are no prizes for being last.”

Visit Accountancy Age on Monday to view our full review of the Top 50 firms’ websites.

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