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Optimise your website for search

If you are looking for ways to drive more traffic to your website by enhancing your search engine rankings, there are a number of simple methods that can be followed to improve your results.

Google is the most popular and most used search engine with more than 50% of all web searches being through Google.  So when it comes to looking for ways to improve your site, it is best to ask the king.

There is some fairly detailed information in Google's guidelines on the best practices for your site. 

We also recommend you consider reading Google's 'Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide'.

CCH take care of the technical side of things by ensuring that when your site is built, it is to the latest standards*. The areas you can manage yourself relate to improving the content, titles, descriptions and url names within your site, as well as organising third party sites to link to your own.

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Changes coming soon to Web Manager

We're committed to making Web Manager as user friendly as possible. In an effort to improve the functionality of Web Manager, over the weekend we will be releasing a number of changes in the following areas:

  • Drag and drop capabilities
  • Improved line spacing management
  • Easy bullet points and lists
  • YouTube embedding

Read on for more information about these improvements:

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Online Marketing Trends for 2014

The internet is part of our daily lives. We use it to inform, entertain and connect, as well as make purchasing decisions. It is so much a part of our lives that the word Google is now included in the Oxford English Dictionary.

It has also changed the way we attract, retain and 'market' to our client base. Over the past few years, there has been more of a shift toward starting communication and creating value, rather than just publishing mass marketing messages.

It is an ever changing space, but below are five key trends we see emerging or cementing their place in online marketing for the latter part of 2014.

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Our development team have been working hard and we're pleased to announce some great new features within CCH iFirm Practice Manager - the initial stages of our new WIP Centre, and the release of the Email Centre.

We have recently introduced the ability to assign Write-ons/offs by Resource as well as create Write-ons/offs on open jobs. These features have been much requested, and now clients are able to create Write-ons/offs either when closing the job or while the job is open. Users are even able to add a reason explaining why the write-off/on occurred.

To add to this increased functionality, we've created two new reports: the Write-on Summary Report, which provides a summary by team member of Write-on/off totals and a Write-on Breakdown Report, which shows the jobs that make up the Write-on/off totals, as well as their reasons. All this adds up to more real time visibility of how your firm and staff are performing, and allows you to keep a better track of jobs as they proceed.

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'Google My Business', 'Google Places for Business', and 'Google+ Pages Dashboard' - What's the difference?

If you previously used Google Places for Business or Google+ Pages dashboard to manage your business information, you've likely noticed that your account has been automatically upgraded to Google My Business dashboard. Google My Business makes it simpler than ever to make sure your local business information can be easily found across Google, including on Google Maps, Google Search, and Google+. Best of all it's free to set up!

Why Use Google My Business?

Google My Business is the fast and easy way for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence with Google. Using the Google My Business dashboard, you'll now be able to:

  • Maintain up-to-date business information on Google
  • Build loyal customers using a Google+ page. Followers of the page for your business can show appreciation and give feedback with posts and reviews, and use the +1 button to endorse products and services on Google+, Google Search, Maps or on ads.
  • Track engagement with insights for Google+ pages and posts
  • See information on your related Google Analytics account and YouTube channels
  • Seamlessly create and track performance of AdWords Express campaigns

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CCH iFirm Cloud Tax is now available!

Today we're extremely excited to announce that we've reached a major milestone in the release of Australia's first true, cloud-based Tax form preparation and lodgement product - CCH iFirm Cloud Tax. Individual and Company returns are now able to be prepared and filed via the cloud, as well as IAS, BAS and FBT returns which were made available earlier this year in May.

We've also made available the ability to import 2013 returns from MYOB AO Classic Tax and CCH On-Premise Tax so you don't have to re-key information for 2014 returns into CCH iFirm Cloud Tax. We are working on extending this import ability to other tax systems.

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Firm Focus Webinar Wrap-up

We held the first webinar in our Firm Focus series last week with the topic of how to hire and then retain a high performing team in your firm. With over 100 firms joining us live and many more registered to receive the recording, the webinar generated plenty of interest and confirmed the need for this type of information sharing.

If you attended the webinar, thank you very much for supporting this initiative. If you missed it and would like to take a look at what went on you can view a recording here. The presentation slides are also on SlideShare here.

The main points from the webinar were:

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If you get to the end of the day and discover you're missing time in your timesheet, CCH iFirm Practice Manager makes it quick and easy to fill in the gaps. Simply click on the time slot from the daily view that you're missing time for and Practice Manager will populate the Start Time and End Time ready for you to add the details.

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As part of the lead up to our webinar on recruiting and retaining a high performing team in your firm, we're looking at some areas of interest around the topic. You can sign up for the webinar here.

In our previous post on motivation, we talked about paying your team what they think they're worth as a way of creating a motivated and loyal team. We acknowledged that this approach may not be financially feasible for some firms, but it raises the question of what do accountants get paid in New Zealand? 

The table below was taken from the 2013 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Benchmarking Survey of the New Zealand Accounting Profession from CCH Business Fitness NZ. The survey involved 248 New Zealand accounting businesses. The salary brackets below represent the median result at various responsibility levels from the firms surveyed.

What do accountants get paid?

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What motivates you?

As part of CCH iFirm's commitment to support our industry, we're holding a series of Accounting Firm focused free webinars to address the main issues we hear in the market, and as identified in the CCH Business Fitness GBU. Because most Accountants are finding it difficult to find and then retain staff, the first of these webinars on 17 June will focus on recruiting and retaining a high performing team. You can learn more or register for the webinar here.

To kick things off and get you thinking we're looking at what motivates people.

A quick Google search will provide you with endless '5 ways to motivate your team' type lists that are all different. The only thing these lists can seem to agree on is that motivation is closely linked to situation and will differ greatly across individuals.

The more reading we did, the more apparent it became that lack of motivation was the outcome of more serious underlying problems, and that pepping up the team with a motivational speaker once a year or a lunch shout wasn't going to quite cut the mustard. Happy and passionate people are the highly motivated ones, so in this blog we're going to take a look at some of the 'long way round' options to create on-going motivation in your team.

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