Comparitive Analysis of Kpmg and Vavrinek Websites
Business and Management
Submitted By mrsjones
In this essay we will be examining the websites of two CPA firms, a Big-4 firm and a Second-tier firm. The second-tier firm our group has chosen is Vavrinek, Trine, Day & Company, a California based firm established in 1948. Vavrinek has six office locations, employees 200 people, and provides a variety of assurance and non-assurance services including accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting. It is ranked among the top 100 CPA firms in the United States and consistently ranks among the top five in the state of California. The Big-4 firm our group has chosen is KPMG. Founded in 1987 with the merger of KMG and Peat Marwick, KPMG also provides auditing, tax, and advisory services. This International network of CPA firms employees 138,000 professionals in over 150 countries, and with annual revenues exceeding $22.7 billion, has become one of the largest professional services networks in the world. From our examination of these sites we will provide a critical evaluation of each, as well as an accompanying comparative analysis.
We will begin our assessment by evaluating what we collectively found to be positive characteristics of the Vavrinek, Trine, Day & Company website. The first thing we noticed is that the site has an appealing visual aesthetic. The various pages are organized, cohesive, and uncluttered, and the font size and page layout makes the information presented easily readable. We also appreciated the navigation functions and how easy it is for the user to find the information they are looking for very quickly. Another impressive characteristic is that the content provided in the site provides users with a clear representation of the services offered by the firm. When you click on one of the services links, for example the audit and accounting link, each of the different types of classifications of auditing and accounting services has a separate link making the available information more comprehensive. Additionally, there are other various resources such as the 2011-2012 Web Tax Guide that provides users with relevant and timely information. The site also includes many features that lend authority and credibility to the firm. For example, users have access to profiles of all the partners that details their expertise and experience. The continual emphasis on the company’s values and Vavrinek’s commitment to quality gives current and potential client’s confidence in the quality and efficiency of services provided. Furthermore, the firm has presented a copy of their peer review with the highest rating, ensuring the value placed on ethical and professional operating principles.
In our examination we have also identified some features and functions of Vavrinek’s website that can be improved upon. The main feature we found to be an issue is the search bar. When a search is done with this search box, Google ads relating to your query are listed first in the results. This can be a nuisance, is visually cluttering, and can be misleading to the inquirer. Another concern was that the information in the “Hot Topics” link did not appear to be current. Many of the postings found under this link are from 2010 giving the impression of the firm being laggard. Adding a newsfeed or the like, would give users the impression that Vavrinek is on top of current developments as well as give insight to what is happening within the firm itself. Additionally, the welcome message from Managing Partner, Ron S. White would have been better suited if it had been more of a feature on the home page as well as in a video format.
We will continue our analysis with our thoughts on the positive characteristics of the KPMG website. First we found that the usefulness of the site it quite extraordinary. It covers a broad range of issues and is a great tool for informing the user. Examples of information that can be found include the latest IFRS news, information about cloud computing, a detailed explanation of XBRL, and even the corporate tax rate in Afghanistan! KPMG is also at the forefront of technology by offering a diverse set of multimedia tools to the users of the site which allow for delivery of timely and relevant information. The tools featured include webcasts, a YouTube channel, an IPad app, RSS feeds, podcasts, a Twitter account, and ways to share articles and publications with others via Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. Additionally we found the search function to be a useful feature because it enables users to edit the search results making it easier to find information. Other features found that highlight the credibility of the firm are its Communication of Progress Report, which demonstrates KPMG’s network of member firms’ commitment to advancing the business agenda as an active corporate citizen, the KPMG International Transparency Report, which informs users of the firms commitment to uphold professional obligations and responsibilities, and KPMG Global Code of Conduct, which defines its standards and expectations for employees.
We have also identified several issues that of the KPMG site that can be improved upon. One of the major problems we saw was that the website did not have a good aesthetic appeal. The font is too small and we found the site to be somewhat cluttered and disorganized. We believe that by organizing features such as “about us”, “reports”, “services”, “contact us”, etc. would have made the information less overwhelming and easier to navigate. We also found that there is no access to information about employees of the firm. Although we understand that because of the sheer volume of the number of partners it would not have been feasible to have this as a feature of the global site, we believe it would have been beneficial to have access to partner profiles when you visit specific locations of the KPMG site. Additionally, the location function was useful enough but definitely needs improvement. For example, when clicking on the “see list of international offices” link from the Global homepage, you are navigated to a page with a list of international offices but when you choose an office from this list it provides you with contact information but does not take you to the homepage for that location . Instead you must use the drop down arrow below the map to navigate to the homepage for location you are seeking.
After examination of both websites of each CPA firm, our group has unanimously agreed in our preference for the Vavrinek, Trine, Day & Company. We found their site to be much simpler to navigate than the KPMG website; the information provided has better readability, and is much more personable. For example, when visiting the KPMG site you are almost immediately lost in a sea of infinite information and it can make a user feel overwhelmed, especially when it is unclear where to go to find specific information. Additionally, the Vavrinek site establishes credibility by incorporating the firm’s values within the information provided and it is not necessary to have to refer to a long report, and also because of the detail provided on the partners of the firm. Overall, we found their site to be more user friendly, better organized, and easier accessibility to the information you need.