The Big Four and Hogwarts Houses

I saw this post over on Going Concern, and had to share it. It might not be accurate, but it is always fun to combine things that I love, in this case: accounting and Harry Potter.

Using the best research tools at my disposal (e.g. Harry Potter Wiki) I find your initial suggestions to be grossly off the mark. For starters, if one were to simply look at the House Colors Colours of the Four Houses of Hogwarts, you would see Gryffindor is crimson and gold, Slytherin is green and silver, Ravenclaw is blue and silver, Hufflepuff is yellow and black. So from a purely superficial analysis the Houses/Firms would fall in this way:

Gryffindor: PwC
Slytherin: Deloitte
Ravenclaw: KPMG
Hufflepuff: E&Y…

more via Going Concern

When and Why To Use Social Networks to Draw in Accountants

Chapter 6 is all about talking, but more importantly, if and when to talk to the groundswell.  The authors provide some advice as to when brands should use social networks to talk with their customers to gain ROI (return on investment): (a) use the Social Technographics Profile to verify your customers are in social networks, (b) move forward if people love your brand, (c) see what’s out there already, and (d) create a presence that encourages interaction.

For accounting firms big and small, and the provincial governing bodies of designations (CA, CMA, and CGA), their current market is full of Critics.  These organizations must also constantly be hiring and bringing in new blood to their organizations or face stagnation, and loss of human capital due to eventual retirement or post-designation exits; this new blood is mostly made up of Joiners, as they are soon-to-be post-secondary graduates (most designations require a 4-yr bachelor degree, or at least the equivalent experience and coursework), between the ages of 21-35, and have been around technology for most if not all of their life.  Because of this classification, accounting organizations would do very well engaging with their market through social networks like Twitter and Facebook.

Now it is harder to determine how to act based upon whether people love the accounting industry’s brands because, no one really likes accountants (don’t lie, you were all thinking it).  People find accountants a necessary evil, which is better than being an unnecessary evil.

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Transforming One Small Step at a Time

Chapter 11 of Groundswell was hard for me to relate to my accounting industry experience, but the one thing that I did take away from it was this: start small.  The best example that I can think of, of a member of the accounting industry who is trying out this step is the U.S. arm of Deloitte.  They started a twitter account called Life at Deloitte, where each week a new employee takes over the reigns of the account and posts about their work and non-work life; so far all of the tweeters have been employees of the U.S. side of the firm, so maybe I can convince them to open this up to Canadian employees too ;).

Most of the employees so far have been very interactive with their followers, tweeting back and forth, talking about different aspects of their day, listening to the public asking for information about Deloitte and the general industry.  The current and most recent employees have unfortunately not been quite as talkative with their public, or perhaps their positions and daily tasks haven’t been as interesting as others, but this exercise has certainly been interesting.  Deloitte has dipped their toe into the groundswell as they realize that many of their potential employees and clients are likely Joiners who are already in the groundswell, so they might as well try and be accessible to them.  They are attempting to transform how they access their markets, and perhaps by being more accessible and open with the public, they can reduce stereotypes of the accounting industry and add more value to their offerings.



Li, C., Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell: Wining in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, MA, USA. Harvard Business Review Press.

Am I an Accountant or a Consultant? Tell Me What My Brand Is

I feel like I should be prefacing all of my blog entries with a reference back to my Social Technographics Profile of accountants as Critics because it is true; we can be critical, and I find that in most of my blogs entries and thoughts so far I have been, and it seems at times, I need to be.  Or maybe I should rename my blog: “Critical Accounting Student: You Have Been Warned”.

In this post, I am going to focus on the procedures featured in Chapter 5 and apply them to a non-online groundswell; rather I will focus on the process of listening, and on the general aspects of the groundswell: people, technology and economics.  Chapter 5 of Groundswell is all about listening to the groundswell, and essentially tells us that we may have an idea of what our brand is or means to us, but it is the opinion and perception of our brand by the people that tells the truth.

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