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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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Social Media usage has taken over the web, which is not a new revelation.  Businesses in general use social media mostly for marketing purposes.  The use of social media within organizations lags far behind.  However, there is a great difference in social media usage, male versus female.

In this new infographic by Digital Flash and posted at Mashable, women are said to use Facebook, Twitter and Zynga in greater numbers than men.  Men, use LinkedIin, Google+ and Reddit in far greater numbers than do women.

Click on image to view larger graphic image.

I’m not aware of any similar study that contrasts financial professionals against those who use their financial services.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht


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There are a lot of misconceptions about social media usage in higher education.  In a similar fashion, there are lots of misconceptions about controlling costs in higher education, or in controlling healthcare costs in America.

from Mashable Social Media

When President Obama talked about controlling costs of higher education in his recent State of the Union Address, he really was talking about the prices charged by educational institutions.  If the President had been concerned about controlling costs (money spent in instructional or business operations), he would have discussed whether to use more non-tenure track faculty to decrease wage expense, or reining in the administrative bureaucracies that have been created to deal with government imposed reporting mandates, or in revising the priority of resources directed toward not very valuable research and publishing.  I would find these alternate discussions more interesting and useful than controlling prices.

When Senators and Representatives talk about controlling healthcare costs, they really are talking about the prices paid by citizens, their insurance companies, and the government.  If they really were concerned about controlling healthcare costs, they might debate the value of billions spent in reimbursement paperwork, or the tests performed by physicians mindful of potential litigation, or perhaps on limiting or increasing the availability of healthcare to certain segments of our society.  I would find these alternate discussions more valuable than controlling prices.

Likewise, when journalists and bloggers write about social media usage in higher education, they usually are talking about social media marketing.  Oh, they could be talking about using social media in the classroom, but they usually aren’t.  They could be talking about adoption of social media by professors as they pursue their responsibilities in research & publication or service.  But they aren’t. I would find these alternate discussions more interesting and useful.

The media focus seems to be on the use of social media by colleges and universities to recruit students, as shown by the infographic from Mashable Social Media.  The sad reality is that social media usage in higher education tends not be applied for other reasons.   There is increasing interest by professors in using social media in the classroom.  However, my experience is that professors use social media to replace outdated or stale applications.  They don’t use social media in a truly innovative fashion.  And finding a new breed of professor–a social media savvy professor–is next to impossible.  Schools simply wouldn’t know how to use and benefit from such a creature.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht


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Today the PCAOB is hosting a roundtable discussion on the form of the auditor opinion.  32 experts and a full eight hour day.  I will not be live blogging it.


The use of social media is crucial to any professional.  It is important as a source of news.  It is an important form and style of communication.  It is also a means of branding for those with something to say.  If you don’t have something to say, shame on you.  See yesterday’s post for examples some whose use social media turned them into thought leaders.


Update to the SEC document destruction story.  Last week, Broc Romanek (theCorporateCousel.net) reported that the SEC is suspending its policy of shredding MUIs (matters under investigation).  Yesterday, Jessica Holzer of the Wall Street Journal reports, “SEC’s Khuzami: Current Probes Not Hurt by Records Destruction.” I’ve written before that this is a non-issue.


Mark Schaefer is a marketing professor who has a terrific blog on social media marketing.  I subscribe to {grow}, and highly recommend you do so also.  I know of no blogger who writes as much daily and valuable content as does he.  Today’s guest post, “The Death of Internet Marketing and the Rise of Social SEO,” touches on my recurring theme–social media use is more than a marketing ploy or a mindset, it is a transformative and transcendent experience.


If you hope someday to become a blogger, you should read taxgirl by Kelly Phillips Erb, a Philadelphia lawyer.  I would emulate her if I could, but I don’t think accountingboy would have the same ring.  Her post today on the tax treatment of employer provided cell phones is an enjoyable read.  Are there any employers out there who want to provide me with a smart phone?


Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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I’m a throwback accounting professor, yet I use social media (not afraid to admit it).  Social media helps me do my job.

A few months ago, I queried members of my LinkedIn network who are accounting professors (n=70).  I already knew most of them didn’t blog, tweet, create videos, friend students or have FB pages.  They admitted that they don’t actually use LinkedIn, either.

Am I weird, or are they behind the curve?  Social media is a true force in the world today.  People who participate in online social media sites have more and deeper relationships than those who do not.  Social media adds to the quality of life.  It has revolutionized marketing.  It even has been used to foster revolt and topple governments.  Some are arguing causality, using social media will help make a person more social.

I’ve looked around, and the business world is using social media–both companies and business people.  The professional world of accounting is also flocking to social media–both firms and individual accountants.

So, I don’t think I’m weird for using social media when my colleagues don’t.

Here are seven reasons for professors to use social media (henceforth referred to as SM) and improve their professional effectiveness.

(more…)

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Michelle Golden

Michelle Golden is one of Accounting Today‘s 100 most influential in the American world of accounting.  Focusing on professional service firms (such as CPAs and attorneys), she long has been an expert consultant on marketing.  Early on she saw the value of social media as a tool for professionals to reach new clients and to strengthen relationships with existing clients.  Her book, Social Media Strategies for Professionals and Their Firms: The Guide to Establishing Credibility and Accelerating Relationships, is unusually good.  I own two copies, one for the office, and one for home (I regularly carry one of them with me).

The Maryland Association of CPAs (MACPA), more than any other statae CPA society, has long promoted social media usage by CPAs.

MACPA's use of social media

MACPA members and employees are encouraged to explore all forms of social media and find the one(s) that best fit their needs. Doing so expands our ability to learn and share our own knowledge with others.

Led by Tom Hood and Bill Sheridan, it has an impressive presence on the web 2.0.  A page devoted to its resources is here.  Coincidentally, MACPA was the first society to establish a presence on Second Life.  Long-time readers of The Summa might remember Profalbrecht’s participation in “If I Were an Auditor,” a musical valentine sponsored by MACPA and released in Second Life.

I believe that all CPA firms and accounting professors should seriously consider joining the social media bandwagon, or expanding efforts if already there.  The Internet is omnipresent in the fabric of American life.  Social media simply means interactive Internet.  For CPAs, it means reaching out to current and potential clients where they are, opening up additional channels of communication.  For professors, it means pushing academe away from its array of 19th century practices and into the 21st century.

Recently, Bill Sheridan interviewed Michelle Golden, and on Friday uploaded the video to YouTube.  I’m embedding a link to it for several reasons.  First, it’s about social media use by CPAs.  Second, Michelle Golden should do more of these things.  Well spoken and attractive, she could develop an Internet following that would translate into increased attendance at her speaking engagements.  Third, MACPA could perform a substantial service to the industry by creating a series of these vodcast interviews with the industry’s leading experts.  I would watch them all.

Here’s the interview.  Please watch it.

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

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Social Media Strategies for Professionals and Their Firms, by Michelle Golden, is an excellent book to study from if you are thinking about doing more with social media.  And why should you do more with social media?  You will enhance your productivity, your career, and your life!  All professors, professional accountants, finance professionals and business students should do more with social media from a professional perspective.

I’ve had the book for three months now, and have settled into using it as a reference.  It’s so useful, I have one copy for my home office, and one for my university office.  It is a great book, and should I ever get a chance to teach a course in Social Media Marketing (e-mail if you want me to teach such a course at your school), this will be one of the assigned books.

Michelle Golden is the marketing guru to accounting and law firms.  You might be a reader of her Golden Practices Blog. Make every effort to hear her speak in person.

I’m bringing reviews of her book to you through the voices of other readers.

The first is by Professor Gary Schirr (Radford University, Virginia).  Schirr blogs at Service Co-Creation.  His review comes via video:

The other reviews are customer reviews at Amazon (here).  They are uniformly positive.

Please buy her book and read it!

Debit and credit – – David Albrecht

P.S.  Another good review is here.

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