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Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

socialcpasBarry MacQuarrie is a Boston area CPA and consultant.  In his spare time he is a social media enthusiast (aka evangelist) who as started a group called SocialCPAs. On LinkedIn, the SocialCPAs discussion group has >3,500 members.

The SocialCPAs annual Social Media Survey is in its fourth year of existence.  In the past it has revealed some very interesting characteristics of CPA likes and dislikes about professional use of social media.

The 2013 survey closes at the end of day on Friday, August 30 (tomorrow).  You should take this survey, and please ask your co-workers to take the survey.

Click here to take 2013 Social Media Survey

Debit and credit – - David Albrecht


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I can’t stand it.  Do a Google search on Ernst and Young’s new rebranding effort, and images of naked men are returned.

I now think of porn every time I hear the firm’s name (Ernst & Young) or see its initials (EY).  Trust me, I have no desire to see porn every time I do a Google search on this Big 4 firm.  And I have regular need to perform Google searches on each of the Big 4 (as well as several other accounting firms).

To be perfectly clear:  I don’t want to see pictures of naked men or naked women, soft porn or hard porn, when researching accounting firms.

This was not a problem for me prior to the rebranding, because I always thought of the firm’s full name.  But all of Ernst’s & Young’s recent promotional efforts have been directed toward encouraging all of us to think of them as EY, which is synonymous with naked men.  So in effect, Ernst & Young has created the conditions for me to be aware of and think of porn.  I object!  I would rather imagine young male accountants in traditional business attire.

I am aware of no other reputable business that is encouraging its customers and interested parties to encounter a pornographic linkage.  An Ernst & Young spokesman said that its clients are able to skip over the pornographic images and choose only the bona fide Ernst & Young links.  Yes, but those clients are always going to see porn images upon doing a search for EY.

A few moments ago, I performed a Google images search on EY.  18 of the first 21 images returned contained images of naked men.  Check it out below.

ey_google_images

Come on, EY.  We accountants are better than this.

Debit and credit – - David Albrecht


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Wayne Breitbarth of Power+Formula has an infographic out summarizing the results of the 2013 edition of his annual LinkedIn User Survey.  Both the infographic and the survey are well worth a look.

Why am I passing this along?  I recommend that all accounting and financial services professionals, accounting and business professors, and college students get on LinkedIn and use it to the maximum extent possible.

Click on the following image to view the entire infographic. Don’t forget to expand the image.

portrait-or-linkedin-user-2013

Pic credit – Power+Formula

The complete infographic reveals some interesting details.

84% of LinkedIn users subscribe to a free account (I use a $240/year premium account).

The median sized network has just over 300 first level connections.  The most common range is 500-1000 users.  10% of LI users have a network of at least 1,000 (my network is now 1,100+).

5/8 of LI users open their entire network to view (as do I, it is recommended).

98% of LI users are in at least one discussion group, 60% are in at least 10 (I am in 40).

24% of LI users spend an average of at least one hour per business day on LI (as do I).

Debit and credit – - David Albrecht


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Two essays on different aspects of leadership have recently been posted on the web.  I think they are relevant to anyone who is (or aspires to be) in a position of influence. Accounting firm CEOs and managers as well as accounting professors should read on.

The two essays are, “How to Think and Act Like a Leader,” by Jack and Suzy Welch on Linked Influencers, and “CEOs Who Are Active On Social Media Boost Employee Morale And Their Company’s Image,” by Cooper Smith on Business Insider.

team-leadershipThe Welch piece has a simple message–shift your focus from self to the team.  They say,

Being a leader changes everything. Before you are a leader, success is all about you. It’s about your performance. Your contributions. It’s about raising your hand, getting called on, and delivering the right answer.

When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. It’s about making the people who work for you smarter, bigger, and bolder. Nothing you do anymore as an individual matters except how you nurture and support your team and help its members increase their self-confidence. Yes, you will get your share of attention from up above—but only inasmuch as your team wins. Put another way: Your success as a leader will come not from what you do but from the reflected glory of your team.

I’ve known several professors who could never make the transition from skillfully presenting material to helping students learn.  This transition is at the heart of the learner-centered approach to college teaching.

Cooper Smith gleans insights from research on CEOs and social media usage.  CEOs who use social media have shifted the focus from themselves to the team.  Employees feel inspired under a CEO who uses social media.  Moreover, Customers and clients consider the company to be more innovative if the CEO uses the latest technology.

This is directly relevant to both accounting firm executives and accounting professors.  I’ve talked with many executives and professors, almost all of whom don’t use social media in their professional lives.  I hear comments such as, “I just don’t think there is anything in it for me,” and “I can’t identify the return on investment in social media.”   They are missing out on a crucial aspect of leadership–shifting the focus from self to team through communication and sharing.

Robert Moritz of PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Stephen Chipman of Grant Thornton are leaders of large CPA firms who have learned this.

Debit and credit – - David Albrecht


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Ernst & Young, now EY, has a ‘sexy boys’ problem.

latimes-ey-sexyboys

Pic credit: LA Times

Ernst & Young on July 1 announced it was rebranding itself as EY.  Lopez writes,

[Ernst & Young, EY] now shares a name with a racy magazine, EY! Magateen. The magazine, which features scantily clad young men, is the work of Luis Venegas, a Spanish creative director known for his flamboyant, sexually charged fashion publications.

A Google image search of “EY” brings up photos of young male models clad in low-cut briefs, right alongside the Ernst & Young logo and some exterior shots of the company’s offices.

What a massive fail!

When I went to images.google.com, one picture returned was that of a naked man.  A hand was covering his private parts, but pubic hair was clearly visible.

I could comment, or I could take the high road.  EY seems to have taken the low one.

Debit and credit – - David Albrecht


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Should an accountant clean up his or her online network?  Answering this question has been puzzling me since reading Jenn Herman’s blog post “When Was The Last Time You Cleaned Up Your Connections?

Jenn Herman told me she was referring to Twitter and Facebook networks, not to LinkedIn.  She says that with regards to LinkedIn, it is desirable to collect connections.  Is that always true?  Is that true for accountants?

I suspect the answer to my questions is that it is better to be in growth mode with respect to connections and your LinkedIn network.  Here’s why.

(more…)

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leading-the-wayMost of us know LinkedIn, the most popular and best social media platform for accountants.  Yet, not very many accountants, accounting professors, accounting students and accounting aficionados use it well.

Would it help to know that the most influential people in accounting (according to Accounting Today) use LinkedIn and are heavy users?  If they have invested serious amounts of time in it, then perhaps so should you.

I use LinkedIn heavily.  Over the past year, I pretty much have shifted my social media efforts from blogging on The Summa to interacting with accounting types through LinkedIn.  So much so, I might be called Mr. LinkedIn amongst accounting professors.  Oh, I think that blogging is still my raison d’être.  But LinkedIn is le futur. [Perhaps I can be called Professor Social Media}

You remember the Accounting Today list of the Top 100 Most Influential People in accounting? Published in September of each year, it is Accounting Today’s attempt to capture what’s happening in the industry.  Look carefully, and you’ll notice that those savvy in digital era and social technologies get the AT nod as to who should be influential.

80 of the T100 Most Influential People use LinkedIn. 53 use it heavily with 500+ connections.  The other 27 have small networks. That’s the scale in online social networks.  Large networks are >2,500. Medium sized network have at least 500 contacts.

I categorize the Top 100 Most influential people into those who made the list primarily for (1) blogging/media, (2) audit firm leadership, (3) consultants and vendors, (4) regulators, (5) association leadership, and (6) lobbyists.

Here is my tally of the T100 Most Influential People who use LinkedIn.  I provide links to the profiles for the heavy users.  You must be signed into LinkedIn to fully see the profiles.

Bloggers. All four who make the T100 list for blogging are on LinkedIn.  Heavy users are Dave Albrecht (The Summa), Paul Caron (Tax Prof Blog) and Rick Telberg (CPA Trendlines).  Caleb Newquist (Going Concern) also uses LI.

Accounting Firm Leadership.  10/14 who make the T100 list due to their accounting firm leadership are on LinkedIn.  Heavy users are Jason Blumer (Blumer & Associates), Jim Bourke (WithumSmith+Brown) , Stephen Chipman (Grant Thornton) and Jody Padar (New Vision CPA Group).  Small LI network users who make the T100 list are Rick Anderson (Moss Adams), Ken Baggett (Cohn Reznick), Joe Echevaria (Deloitte), Tom Marino (CohnReznick), Kris McMasters (CliftonLarsonAllen) and Robert Moritz (PWC).  Echevaria is barely on LI, with a short profile and a network of zero.  What’s the point?

Consultants & Vendors.  40/41 who make the T100 list because of their service to accounting firms/professionals are on LinkedIn.  Heavy users are August Aquila (Aquila Global Advisor), Ron Baker (VeraSage Institute), Gary Boomer (Boomer Consulting), Jim Boomer (Boomer Consulting), David Cieslak (Arxis Technology), Gale Crosley (Crosley+Co.), Chris Frederiksen (The 2020 Group), Michelle Golden (Golden Practices), Jeff Gramlich (CCH Small Firm Services), Angie Grissom (The Rainmaker Consulting Group), Pascal Houillon (Sage North America), Randy Johnston (K2 Enterprises), Rita Keller (Keller Advisors), Allan Koltin (Koltin Consulting Group), Taylor Macdonald (Intacct), Jeff Pawlow (The Growth Partnership), Kevin Robert (Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting), Marc Rosenberg (The Rosenberg Associates), Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk (BBR Marketing), Rebecca Ryan (Next Generation Consulting), Joel Sinkin (Transition Advisors), Doug  Sleeter (The Sleeter Group), Brad Smith (Intuit), Jennifer Warawa (Sage North America), Troy Waugh (The Rainmaker Companies), Geni Whitehouse (Even a Nerd Can Be Heard), Sandra Wiley (Boomer Consulting), Jennifer Wilson (ConvergenceCoaching), Joe Woodard (Scaling New Heights) and Diane Yetter (Yetter Tax Consulting).  Other LI users are Erik Asgeirsson (CPA2BIZ), Jon Baron (Thomson Reuters Tax and Acct), Chandra Bhansali (AccountantsWorld), Jim Buttonow (New River Innovation), George Farrah (Bloomberg BNA), Zach Nelson (Netsuite), Jay Nisberg (Jay Nisberg and Associates), Brian Peccarelli (Thomson Reuters Tax and Acct), Terry Putney (Transition Advisors), Jill Ward (Intuit).

Regulators.  Only 5/18 who make the T100 list because of their service as regulators of accounting are on LinkedIn.  Heavy users are Orrin Hatch (U.S. Senate) and Mitt Romney (presidential candidate). Other LI users are Karen Hawkins (IRS), Terri Polley (FAF) and Leslie Seidman (FASB).

Professional Associations.  19/20 who make the T100 list because of their leadership in professional associations are on LinkedIn.  Heavy users are Richard Caturano (AICPA), Richard Chambers (IIA), Calvin Harris (NABA), Marie Hollein (FEI), Tom Hood (MACPA), Erinn Keserica (AAM), Mark Koziel (AICPA), Lana Kupferschmid (NCCPAP), Barry Melancon (AICPA), James Metzler (AICPA), Clarke Price (OSCPA), James Ratley (ACFE), Ralph Thomas (NJSCPA) and Jeffrey Thomson (IMA).  Other LI users are JoAnne Barry (NYSSCPA), Parnell Black (NACVA), Loretta Doon (California Society of CPAs), Edward Karl (AICPA) and John Sharbaugh (Texas Society of CPAs).

Lobbyists.  Two of the three who make the T100 list because of their leadership of important lobbying organizations are on LinkedIn.  Neither Ken Bishop (NASBA) or Cindy Fornelli (Center for Audit Quality) are heavy users.

In the world of accounting, influential leader and LinkedIn go hand in hand.

Debit and credit – - David Albrecht


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4 am clock image[Bowling Green, OH. Friday, July 24, 4 a.m.] It is 4:00 a.m. I am still up, working. That I am still up is not unlike some of my students. That I’m working is very much unlike them. After all, who stays up until 4:00 a.m. to study accounting if there is no test later in the day?

So what is an accounting professor working on during the summer? I’m glad you asked. I’m becoming better acquainted with some features of LinkedIn.

At the current time, I have about 900 first level connections. 300 are former students, 300 are professors. Then there are practicing accountants, regulators, social media experts, friends, a nephew and my older son.

Right now I’m growing and maintaining my network.

ProfAlbrecht's LinkedIn Network

ProfAlbrecht’s LinkedIn Network

In the network map above, you can see the student connections from the schools at which I’ve taught: BGSU, Concordia College, and USC Upstate. A small cluster is forming already for La Sierra. Also, there are large clusters for professors and bloggers (and heavy social media users).

LinkedIn is a great network managing system, and in this digital technologies era I need a good network. For months I’ve been lamenting that I’m only connected to 140 former students from BGSU. There were thousands, and I’m sure at least a thousand of them are on LinkedIn.

A couple of days ago I got the bright idea to do an advanced search on LinkedIn inputting BGSU for the school and accounting for the industry. Suddenly I had hundreds of accounting grads to search through to see if they took a class from me. If they graduated between 1992 and 2010, probably they took at least one course from me. So I stayed up late and sent out about 20 invitations to connect. All of them accepted!

That was the easy part. I now have to start working on establishing a relationship. When they were sitting in my class, forming a teacher-student relationship was expected. I learned most student names, most students learned my name, and I helped them learn accounting. But years later we no longer have a relationship. But I want one.

I send a thank you note to everyone who joins my network. For these twenty students, I can also ask if they remember anything about the course (or courses) they took from me. I ask if they liked the accounting program. Later on, I’ll send out an occasional e-mail.

Sometimes a former student will e-mail me. In the past few months, a couple students volunteered to write a LinkedIn recommendation for me. Yes, yes, yes!

I’m also trying something new. I’m headed off in the fall to a school in California. I did a similar search (industry and school), and sent off a half dozen invitations to connect. Five accepted. From these students I hope to learn what it is like to study accounting at that school. I’ll also learn if they’ve stayed in touch with the school. Later on in the fall, I’ll invite them to attend the grand opening of the new business building and I’ll get a chance to chat face-to-face.

Once I get good at LinkedIn networking, I’ll start researching it and writing about it.by.

Debit and credit – - David Albrecht

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i-love-linkedinI’ve been spending quite a bit of time reviewing the member profiles for those in my LinkedIn network.  For the most part, it has been a wonderful journey to memory lane.  Most of the nearly 800 are in my network for a good reason–I appreciate them for our shared experiences and I greatly respect them.

About 100 have asked me to join their network, and I agreed.  I suspect many of them know me through my blogging efforts.  I am hopeful that some day I’ll be able to contribute positively to their network.

In addition, I’ve been reviewing profiles of people with whom I’ve come into brief contact.

I’ve come to several conclusions.

The first and foremost advantage to LinkedIn is how you describe your self, skills, work experiences and education.  I am appalled at how many people, both in and out of my network, list where they work and possibly from where they received the most recent degree.  And that’s it.  I meet many, many people from day to day. In this information available age, I turn to the Internet and LinkedIn to find out more about them.  I seldom am satisfied.  When I shop, I do so on the Internet.  When I research something, I do so on the Internet.  When I want to information about a person, I do so on the Internet.  If you aren’t adequately describing yourself, now is the time to join the 21st century.

CPAs should be listing the skills that give them both identity and competitive advantage.  But more than a list of skills, CPAs should be providing descriptions.  Too much verbiage is bad, but I’ve only seen 1 or 2 cases where too many words were used.

Academics are worse.  Many accounting professors never even mention the word accounting. Professors don’t, but should describe their program of scholarly pursuits and highlight key accomplishments.

I have two contacts on LinkedIn without their full name.  One is listed as “Dr. firstname,” the other by initials.  Neither wants to release too much personal information. Well, in this day and age we expect a minimum of a person’s name.  How else are we to find that person?

One of the basic advantages to LinkedIn is how it enables network assembly and management in the Internet and social media ages. I’m amazed at how many professionals (and academics) have small networks of less than 100.  In this day and age, accounting professionals should be LinkedIn connected to all of their clients and work colleagues, both current and from the past.  I think it’s possible to be both selective and inclusive.  If you have a beneficial relationship with another professional, then why wouldn’t you include them in your LinkedIn network?

Once a LinkedIn network is built up, then you have a responsibility to it.  Use it to stay in contact.  Also, endorse those in your network.  Endorsements should be handed out sparsely, only when it is deserved.  But if you respect someone enough to add them to your network, then what prevents you from endorsing them?

LinkedIn endorsements for skills are valuable because they provide affirmation and validation from those who best know the professional.  Professors especially miss the boat here.  Many do not list accounting (or tax or auditing) as a skill.  If the professor has professional skill, then the professor’s network will validate it.  I am surprised at how many professors don’t list college teaching as a skill.

And finally, why not put up a nice professional picture.  I’ve seen pictures of dog and owner.  I certainly hope I don’t meet the dog.

Debit and credit – - David Albrecht

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Is there a fit between accountants and social media?

My first thoughts go back to some old accountant jokes.  How do you identify the party goer who is an accountant?  He/she wears a lampshade.  How do you tell if an accountant is an extrovert or introvert?  The extrovert looks at your shoes, not his.  What is the favorite form of accountant birth control?  Personality.

So maybe we shouldn’t expect non-social accountants to be at the cutting edge of social media.  Never-the-less, surveys have repeatedly shown that for those accountants who use social media, LinkedIn is overwhelmingly the favorite platform.

LinkedIn has for six months been letting users endorse their 1st degree connections for skills. Viewed by some with skepticism, the endorsement feature is being used at an increasing rate.  Over the past few months I’ve received a few e-mails alerting me to a new endorsement I’ve received.  Finally reaching a critical mass, my curiosity is piqued.

LI-endorsements-3-3-13

ProfAlbrecht is endorsed for accounting, college teaching, and blogging.

I’ve received 70 total endorsements, with 52 in the most popular categories for the 14 skills I list.  The skills for which I am most frequently endorsed seem to describe me well.  I am an accounting professor who writes about accounting, so being endorsed for accounting knowledge is appropriate.  I’m very good at helping students learn, so an endorsement for college teaching fits.  And because my two blogs (The Summa and Pondering the Classroom) have totaled more than a half million reads, being endorsed for blogging seems right.

Receiving an endorsement is a good thing, I think.  And I appreciate every one.  They can only come from people who know you the best.  Most LinkedIn users seem to be stingy in issuing endorsements.  If the endorsements come from a large enough group, they are reliable measures (in a similar fashion to IMDB film ratings).

Ever keen to understand how my world actually works, I did a bit of research.  Although I could have selected professors or bloggers as a reference group, I decided to select professional accountants.  I’m a member of Social CPAs, a LinkedIn group.  I fairly randomly selected 20 members of the group.

This group seems to be active in LinkedIn usage.  11 of the 20 have more than 500 connections in their network. Six have between 250 and 500 connections, and three have less than 250.

endorsement-sample

Only 14 out of the 20 list any skills.  The groups of 14 with skills and 6 without seem similar in terms of number of connections.

For the 14 who show skills, the median number of skills listed per person is 14 (minimum = 8, maximum = 49).

For the 14 who show skills, the median number of endorsements is 102 (minimum = 6, maximum = 330).

For the 14 who show skills, the most endorsed skill has received a median value of 19 endorsements (minimum = 2, maximum = 104).

I think the LinkedIn endorsement feature has enormous potential to validate your brand.  It seems to have done a fine job in validating who I am. Please leave a note if LinkedIn endorsements seem to be working for you.

For more information on LinkedIn endorsements, Forbes writer Susan Adams has written an article, “Everything You Need to Know About LinkedIn Endorsements.”

How often are different subgroups of accountants using LinkedIn endorsements?  What do the accountant users of endorsements think of the new feature?

Debit and credit – - David Albrecht

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Nearly a month ago I was informed that my contract is not to be renewed at USC Upstate.  This puts me back in the job market for accounting professors, but at a time when most schools already have made their hiring decisions for next year.

Why am I departing USC Upstate?  No reason was given, but a sudden change in deans has brought in a dean who does not want to proceed with a strategic move incorporating social media.

I am saddened by the prospect of leaving USC Upstate, as I have grown to love the students.

Ideally, I would get hired by a school which is interested in (1) strengthening its brand through use of various social media platforms, and (2) emphasizing professional use of social media to its students.  And yes, continue to teach undergraduate accounting students.  Accounting faculty recruiting committees, though, are interested in ability to teach accounting and generate academic publications.

I would love to end up at a school that wants a social media enabled accounting professor.  It can be a non-tenure track position.  If you can suggest a school to which I can apply, please send me an e-mail (albrecht@profalbrecht.com).

For my qualifications, please read my C.V.

Debit and credit -  – David Albrecht

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Mark Holtzman, Chair of the accounting department at Seton Hall University, is one of the few accounting professors who really gets it.  Not only is he a really nice guy who is passionate about accounting, he’s a member of the really small club of social media enabled business professors.  He blogs regularly at Freaking CPA.

accountingvinfographics

Pic credit – Mark P Holtzman at Freaking CPA

Holtzman is sold on the idea of using infographics.  He wrote about it in April, 2012, “Accounting and Infographics.”  In the image at right, he shows the complete disconnect between accounting and infographics.

Infographics are fairly easy to create.  They are created in PowerPoint, and what accountant isn’t functional in PowerPoint?

Today, Holtzman posts the following infographic on his blog.  Created by Bisk CPA Review, this infographic discloses that accounting graduates can earn a nearly 50% increase in salary by becoming a CPA.  Bisk CPA Review helps students prepare for taking the CPA exam.

Pic credit – Bisk CPA Review

Debit and credit – - David Albrecht

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