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Select one of the e-commerce models from below:

  1. B2C – Retail supply of financial accounting services; such as financial advice and income tax returns.
  2. B2B – Business to business in terms of firms or individuals who provide accounting services to businesses; such as small business book keeping to major accounting firms providing consulting and audit services.
  3. P2P – The collaborative economy whereby consumers supply each other; for example financial advice or accounting services.
  4. How does the website URL relate to the business name?
  5. How easily is the website found using general internet search engines (e.g. Google, Ask, AltaVista, Bing, Yahoo!)?
  6. Does the website give me all the organisational information a user could reasonably require?
  7. Are requirements to provide a user’s (personal or sensitive) information appropriate?
  8. How well does the website reassure users about the security and use of their information?
  9. How well does the website foster user trust in the organisation?
  10. How well does the website address legal issues associated with use of the website or engagement in transactions?
  11. How well does the website provide for the accessibility needs of users?
  12. How well does the website address the language or cultural needs of users?
  13. Does the website contain all the product information that a user could reasonably require?
  14. Does the website allow all the customisation (user-managed features) that a user could reasonably expect?
  15. How well does the website personalise the experience for users?
  16. Does the website identify sufficient channels for user service/support?
  17. How easy is it to find any information on the website about the organisation, their products or services?
  18. How easy is the information on the website to read (i.e. is provided information in appropriate language and with sufficient detail for most users)?
  19. Is the website easy to navigate (i.e. move through the website to find information, products, or services, and engage in transactions with the organisation)?
  20. How appropriate are the website aesthetics (e.g. use of layout, colours, imagery, fonts, etc) for the targetaudience?
  21. How well does the website foster community among users?
  22. How quickly does the website load into your browser and do all website features, links and embedded objects (eg: media files or applets) work as intended?
  23. How well does the website support different web-browsers or platforms (e.g. mobile devices)?
  24. Does the website provide a sufficient range of payment options as could be reasonably expected?
  25. Does the website provide a sufficient range of delivery options as could be reasonably expected?

Business to Business (B2B) Model

E-commerce is the process through which businesses sell goods and services over the internet (Chaffey, 2004). The advancement in technology has made both the service and the product industries to re-engineer their structure to optimise their processes (Saastamoinen, 2012). Industries like finance and accounting that were initially thought to operate in back and front offices have used technology to outsource their services (Tas & Sunder, 2004). Different accounting and Financing firm have established an online presence to be able to effectively deliver their services to their customers.

The business model selected for these report was the Business to Business (B2B) model. The two financial accounting e-commerce website that will be contrasted and compared, belong to two businesses, ESV Accounting and Business Advisors and AGS Accounting. Both businesses offer different accounting and financial services, and offer businesses advance on matters relating to different financial and accounting services. The homepage URL for ESV Accounting and Business Advisors and AGS Accounting are https://www.esvgroup.com.au/  and https://www.agsfinancialgroup.com.au/ respectively. The homepage for the two websites are displayed below in figure 1 and figure 2.

Figure 1: ESV Accounting and Business Advisors

Figure 2: AGS Accounting

AGS Accounting

AGS Financial Group is a privately owned service business that offer proactive value added accounting services to its clients to assist them became more profitable and increase their chances in the highly competitive environment. AGS Accounting specializes offering different financial services to small and medium business. The services offered include financial planning, business consultation, corporate superannuation and accounting. Since it was established in 2002, AGS Financial Group has grown and at the moment it has over one hundred highly qualified professionals that are trained to offer personalized services to customers. In the year 2017 it was ranked 86 in the top accounting firms in Australia, with a revenue growth of 5.2% (The Australian Financial Review , 2017).

ESV Accounting and Business Advisors

ESV Accounting and Business Advisors focuses on taxation, financial audits, business evaluation, forensic accounting, litigation support and advisory services to different businesses.  Other than for profit businesses, ESV Accounting and Business Advisors also offer their services to non-profit organizations that operate in a rapidly changing environment (ESV Group). ESV Accounting and Business Advisors assist these organizations to keep up with the changing legislations and other challenges that might arise. The business also assists the non-profit organizations with their accounting and offer advice on different management decisions. The business also assists to overseas businesses that seek to invest in Australia. It offers advisory services on how businesses can setup in Australia and deal with the challenges that arise with the unfamiliar environment (ESV Group).  It was ranked 29 in the top accounting firms in Australia, with a revenue growth of 3.3% with a revenue of $12.65 million (The Australian Financial Review , 2017).

AGS Accounting

AGS Financial Group pledges to assist business to manage and attain growth by offering “best financial advice and investment strategies” (AGS Financial Group).  AGS Financial Group has an experience team of professional with proven experience to address customers’ needs and meet their expectations. The Corporate Relationship Managers are assigned to different businesses to offer financial advice, corporate superannuation services and employee benefit programs (AGS Financial Group). Therefore, businesses are able to became profitable, grow and to protect their wealth from “‘get rich quick schemes’ and the confusion of complex superannuation rules and financial products” (AGS Financial Group).

ESV Accounting and Business Advisors purpose is to “to help business owners on their journey as they grow, by helping the “predict and solve complex problems which help business owners sleep at night” (ESV Group). The business focuses its attention in trying to understand customers’ business and industry so to offer services that address specific needs and add real value. The business proposition is “We’re big enough to solve your complex business problems, but small enough to know your name when you call” (ESV Group). Therefore, ESV Accounting and Business Advisors objects to always be recognized as the principal provider of top-quality accounting and financing services for complex business problems and at the same time address specific business needs. ESV Accounting and Business Advisors seeks to understand the unique business needs and the complexities involved so as to offer effective or accurate financial or accounting solution. The business assisting different firms to remain up to date in their financial health and make knowledgeable business decisions.

Assessing the E-commerce Websites

Table 1 and Table 2 shows the assessment of the websites for different attributes listed in Appendix 1 for AGS Financial Group and ESV Accounting and Business Advisors respectively.

Attribute

Rating

Comment

1.

5

The website URL contain the name of the business, AGS Financials.

2.

5

The website is the first listing when a search is made with the name “AGS”.

3.

3

The website does offer all the significant information about the business. However, it is difficult to locate information like the vision and its core values because they are embedded to the slide show images and only a preview is issued with the faint option of read more.

4.

4

To make appointment an account, the user is just required to give their name, phone, email and postal code. Although this information does not fall into the Personal Identifiable category, they can be sensitive because they can be used by a third party to gain access to other important information.  

5.

3

There is no assurance of user security. Although the business adheres to the AMP’s Privacy Policy, there is limited assurance to the customer, especially because the information can be collected by subsidiaries and other related businesses.  

6.

2

The website does not foster user trust even with the private policy. In the policy customers are urged to offer information so as to be assisted but with little assurance on the safety of the information.

7.

5

The company has well established private policy that adheres to the AMP’s Privacy Policy. Trust is also established by having a clear engagement strategy upfront.

8.

2

Accessibility is inhibited especially with unresponsive webpages. It is difficult to scroll and locate specific items because of the quantity.

9.

4

The website is presented in a language that is clear and easy to understand. The website is not a cross-border website. The website has used "English" however, this can limit its use especially because there is a large global customer retail base that does not use English (Dimery, 2015).

10.

5

The website contains product information a customer will need to make a transaction they cannot regret making.

11.

4

There are clearly outlined link to access and learn more on the different services offered by the business.  

12.

1

There is limited personalization except.

13.

4

The website has a “Contact Us” page with different contact information and an option to send an email that allow customers to make inquiries and seek for support.

14.

3

Organization is poor especially because important information is embedded in the image slider which can be easy to omit.

15.

5

The language is appropriate

16.

4

The website is easy to navigate exempt when one is needs to minimize the screen and navigation is only by using the scroll bars.

17.

5

Although the website has specific color themes, the blending is good making the site visually appealing.  

18.

1

Limited community and interaction between its users.

19.

3

The website respond moderately to user interaction

20.

3

The website is not responsive to different devices. Moreover, when the web browser is adjusted and minimized, some contents are obstructed and the user has to use the scroll bar.

21.

3

Has a range of payment options that can be agreed upon after the appointment has been fixed.

22.

3

Client can plan with the team to establish a personalized delivery option

Table 1: AGS Financial Group

ESV Accounting and Business Advisors

Attribute

Rating

Comment

1.

5

The website URL contains the name of the business, " ESV”.

2.

5

The website has a high ranking with regards to the Search engine optimization (SEO). It is the first listing when a search is made with the name “ESV”.

3.

5

The website has an “About us” page that present information about the business, it also contains information about the history of the business, purpose, network, values and culture.

4.

4

To sign up a user is just required to give the email, phone and name, company name. This information even if sensitive is appropriate because it is crucial in making an appointment. Nevertheless, even if it is not fall into Personal Identifiable Information (PII) category, it can be used to gain access to PII if not properly protected.

5.

5

The privacy policy reassure the user of their security and use of personal information.

6.

4

The “What Client Say About Us” and the case studies are a good avenue for customers to build their trust in the organization and positively impact sales, especially when clients give positive reviews (Elwalda, et al., 2016). The case study also allows the business to connect with customers at an emotional level (Magids, et al., 2015).

7.

5

The website has Terms of use and Privacy policy and terms of use pages that dictates how the customers should engage in transactions. The privacy policy comply with the Privacy Act 1988 and the National Privacy Principles.

8.

5

The website is well designed with a user-friendly interface that is neatly organized with only the relevant information.

9.

4

The language used is clear and easy to understand for the target customers. However, the use of English can limit other global customer retail. Localization of language makes the website culture friendly (Liginlal, et al., 2014).

10.

5

The website contains all information and it is easy to use as the customer can easily navigate through the pages (Panda, et al., 2015).

11.

3

The customisation is limited. The site is more informational with limited user interaction.

12.

2

There is limited personalisation.

13.

5

The website has a “Contact Us” page has different contact information and has an inquiry form to allow customers to make inquiries and make an appointment.

14.

5

Easy to find information because of the user-friendly interface (Sharma & Lijuan, 2015). Moreover, the responsive pages encourage the user to scroll through the content.  

15.

5

The language is appropriate

16.

5

Data is well organized to categories making it easier for users to navigate the website.

17.

4

The colours blend effectively making the website visually appealing however the font is a bit small.

18.

4

There is limited direct user interaction options for users to interact and share opinions on services. However, the what clients say about us page is a good platform for users to learn about the services offered by the testimonies of other businesses, like the case study by M & J Chickens, Zanui and Blackwalll Property Funds.

19.

5

The website responds fast to user interaction

20.

5

The site is responsive to different browsers and platforms. The pages are automatically adjusted to suit different devices and screen adjustments.

21.

2

The website has limited payment options. The customer and the business establish personalized payment options after

22.

2

Personalized delivery is made after an appointment is established. It is not outlined on the webpage.

Table 2: ESV Accounting and Business Advisors

In the past, most businesses were structured as a brick-and-mortar strategy. With the advancement of technology, any businesses have been drawn to the electronic trade (Otero, et al., 2014). To succeed in e-commerce, businesses need to ensure that they attract the right customers (Otero, et al., 2014). Of the two websites, AGS Financial Group and ESV Accounting and Business Advisors, the one that is more likely to be more successful is ESV Accounting and Business Advisors, because it establishes effective customer trust, assures them of their security, foster community interaction and is user friendly (Chen, et al., 2017). Customer trust, Search engine optimization, data safety, address of concerns and issues, and services and product offered to enhance online use and purchase (Nadeem, et al., 2015; Ryan, 2016). However, although the two websites have a high Search engine optimization, AGS Financial Group does not offer enough reassurance to the users on security and use of their information, it does not also effectively maintain customer trust and it is less user-friendly as compared to ESV Accounting and Business Advisors.

ESV Accounting and Business Advisors

The assuring the customer of the security of their information and use plays a role in creating customer trust and they are more likely to apply for an appointment and refer others to the business. Information is also effectively organised into different sections allowing the reader to effectively navigate through the pages. However, the focus of most websites should not be only to attract customers but also to retain them (Azizi & Wang, 2018; Reichheld & Schefter, 2000). Although AGS Financial Group, is more visually appealing because of the use of graphic and images that attract the attention of the user, the images have obstructed important information that like the purpose and core values of the business that is equally important in maintaining the attention of the user. The customers might be attracted to the website but soon after, they might realize that the website has little to offer because its purpose cannot be clearly established.

The website should be technologically attractive on the aspect of social, physical and task, increases the engagement of the user (Shen, et al., 2017). The AGS Financial Group is only attractive on the physical aspect. ESV Accounting and Business Advisors website on the other hand is socially attractive because it foster community interaction through the “What Clients Say About Us” page and is also task appropriate because it has all the relevant information about the business and all required to perform a transaction. Therefore, ESV Accounting and Business Advisors is more attractive, with the ability to increase its customer base, enhance online purchases and engagement of the user (Khanna & Wahi, 2018). Moreover, the website is easy to navigate because the pages are responsive and thus encouraging more user exploration than the AGS Financial Group (Khanna & Wahi, 2018).

References

AGS Financial Group, n.d. Home. [Online]  Available at: https://www.agsfinancialgroup.com.au/ [Accessed 24 September 2018].

Azizi, F. & Wang, X., 2018. Your secret weapon to achieve E-Loyalty: A Quantitative Study On Antecedents Leading To E-loyalty.

Chaffey, D., 2004. E-business and e-commerce management. 2nd ed. Harlow: Financial Times.

Chen, W., Crandall, D. J. & Su, N. M., 2017. Understanding the Aesthetic Evolution of Websites: Towards a Notion of Design Periods. Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human, pp. 5976-5987.

Dimery, J., 2015. The Importance of Language in Global E-Commerce. [Online]
Available at: https://www.transperfect.com/blog/importance-language-global-e-commerce
[Accessed 7 September 2018].

Elwalda, A., Lü, K. & Ali, M., 2016. Perceived derived attributes of online customer reviews. Computers in Human Behavior, Volume 56, pp. 306-319.

ESV Group, n.d. Business Advice for Independent Bussiness Owners. [Online]
Available at: https://www.esvgroup.com.au/about
[Accessed 24 September 2018].

Khanna, S. & Wahi, A. K., 2018. Website Attractiveness in E-Commerce Sites: Key Factors Influencing the Consumer Purchase Decision. In: Mobile Commerce: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications. IGI Global, pp. 394-403.

Liginlal, D., Rushdi, M., Meeds, R. & Ahmad, R., 2014. Localization for a high context culture: An exploratory study of cultural markers and metaphors in Arabic E-Commerce websites. Proceedings of the 2014 International Conference on E-Commerce, E-Business, and E-Service, pp. 21-28.

Magids, S., Zorfas, A. & Leemon, D., 2015. The new science of customer emotions. Harvard Business Review, Volume 76, pp. 66-74.

Nadeem, W., Andreini, D., Salo, J. & Laukkanen, T., 2015. Engaging consumers online through websites and social media: A gender study of Italian Generation Y clothing consumers. International Journal of Information Management, 35(4), pp. 432-442.

Otero, E. L., Gallego, P. A. M. & Pratt, R. M., 2014. Click-and-Mortar SMEs: Attracting customers to your website. Business Horizons, 57(6), pp. 729-736.

Panda, S. K., Swain, S. K. & Mall, R., 2015. An investigation into usability aspects of E-Commerce websites using users’ preferences. Advances in Computer Science: an International Journal, 4(1), pp. 65-73.

Reichheld, F. F. & Schefter, P., 2000. Your Secret Weapon on the Web. In: E-loyalty, your secret weapon on the web. Havard Bussines Review, pp. 105-113.

Ryan, D., 2016. Understanding digital marketing: marketing strategies for engaging the digital generation. Kogan Page Publishers.

Saastamoinen, A.-L., 2012. The design of management control systems in financial accounting outsourcing, The University of Eastern Finland. 

Sharma, G. & Lijuan, W., 2015. The effects of online service quality of e-commerce Websites on user satisfaction. The Electronic Library, 33(3), pp. 468-485.

Shen, X.-L.et al., 2017. How to Increase Users’ Social Commerce Engagement? A Technology Attractiveness Model. Proceedings of the 50th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, pp. 863-872.

Tas, J. & Sunder, S., 2004. Financial services business process outsourcing. Communications of the ACM, 47(5), pp. 50-52.

The Australian Financial Review , 2017. Financial Review Top 100 Accounting Firms 2017. [Online]
Available at: https://www.afr.com/business/accounting/financial-review-top-100-accounting-firms-2017-20171113-gzk50e
[Accessed 24 September 2017].

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