I have been reading the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov lately thanks to a suggestion from my boyfriend. In the first few books it focuses on the First Foundation, a society of scientists on the most distant planet in the universe, brought together initially with the goal of working on an encyclopaedia of all the scientific information and history of the universe. Spoilers ahead.
Chapter 12 of Groundswell changes up the perspective, and moves away from the external groundswell and focuses instead on the groundswell inside your own company. I haven’t (yet) worked for an accounting-focused firm, but I have been involved in organizations that have attempted to use this internal groundswell idea. They have set up internal intranet sites for us to visit every morning and check up on what has happened since we were last in the office, and there is a section for every department to post information about their inner workings and projects they are focusing on currently. As well there is a general social listings area where anyone in the organization can post that they are selling bookcases, looking for a good recreation league to join, running a fund-raising campaign for their child’s school field trip or extra-curricular activities. It is a great start for that organization, but it doesn’t really allow for employees to share their own individual views, as all content has to be forwarded to the Communications department and then edited for clarity and focus.
Determining whether social media has been beneficial to a business is a difficult item to prove and calculate. It is not quite so easy as asking someone how to calculate earnings per share (EPS); there are differing variables, outcomes and expectations for social media ROI, and these must be known before you can see if objectives have been met.
Energizing a business’ customers is tough. Finding customers that are energized or self-energized can be likened to a Christmas miracle. Finding balanced accountants who are energized about being accountants regardless of their specific designation, and who are honest about their profession’s benefits and downfalls is a little more of a possibility. A problem that I have found as a potential customer of the accounting profession (*puts on her Critic hat again*) is that those members who are honest and truthful about the profession, are not listened to by the profession; the people they “feature” are those who are only say the positive things about the profession (and in some cases to the right ears).
Check out the ICAA‘s CApitalize information magazine. Of the articles I have been able to read through, all of the members only speak to the positive of being a CA, of how great the ICAA is, what types of benefits a person will attain by being a CA, etc. I am not saying that these are not good things, and I am sure that there was some pre-publishing editing that was done, but a little more transparency and honesty are needed in my opinion.
Ok maybe the title is a bit misleading, but it made you click though huh? It is also misleading because it is impossible to disclose a full qualified or unqualified report in just 140 characters. I guess you could say “everything’s a-ok #cleanstatements” or “you have a going concern #weareconcernedaboutbeingpaid“, but that does not allow for the sheer amount of information that needs to be shared in such an audit report.
Twitter is a very interesting social network platform that I am both an avid-user of and heavy supporter of. It allows users to quickly post their thoughts and opinions, and share information in a quick format in line with today’s fast paced, instant gratification needing society.
Public Relations is something that does not come to mind when one thinks of accountants and the accounting governing bodies. When people think of PR they believe it is something for the general public, not a particular target market; however, it can be for both.
When the designation merger talks started up recently, it was because of a need for the entire accounting profession to clarify itself and become more marketable. The people behind the merger push listened to the complaints and criticisms of the current systems, from that discovered a need, and started talking and interacting with those who were for the merger, against the merger and unaware of the merger. They got out there and made themselves known to their market.
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.
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.
Chapter 4 of Groundswell covers an interesting method for tapping into the groundswell, the POST method: People, Objectives, Strategy and Technology. As this is an accounting focused blog, I thought we’d try this method out on one of the accounting designation governing bodies, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta (ICAA). As a little backstory for those who do not follow accounting news (*gasp*), the ICAA are the only governing body of CAs in Canada that has removed themselves from the accounting designation merger (CPA) talks. Continue reading
In Chapter 3 of Groundswell: Winning in a World of Transformed by Social Technologies, Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff mention their use of the Social Technographics Profile, a tool developed to distinguish the groups of users/consumers who are involved in the groundswell (p. 43); unfortunately they provide an outdated link to the tool on page 59 and readers are led to a 404 page. Within that profile there are seven defined groups that consumers can be a part of: