*This blog post was originally written in 2012*
Following on from our previous post about Law Firms, we thought it might be a good idea to see what Accountancy Firms were doing in regards to their branding (and its application to their website). This time, we’ve taken the top 10 UK Accountancy Firms (based on UK Fee Income) according to Accountancy Age (thanks chaps).
Click on any of the images to be whisked through to the corresponding website.
Caveat: as always, without knowing the brief, client, budget and timeframe it’s a little hard to measure their success – so this is just for fun and our opinion.
In at number…
10 – PKF
I’m actually a little unsure of PKF’s logo – there’s certainly something there (some kind of slightly odd faux 3D vibe?) and with some careful roll-out (probably involving a knock-out version) I think could be rather good and interesting. Even more so if they went with a blue which had a little more character than the rather bland current one. The website however, oh deary deary me. The UK site (the US site is a totally different kettle of fish) looks like it was designed and built in around 1985 out of Stickle Bricks. The website seems to have incredibly complicated and deep navigation, with pretty much every page stuffed to the rafters with links to anything and everything else. Incredibly dull and featuring some very small and uber cliche stock photography it certainly doesn’t give the impression that it’s the tenth largest accountancy firm in the UK – it just doesn’t inspire confidence.
9 – Smith & Williamson
Smith & Williamson’s logo couldn’t look much more stereotypical if it tried, but definitely get points for using any colour other than Royal Blue. The tasteful rainbow of principal services is rather nice too (and I think could have been made more of as sadly you never see anything of these colours ever again) – although I wonder if you have 19 services how many others are left? Rather clunky but functional drop down navigation takes you through the very text heavy site, although there is a splash of colour and the odd image to lighten the mood. If you dig deep enough they even occasionally say who they work for in each particular sector, I’d have thought more could be made of it, helps to build instant trust and establish the company’s size. Their ‘Entrepreneurs‘ section really feels like it should be it’s own microsite rather than left to fend for itself deep within the main website.
8 – Baker Tilly
Baker Tilly have a lovely little bird that appears to have a wing on fire as a logo, I’m not really too sure what it’s all about, presumably some great heritage that it’s grown out from (although can’t find anything on its website)? Coupled with the typography the logo has a very American feel about it and I can’t help but think of the US Postal Service.
The website has a nice modern feel, with navigation that is simple, clear and obvious – leading you deeper in to the website. The site is easy to read and keeps you interested, with a nice four column grid providing some flexibility for layout, a variety of images and some proper typography that creates a hierarchy of content and aids the wayfinding.
7 – RSM Tenon
RSM Tenon’s logotype as a very odd exclamation mark combined with the ‘M’, presumably trying to show they’re dynamic or make an impact? And what’s that colour – default business Royal Blue of course.
RSM Tenon’s homepage seems to just be a sea of text links (not quite sure how many, after 40 – not even including the drop down navigation – I got bored and gave up) and really needs to cut the number down and help guide the visitor a bit. As you delve deeper in to the site it continues to be difficult to navigate with various bits of navigation all over the page, the result is you’re never too sure where you should be looking in order to try and find something.
6 – BDO
BDO’s logo isn’t great, it doesn’t seem to mean anything, it looks very dated and ugly and has the colour of value range baked beans – not a great first impression. The website however looks modern and clean and manages to display a large amount of information in a way that’s easy to sift through – helped by large titles and secondary colours. Content for the news feed, press releases and upcoming events is also all bang up to date giving the impression that BDO really take their website seriously. The main image / headline on the page is a little ‘stock’ cheesy but certainly grabs attention, just a shame that it doesn’t cycle through the four versions automatically, which would create a bit more interest on the site. Sadly, once you go deeper in to the site it becomes pretty much a pure text affair, becoming very dry and heavy.
5 – Grant Thornton
Grant Thornton have a very modern and clean logo that manages to stay away from the cliche blue with a very distinguished looking purple, coupled with clean sans serif type the modern take on an infinity / knot symbol gives the company a fresh up-to-date look.
Their website feels a little cluttered on the homepage, I think the tag line (“An instinct for growth”) would have worked better in one of the opening images rather than at the top of the page and if the logo was a little bit smaller to give the navigation a bit more space to breathe. The purple is used nicely in the site but the blue links and headers for the four sections at the bottom feel a little separate to the rest of the site. I rather like the way the main navigation works, clean clear and simple, although some indication as to which sub page you’re currently on would have been nice. The inner pages are nice and clear but could really have benefitted from some imagery to just lift them up a touch and differentiate them from each other.
4 – Ernst & Young
As we have Ernst & Young as a client we shan’t be talking about their branding and website but please feel free to talk amongst yourselves.
3 – KPMG
KPMG’s logo has a very dated feel about it but it thankfully rescued by a nice website design. The diagonal slider at the top seems to echo the angle of the italic letters in the logo and allows a nice large header without compromising the logo itself. The homepage has a lot of content without it appearing over powering, although alternating colours for articles on both the ‘Latest news releases’ and ‘Blog’ sections would make each entry stand out more. The main navigation is simple, clean and clear – breaking the entire site down very nicely to help guide you though it. Sub pages keep the interest up with both imagery and variety in the grid used for the main content which really helps to separate pages from each other. The sub navigation is clean and subtle and works really well without distracting from the main page content.
2 – Deloitte
Deloitte’s logo feels a little dated, the typography itself feels very ‘system typefacey’ and the idea of the full stop as if Deloitte is the last word in accountancy feels just a little odd (especially in the bright green).
The website has some nice touches, like the slider on the homepage (but why isn’t it the full width of the page?) and the clean layout are all rather nice but with so much white space the page feels a little empty. The London 2012 sponsorship is nice but fits very awkwardly at the bottom of the page, feeling very tacked on at the last minute. The main navigation feels a little clunky and doesn’t really seem to want to work properly (at least on my Mac running Safari). Inner pages seem fine, with a nice solid layout and good sub navigation, with the green from the logo making an appearance to highlight things. A little more imagery would have been nice to see but overall the site isn’t bad – just feels like it needs a little more time to properly finish it.
1 – PWC
PWC have a great logo, after a recent rebranding job they’ve been brought bang up to date, shortening their name to the acronym that everyone called them by anyway and introducing a bold colour palette and style. They roll-out this new style across the website really well, with plenty of imagery and colour though out the site to keep the interest up. The navigation is clean and very clear, with sub pages keeping the standard set on the homepage up, with plenty of imagery, colour and video on pretty much every page. Underlining the headlines of articles to show they’re links on the homepage seems a little heavy-handed and the odd little bit of text within the PwC Player that doesn’t seem to quite fit properly (in Safari on a Mac anyway) – but we’re starting to really nit pick now.
So, that’s the top 10 of UK Accountancy Firms based on UK Fee Income. Obviously our comments are a little brief (and playful), but what do you think?