Getting to Know You

Article excerpt

A firm that highlights every staff member online.

Pashke Twargowski & Lee (PT&L), in Erie, Pennsylvania, decided to use the World Wide Web not only to advertise the firm but also to let potential clients know who the firm's members are. In addition to detailed descriptions of PT&L's services and scores of useful business links are individual pages that provide photographs and a "personal areas of interest" list for each partner and employee.

"Our purpose was marketing and public relations," said firm partner Greg Pashke. "Information technology consulting--especially relating to Novell networks--is becoming a larger niche for us, and potential clients are more likely to find us on the Net:'

WHAT'S ON THE SITE

The PT&L site, which has been up since the spring, is Greg Pashke's pet project. A few small graphics enliven a simply designed site that loads quickly. The home page provides a table of contents linking to the firm's staff and services, a wide variety of other Internet connections and "a lighter look at life."

Most of the site's pages are devoted to services and firm personnel. Andy Warhol said everyone would get 15 minutes of fame; PT&L gives each firm member 15 bytes: a photo, brief biography and description of his or her responsibilities in the firm. Each member also provides a list of interests-- everything from state CPA society activities to favorite musicians-- and favorite links--from alma maters to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Visitors get a sense of what each person is like and who does what for the firm. For example, visitors ]earn Karen Benson, CPA, provides accounting, tax and consulting services and has run audit engagements for large publicly held companies. Her page also notes that a "positive mental attitude makes Karen a role model to emulate" and lists bible study, reading, skiing, swimming and sailing as her interests. Greg Pashke quotes his mantra, and partner Stan Twargowski refers to himself as the firm's "resident philosopher and renaissance man."

Firm services also are described, in considerable detail, under six broad categories: computer and systems; management consulting and information services; accounting/management outsourcing; pension and employee benefit plan auditing; auditing, accounting and tax compliance; and tax and financial planning. Subheads translate "business-speak" to English, defining strategic and tactical planning, for example, as "How are you going to get where you want to go?"

A special section titled "I Didn't Know That You Could Do That" describes PT&L services that businesses may not realize a CPA firm can provide, such as controller outsourcing, Web page design and being a "sounding board" for chief executive officers.

Pashke said the firm plans to add a weekly technology tip. He also said he is working with clients to add case studies describing how the firm handled particular engagements and is planning to include links to clients' Web sites.

LINKS: SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE

The more than 50 links to other Internet sites are divided into financial/ government, Web resources, local, professional/small business and news/diversion. PT&L provides more than a list, including brief and sometimes amusing descriptions. (A White House link is described as "visit Bill & Hillary.") Visitors can quickly scroll from the Internal Revenue Service to Monty Python. …