How to give an unqualified opinion report in 140 characters

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.

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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.

 

References

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

How do Accountants fit into the Social Technographics Profile?

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:

  • Creators
  • Conversationalists
  • Critics
  • Collectors
  • Joiners
  • Spectators
  • Inactives

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