The Find-a-ProAdvisor website receives over 400,000 unique visitors annually. These small business owners (SBOs) and QuickBooks users are looking for someone to help them with QuickBooks. The Find-a-ProAdvisor website is a a great source of leads, referrals and new clients for many QuickBooks Certified ProAdvisors (you must be certified to be listed). Thus, when Intuit makes changes to the Find-a-ProAdvisor website, we want to know what changed and how will it impact me? Hopefully this blog post will help answer those questions.
- I have a close relationship with Intuit. I’m one of their national trainers, write courses for Intuit Academy and consult with product development. I try to represent accounting professionals and when necessary, I contact Intuit to convey comments, feedback or complaints that I hear from accounting professionals.
- I have my own business and I’m an Advanced Certified ProAdvisor so I’m impacted by these changes too. I’m usually the first one listed in the Kansas City area (including the various suburban cities) since I’ve been Certified since 2004, have other certifications, ratings, etc. I get a lot of referrals and clients from the Find-a-ProAdvisor website.
- Ian Vacin, Intuit Product Manager for the ProAdvisor Program, wrote a letter explaining what changed, why things changed and more here. I would encourage you to read his letter too.
What Has Changed?
When someone searches the Find-a-ProAdvisor website, they enter a zip code and can select a range of 5-500 miles (the default is 30 miles). They see the search results of Certified ProAdvisors who meet this criteria (92 in my area, 387 in New York and 361 in LA). The initial search results are based on several different factors including: advanced certification, certified in current year, number of years certified, other certifications (QuickBooks Enterprise and/or QuickBooks Point of Sale), ratings, distance and picture on profile. Advanced Certified ProAdvisors are almost always listed first and for several pages in many metro areas. Most users will use the initial search results to contact a ProAdvisor and the rankings have not changed.
Select and Send Request
What has changed is the ability for a user to quickly select a ProAdvisor and send them a request. When the user mouse-overs over a name/profile, a Select button appears under the name. If they click Select, then on the right they see the selected ProAdvisor and they can Send Request. They can select several ProAdvisors and send a request to them all.
Plus, on each ProAdvisor’s profile page, there is a ‘Add to Selection’ button at the top.
When the user clicks on Send Request, an easy to complete form (as shown below) generates a confirmation email to the user and to the Selected ProAdvisors. I encourage you to test it — select yourself and send a request so you will see the emails generated to the user and ProAdvisor.
- I like this change! Providing the ability to Select and Send Request makes it much easier for users. Hopefully this will lead to more referrals and requests for us! Plus, I like that the request is via email instead of a phone call.
- According to Eric de Guzman (Intuit engineering team) and Ian Vacin (Intuit Product Manager) “our studies have shown that making it easier for SBO’s to contact you with fewer clicks of the mouse (and not requiring cut-and-paste or going to another room to borrow a pen to note it on a planner) do help generate more opportunities for you to add more clients. It’s an especially helpful nudge to those SBO’s who may have a tendency to procrastinate.”
Instead of an Advanced Search button, the QuickBooks user looking for help can click on Refine Results (to select Products You Use, Services You Need or Your Industry). They can also Sort By various factors including name, distance, certifications or highest rated.
- The option to Sort by Highest Rated is one of the bugs Intuit is aware of and currently working to fix. It is not calculating properly so a person with one 5 star rating can show before someone with numerous 5 star ratings.
Help Me Choose
The Help Me Choose button (as shown in the screen shot above) is new. If the user doesn’t know who to select from the initial search results, they can click on Help Me Choose. Clicking on the Help Me Choose provides them with four ProAdvisors — two Advanced Certified and two Certified ProAdvisors. These four are selected from the initial search results and will be rotated providing the user with choices from newer Certified ProAdvisors to Advanced Certified ProAdvisors.
- Note: The Help Me Choose results will not change unless you change the search criteria or actually send a request to those ProAdvisors. To change the search criteria, you would need to change the number of miles, select a Product, etc. I changed the distance and product (to search for QuickBooks Online) and in both cases I did see different search results.
- However, when I choose a product of QuickBooks Enterprise or QuickBooks Point of Sale, I would expect the results to include only ProAdvisors with those certifications. It appears to list ProAdvisors who indicated that they support that product as part of their profile information. This makes sense for most products (QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Mac, etc.) so I’m not sure if this is a bug or as intended.
- Some ProAdvisors are concerned that the Help Me Choose seems to imply an endorsement from Intuit for these four people. The four people are a subset of all Certified ProAdvisors in the search results so wouldn’t Intuit be endorsing all Certified ProAdvisors? Any Certified ProAdvisor can and will show up in the Help Me Choose results on a rotated basis. Help Me Choose just helps the confused or overwhelmed user narrow down the search results.
- My Suggestion for a change: I would like to see the default distance changed to 10 miles instead of 30 miles (at least in metropolitan areas with a lot of Certified ProAdvisors). Then, the Help Me Choose Results would provide ProAdvisors closer to the actual location.
How Will the Changes Affect Me?
For Small Business Owners or QuickBooks Users:
Hopefully the Select and Send Request will help users more efficiently contact ProAdvisors who might be able to help. For users who are overwhelmed by the number of ProAdvisors in the search results, hopefully the Help Me Choose will help by providing them with fewer choices representing a variety of ProAdvisors (from newer to advanced) to meet their needs.
For Advanced Certified ProAdvisors
I think the Select and Send Request will help provide more contacts and hopefully referrals. Since Advanced Certified ProAdvisors are usually at the top of the list, this should benefit you.
For the Help Me Choose, two of the four ProAdvisors will be Advanced Certified and should be listed first (after it is fixed). Hopefully this will help the users connect with a ProAdvisor instead of being overwhelmed and not connecting with anyone.
For Certified ProAdvisors
The Help Me Choose should help you receive more referrals since half of the results will be Certified ProAdvisors.
In some areas, the Select and Send Request will help you too. However, in those areas where there are a lot of Advanced Certified ProAdvisors, you still may not be listed high enough for this to help you. Continue to pursue your certifications and earn the Advanced Certification.
My Conclusion on the Changes
I think the Select and Send Request should help facilitate more connections and referrals which will probably benefit Advanced Certified ProAdvisor more since they are at the top of the list.
The Help Me Choose should provide Certified ProAdvisors with more opportunities for referrals which they may not receive otherwise. I think it is important to help provide them with some referrals and connections as well so they remain ProAdvisors and work towards the Advanced Certification.
Advanced Certified ProAdvisors still have a definite advantage on the Find-a-ProAdvisor website. We usually take up the first page (or multiple pages) of the initial search results. We get the majority of the referrals and calls from the Find a ProAdvisor website. Since we have been certified for so many years, it is extremely difficult (or impossible) for other, newer Certified ProAdvisors to get any referrals from the website.
Advanced Certified ProAdvisors represent a small minority of ProAdvisors (based on my rough calculations – less than 10% are Advanced Certified) but we probably receive the vast majority (if not all) of the referrals from the Find-a-ProAdvisor website. We have a big advantage (monopoly?) on the Find-a-ProAdvisor website which has benefited us disproportionately for years. Remember — I get a lot of referrals and business from the website too! However, I get calls from people who are not a good fit for me and would be better suited for another (or newer) Certified ProAdvisor. If the Help Me Choose helps someone find and contact them initially, then I’m ok with it. Advanced Certified ProAdvisors still have an advantage in the Help Me Chose (as 50% of those listed and at the top of the list).
As Eric mentioned, “we are hoping that you will give this new Find-a-ProAdvisor version a chance to succeed… but at the same time, please don’t hold-back on the feedback… especially about bugs in which I’m mostly interested in. Thank you all for your help and understanding. Like it or not, we are all in this together. :-)”
Please post your thoughts and comments below.