If you read our family of publications regularly, you'll know that a lot of our efforts focus on explaining some of the latest technologies and complex software to help firms run their -- and their clients' -- businesses better.

But many of our readers are one or two person tax and accounting firms, with little need of customer relationship management software or high-tech personal digital assistants to help clients keep track of their sales leads on the road.

That doesn't mean that technology doesn't apply to your practice. In fact, the smallest of firms should pay special attention to the simplest technology tools they have available -- e-mail and the Internet.

For example, I send out the e-mail newsletter WebCPA Week to 12,000 subscribers each week, giving them a recap of the week's industry events, along with some color commentary. That weekly e-mail keeps me in touch with my readers, gives the ones who don't have time to visit WebCPA every day a chance to catch up on what they might have missed, and because my picture's at the bottom, it offers a human face to associate the words with.

Why not offer your clients a similar e-newsletter? It doesn't have to be weekly -- monthly would be fine. Recap any tax or accounting-related news you think might be of interest to them, highlight any interesting developments in your firm, and if you market to a particular niche, include any information that segment might find interesting.

Web sites are another story. Since clients or prospects probably won't visit often, you need to make sure the home page sings, and gives them the information they need right away. One mistake many firms make is to hide their address, e-mail and phone number behind a link. Bad move. Web sites are used like phone books for prospects, and clients who can't find your number in their Rolodex and then go to your Web site to contact you need immediate gratification. Give it to them.

If you're really ambitious, you might want to assign someone in your firm (or yourself) to keep track of the developments in your clients' field. So if you notice something on a news site about say, new legislation that will affect your autoleasing clients, you can quickly write up an e-mail to those clients and send it along with a link to the news story.

It serves a double purpose. It shows clients you're truly interested and involved in their business, and that you care enough to share your knowledge with those it will affect most. What more could clients (or prospects) want?

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