Does your accountant tweet?

Six months ago the answer might have been a resounding “no” or even a high pitched guffaw, but now you may be surprised to find out the answer is “maybe.”

Of the top 10 accounting firms, most are actually using social media tools such as Twitter and FaceBook.  Recruitment is their main focus and very few have a presence in the blogosphere. While attracting talent is a far cry from blogging about IFRS vs. GAAP, it is still a commendable step forward for these accounting and tax heavyweights. Next, these firms need to connect their new social media outposts back to the thought leadership on their websites and raise their overall level of engagement.

Individuals vs. Firms

Social media is all about engagement and the individual. Since CPAs don’t meet the typical blogger profile, many accounting firms feel more comfortable driving social media from the HR function. But It is important that they also focus on emerging thought leaders as part of their social media strategy, including connecting them to recruiting efforts.

Regulatory Concerns

Accounting firms must keep abreast of regulatory and complicated tax law changes on behalf of their clients.  Regulatory considerations, in particular, can give pause when social media campaigns are in the planning stage and they should not be ignored. However, accountants also have a vast repertoire of knowledge that can be shared. They are adept at understanding and commenting on complex IRS and SEC communications for clients. Social media tools allow them to break down knowledge into even smaller, digestible pieces and share them with wider audiences.

Put Why Before How

Tools that accounting and other professional services firms can evaluate before starting blogs or Twitter feeds include wikis, forums, blogger comments, RSS feeds, Digg communities, and/or SlideShare. As with any marketing or PR tactics, the key is first agreeing upon and understanding your firm’s strategy. The tools come last. Or as social media strategist Jason Baer of Convince and Convert said in a summer webinar “put the why before the how.”

The accounting profession is beginning to turn towards social media. The CPA Leadership Institute had a webinar yesterday entitled: Embracing Social Media. The premise was “understand how to connect with others, market your firm, and recruit using social networking.” It marked the third webcast on this topic.

Do you think accounting firms should be practicing social media? Would you follow your accountant on Twitter? Why or why not?

(photo by Noise to Signal )


To reach Cortney:

Phone: 212.840.1661
Twitter: @cortneyr
LinkedIn: Cortney Rhoads Stapleton