April 2003

Website of the Month: Rothstein, Kass & Company

By Susan B. Anders, PhD, CPA, St. Bonaventure University

Although accounting firm websites attempt to communicate essentially the same types of information, the approaches taken vary considerably. These reviews attempt to assess the websites from different standpoints: potential client, potential employee, and general information seeker.

The website of Rothstein, Kass & Company, P.C. (www.rkco.com) has many positive and creative examples to offer readers, as well as some of the same areas for potential improvement that are common for many accounting firms’ websites.

In a somewhat typical accounting firm approach, the homepage has the “newsletter” look to it. While existing clients may find this interesting, potential new clients may need to spend a few minutes familiarizing themselves with the page to realize that they are indeed at Rothstein, Kass’ website.

Better use of the homepage would be a display of the firm’s service areas, with links to more information on each of these services.

Potential Clients

Once potential clients get past the news articles, the website is well designed and makes the information search fairly simple and straightforward. The main pages have primary and secondary horizontal indexes across the top. The potential client can quickly learn about the firm’s history, size, and international affiliation. One excellent feature is the listing of each of the principals’ names, with direct e-mail links.

The drop-down menu under “services” on the main horizontal index lists the firm’s specializations, such as accounting and auditing. Clicking on one of the specializations takes the visitor to a subsidiary page with more information about that service. What is missing is a way to contact the firm directly from the specialization page. In contrast, the industries listed on the drop-down index under “industries served” connect the visitor to descriptive information, as well as names (with direct e-mail links) and phone numbers of employees to contact.

The main pages also present a left-hand vertical index with buttons for resource center, office locations, careers, online brochures, and affiliate websites. Potential clients will be particularly interested in the office locations and online brochures. “Office locations” provides a drop-down menu with links to each of the individual offices, including contact information and directions. “Online brochures” allows the user to view and print the firm’s brochures.

Potential Employees

Employment opportunity is the least developed area of Rothstein, Kass’ website. The “careers” drop-down index provides links to firm culture, college recruitment, job opportunities, and other links. A recruiting brochure is also available under online brochures. The employment information on the website itself is quite limited, however, perhaps intentionally.

The job opportunity information is very general, with no specific openings announced. Potential applicants cannot submit resumes through the website, but instead are instructed to mail them to general addresses, with no contact name provided. Rothstein, Kass makes effective use of service providers for other areas of its website and should consider links to one of the many accounting employment websites if it wants to encourage job applicants.

General Information Seeker

Rothstein, Kass’ website offers access to very useful information. For example, somewhat hidden on the homepage is a link to a summary of “Corporate Accounting Reform,” produced by Newkirk and written in language that nonaccountants can understand. The link to the document is quick and clean and no additional effort is required on the viewer’s part to enter another website.

The website also offers some interesting features under the “resource center.” The firm’s quarterly newsletters are available in PDF format. Under “ask the expert,” users can submit general technical questions for one of the firm’s staff. Under “business links,” users can connect to a variety of websites, including U.S. stock exchanges, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the firm’s international affiliate, Accountants Global Network.

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