Social Media

Judgement

Accountants of Reddit Take Instagrammer to Karma Court Over Meme Theft

Inb4 one of y’all thinks to comment “geez, Adrienne, slow news day?” let me remind you that we write about accounting; every day is a slow news day. So unless one of y’all plan to embezzle something, let it go, that comment doesn’t hurt me. In the last year or so, /r/accounting has made the […]

Let’s Take a Look Back at the First Tweets of Accounting Firms, Part 2

Yesterday when I was putting together the GC newsletter (and if you haven’t yet signed up for it, please do so), I came across a fun article Adrienne wrote almost five years ago on accounting firms’ first tweets, like PwC wishing everyone a happy St. Paddy’s Day and Deloitte being confused with how this Twitter […]

Terrell Owens

Man Takes Opportunity to Mention That CPAs Keep Future Millionaires From F*cking Everything Up

There’s nothing I love like a little self-promotion. Especially when the “self-promotion” is really just a reminder that some guy or any number of his talented colleagues in their shared profession can help a brother out. Case in point: the NFL draft should also focus on financial decisions that these young men that we’re going […]

You Should Totally Brag About Being a CGMA on LinkedIn

In a shameless attempt to further the CGMA brand and perhaps lend it much-needed credibility, the AICPA is encouraging CGMA holders to brag about their "accomplishment" on LinkedIn. By accomplishment, we mean ability to mail in a check and sign some paperwork. Here's a snapshot of the suggestion as emailed out to CGMA holders yesterday: […]

Life at Deloitte Is One Step Away From Bathroom Selfies

You know things have gone bad in your life when you're sitting in the can appreciating a heater. Simple things in life. New heater at clients coldest bathroom in nyc pic.twitter.com/h1NMMr0s9D — Life at Deloitte (@lifeatdeloitte) January 29, 2015 Wait, is that IN the stall? No, never mind, we don't want to know. Carry on, […]

Let’s All Welcome PwC’s Bob Moritz to Twitter!

Guess what? Just in time for Davos, BoMo is on Twitter. His bio states: Chairman & Senior Partner @PwC_LLP. Native NY'er, proud father of two, sometimes motorcycle rider & drummer. Views are my own. So are we to take that retweets do, in fact, mean endorsements, Bob? You can find Bob at @bob_moritz, please be […]

Ron Baker: You Can Put Lipstick on Billing by the Hour But Don’t Call It Value Pricing

And all the people in the church say AMEN!   Fixed price could just be hourly rate fixed in advance. That's just hourly billing in drag. #QBOchat — Ron Baker (@ronaldbaker) January 15, 2015 The prophet has spoken.

Virginia is For 8-K Lovers

So, Broc Romanek spotted this plate today:   Taking Form 8-K too seriously #corpgov pic.twitter.com/HR6SITSs69 — Broc Romanek (@brocromanek) January 6, 2015 Fun fact: Virginia has more vanity plates than any other state in the country. This beauty is a Great Seal plate, and if you didn't know, the state seal of our fine commonwealth […]

Here Is a Non-Exhaustive List of Things That Are Better Than Coming Out of a Successful Meeting

Listen, Life at Deloitte, we understand that you're obligated to tweet things like this but you should really choose your words carefully. You asked the question, so we're now obligated to answer. Is there any better feeling than the one you have coming out of a successful meeting? Hard work (plus an awesome support system) […]

Caption Contest: What Does This PwC CEO Think of This Selfie?

Oh the cringe! Only at #PwCAcademy do you play cards against humanity and take selfies with Bill McFarland, PwC CEO @PwC_ca_campus pic.twitter.com/dmlYJVOWjl — Billy Richmond (@brichmond44) June 17, 2014  

Grant Thornton Principal Clarifies That You Are Allowed To Call Your Boss a D-bag on Facebook

Does your firm have a social media policy? If no, should it? If it does, your firm would be wise not to cross the National Labor Relations Board, which has ruled in favor of workers subject to draconian policies, such as a hospital employee who called managers "douchebags." The code of conduct for the Michigan-based […]

Recruiters Attempting to Recruit People Who Work at McGladrey to Work at McGladrey

McGladrey doesn't have a very good reputation when it comes to recruiting, mostly because they can be so enthusiastically obnoxious about it. But this latest snafu is so awkward — even for McGladrey — that we wonder if they don't do this stuff on purpose. Guys, you need a new recruiting firm. One that, like, […]

Deloitte Reveals the Secrets Behind the Life at Deloitte Twitter Account

How many times have we wistfully wondered "there is no way this can be a real person, it has to be some HR bot" while scrolling through the Life at Deloitte account? Surely no one is that intoxicated on Kool-Aid. Are they? According to this interview with Marketing Sherpa, they are. Deloitte saw the account […]

This Guy Is Really Making the Most of Those Pesky Rothstein Kass/KPMG Merger Rumors

Sir, your blatant cunning is second only to that of the guys at these firms possibly working behind the scenes to make this deal happen. Names obscured to protect not the innocent but the shark circling the water for any cast-off RK talent.  

Grant Thornton Tries to Motivate With the Human Centipede, or Something

At least I think that's what that graphic is, maybe my glasses are dirty. MT @EmployersonDice: Science says ppl want to do great work @DanielPink get out of way via Pam Harless @GTCareersUS pic.twitter.com/f23AcHfYXW — GrantThorntonCareers (@GTCareersUS) May 7, 2014 See it?

You Can Turn LinkedIn Stalking Into a Job, Says Guy

Forgive my skepticism but I don't see the "Who's Viewed Your Profile" feature on LinkedIn as an opportunity to return the stalk, make a new connection and possibly land a new gig. But this guy seems to be convinced that's exactly what you can do: If you look at the right side of your LinkedIn […]

McGladrey is Still Figuring Out How Twitter Works

This is why you don't let interns near the internet, guys.  

Citi’s Twitter Team Fails to Perform Due Diligence on Felon Seeking Loan

Remember how a Mexican subsidiary of Citigroup kinda loaned a few hundred million to a shitty oil company? No? Allow us to refresh you: Banking giant Citigroup cut its fourth quarter and full year 2013 estimates on Friday, as its profit was hit by fraudulent activity at a Mexico-based subsidary. The bank said in a […]

David Cay Johnston vs. Tax Girl on Twitter: PLACE YOUR BETS

Twitter fights are always good, especially when they involve people we've come to know and love (or, as is the case with one of the participants in the following exchange, know and troll). Apparently, our "pal" David Cay Johnston decided he didn't like a Tax Girl article and wanted to make his dissatisfaction known. Which […]

Finally, LinkedIn Gives You the Option to Turn Off Endorsements

We have discussed LinkedIn endorsements previously — I would like to thank everyone who endorsed me for losing the remote, cat wrangling, writing about endorsements, and general mayhem after that post — but at that time, there was nothing to do about them except ignore them and heavily judge the people who use them. Always […]

The Best (and Worst) of #busyseasonproblems

The end, it be nigh y’all.

WeiserMazars and Their Blow-Up Shark Win Busy Season

WeiserMazars may not be the biggest or the best accounting firm out there, but they've certainly got the market cornered on self-deprecating busy season posts this year. The firm asked its employees and randos on social media to contribute their busy season survival tips using the hashtag #WhenSharksFly and while the creepy shark is, well, […]

Let’s Take a Look Back at the First Tweets of Accounting Firms

Twitter turned 8 today and in celebration, released a tool to dig up a user’s very first tweet. Because we know you’re going to be tempted to see what GC had to say on the very first day we joined Twitter, I’ll save you the trouble. We auto-tweeted “The Eagle Ponz Has Landed” which, presumably, […]

Let’s See How Far Women Have Come in the Workplace Since 1945

This young lady on Twitter shares with the class: 20 things men don't like about women in the office, from 1945 pic.twitter.com/fkvcot7z9w — Sophie Gadd (@sophie_gadd) March 19, 2014 Would anyone care to take a stab at what "unfair sex practices" are? I'm drawing a blank here. Maybe because I am just a stupid woman […]

Philly Man Uses Selfies to Prove Residency to Tax Man, Daughter Shares With the World

No, this isn't a case of a stupid daughter oversharing on social media. Anne Jarvis' dad Andrew is like a lot of folks who split their time between Philadelphia and NYC. Bewildered by his long commute, Andrew rented a place in NYC closer to work but kept his Philly homestead. In order to prove to […]

The AICPA’s Latest Marketing Tactic is to Make Themselves as Indispensable as Basic Hygiene

What's this, now? Make must-have connections.   Let's just get this out the way first, you're not making any connections unless you also bathe regularly. So no, no one is making you do either but one is a far better idea to keep up on than the other if you ever want to get anywhere […]

One KPMG Hot Shot Concerned His Stuff is Out to Get Him

I'm pretty sure we've all been there, I'm convinced my PlayStation Move is watching everything I do. I was already paranoid that my printer is out to get me; now I'm worried that my microwave is serving a foreign power http://t.co/qqvepMQGMu — Nick Chism (@NickChism_KPMG) March 3, 2014 The piece to which Nick refers isn't […]

Note to Ellen DeGeneres: Actually, Jim Turley Takes Better Selfies Than You

I mean really, is anyone surprised by this? It's not enough that Jim Turley's imposing jawline has its own place on the Accounting Today Top 100 (OK, not really), but does he also have to take better selfies than some of the hottest celebrities in Hollywood? Of course he does. Because Jim Turley.  

Even Becker Uses Becker to Study For the CPA Exam

Minor malfunction over at the Becker PR department? For me it's a no-brainer, of course I am going to prepare for the #CPAExam with Becker! — Becker CPA (@BeckerCPA) February 28, 2014 Are we missing something here? Is Becker taking a page from the Life at Deloitte/Life at EY playbook and letting ambitious young staff […]

You Can Run But You Can’t Hide. Therefore, Sabotage Your Coworkers

Ahh recruiters. Each time I received an email, phone call, voicemail, or LinkedIn message it was a game. Which of their desperate ploys will actually stand out from the rest? Inevitable answer: none. Sometimes it feels like the staffing industry is filled with used car salesman beating down our inboxes. My favorite is when they […]

Some Guy Accidentally Asked the Accounting Subreddit For Dating Advice, and Then THIS Happened…

…the greatest thing to happen in our little corner of the Internet all day, really. In any other subreddit, this guy would have gotten hammered for the miscategorization. In /r/accounting, the crew rallies together to give the poor guy some advice that only accountants can give. Like this: Try one of these pickup lines: 10."You've […]

Share Your Tips For Getting Through Your Miserable Work Life!

EYStaff started it: I always try to remember to smile when on the phone. It helps make your voice & tone sound more receptive -Lys #EYQuickTip #WhatIveLearned — Life at EY (@EYstaff) January 2, 2014 Any fellow @EYstaff want to share some tips?! Comment below! #knowledge -Lys — Life at EY (@EYstaff) January 2, 2014 […]

Please Join Us in Congratulating Ourselves For Ending Up on This Economia Top 50 Most Influential List

Surely this is one of the signs of the apocalypse. Here's how Economia figured out who should be on the list, which would explain why not a single one of my cats got there (not even the highly influential Cash Money, who should be on this list for his name alone because HELLO, finance): We […]

Life at Deloitte Just Had the Best Week Ever

As you guys all know, we love mocking the PR-heavy crap that is spewed out into the Internet abyss by the Life at Deloitte account. In the past, we've all sort of wondered if a team of hacks is over there tweeting their own fluff pretending to be a rotating crew of happy, Deloitte-loving Deloitte […]

Ex Crazy Eddie CFO Is Picking a Fight With a Pointy-Headed Professor Right Now

Oh my, there's a fight on the Internet, you say? Tell me more. Memo to Paul Gillis PhD, CPA: Fraudsters need more apologists like you. $NQ — Sam E. Antar (@SamAntar) November 20, 2013 Memo to Paul Gillis PhD, CPA: Your stupidity in trying to explain $NQ's DSO and cash numbers show how ignorant you […]

LinkedIn Endorsements: Value or No Value?

The Cynical Girl asks: What’s the value of a LinkedIn endorsement or recommendation? I won't blockquote half her article here, you can go over and read it if you'd like to (and you should). I will, however, give you a good example of why endorsements are pretty dumb. You see that? Those are, apparently, the […]

Perhaps Comparing the CPA Exam to Actual War Isn’t The Best Idea

Meanwhile, in deluded CPA exam candidate land: OK, let's put this into perspective since perspective is something you clearly need as evidenced by this tweet. World War II: lasted from 1939 – 1945Your CPA exam experience: will probably be over in no more than a year and a half World War II: It is estimated […]

This Way to CPA Isn’t Too Confident You Can Get By Without Mommy’s Help

Remember that WSJ article we shared last week that talked about over-attached parents going to job interviews with their over-dependent "adult" children? As weird as that was, it appears This Way to CPA thinks you can't function without your mom's help, if their Facebook page is any indication. Basically, if these graphics are at all […]

Here Are Some of the Worst Accounting-Related Passwords Hacked From LinkedIn

Did anyone hear about that whole LinkedIn password breach thing? Hopefully all of you have changed your LinkedIn passwords just to be safe but if not, there's a handy tool that will tell you if your password was among the 6.5 million leaked ones. Just a reminder: change your password before checking it. You're welcome. […]

Accounting Legends, Hotties, and Old White Guys: Going Concern Is Now on Pinterest

It took a bit of arm-twisting on my part but I finally convinced Colin to let us launch an official Going Concern Pinterest! We're thrilled to add this female-friendly social media property to our existing online presence. Okay, by we I mean mostly me with Colin begrudgingly admitting that maybe it was a good idea […]

Free Advice for PwC’s Social Media Department

I have some concerns about PwC's social media practices. These concerns go way back, long before they followed and then unfollowed me on Twitter (pfft, I'm used to it) and it appears as though no one on the PwC social media team has had the guts to bring it up so I'm going to go […]

Thoughts On How Much Your Facebook Page Sucks From an HR Manager

Remember yesterday when we talked about LinkedIn? Sure you do, it just happened. Anyway, the discussion prompted one HR manager to reach out to me with related thoughts on Facebook. Keep in mind this person is directly in charge of hiring at an unnamed mid-size firm that, as far as I am aware, treats its staff pretty well (great culture, competitive salary, CPA exam support, etc). I suggest those of you looking for work pay close attention to the following.

Reading GC again this morning. I can never tell if this behavior is an indication of job engagement or apathy. Nonetheless, the inquiry about LinkedIn sparked some reallypful dialogue. It caused me to think about what I perceive as much needed guidance on Facebook.

I know you field a lot of inquiries from those who aspire to be slave laborers CPAs. I think these folks are missing out on the basic do’s and don’ts of Facebook. While I loved the rule “facebook is for the people i enjoy being around and linkedin is for the people i am paid to be around” irresponsible Facebook privacy settings are abundant and makes TMI available to recruiters.

Case in point: I recently learned the name of a student who accepted our offer. I couldn’t recall exactly who he was- give me a break, I speak with hundreds of students- so I typed his name into FB. Not only could I see the profile pic I was looking for, I was able to view all of his albums. I want to rescind the offer after viewing the album of his fraternity trip to Vegas. (And yes, I know that I didn’t have to look, but we don’t have to look at car accidents and we still do.)

Second case: A candidate is coming in to the office for an interview. The staff accountant assigned to take the candidate out to lunch does a name search on Facebook. Before the candidate arrives to the office, the email system is routing pictures of said aspiring CPA in a toga. So much for a first impression that conveys professionalism.

Also, one doesn’t even have to go to Facebook to see these pictures. I have Outlook Social Connector, which integrates Facebook and Outlook. If a person emails me from an email account associated with their Facebook account, guess what: at the bottom of their email message, I can see any information that is public (e.g. their profile picture and wall).

I am sure other professionals and recruiters have similar stories. Can GC give these kids a heads up?

Lord knows we’ve tried.

Doesn’t everyone know recruiters and hiring managers check Facebook? I thought that was common knowledge but maybe not, or maybe people don’t realize that pics of them drinking in Vegas are not as cool to recruiters as they might be to their friends.

A few quick tips:

Make sure your Facebook settings are TOTALLY private and not just lazy private. The broader Facebook privacy setting will only block your wall from strangers but your friends, likes and EVERY SINGLE PICTURE are still out there for others to stalk. Since Facebook privacy settings are subject to change (and do, constantly), it’s your job to stay on top of things and make sure you’re only sharing what you want to share.

Use an email you don’t often use as your Facebook login email. This is common sense. When I was screening interviewees for my last job, I would routinely plug their email addresses in to see who would pop up and, not surprisingly, almost everyone did. Let’s just say a few of them did not get interviews. Gmail is free, there’s no reason not to have a spare for this purpose.

Reconsider your profile picture! True story, one of our CPA exam students emailed me with a sob story about how he had been unable to study for weeks and therefore failed his exam miserably and not only wanted advice on how to pass but free time to study even though he’d used up most of the time on his course. Well he forgot we were also friends on Facebook, so when he popped up in my timeline, I couldn’t help but notice the picture of him partying in Mexico with a half-spilled Corona in his hand. The picture had been uploaded the week before his exam, and was even conveniently captioned with “had a great time last week!” so I knew that he was totally full of shit. While not all cases are that extreme or closely connected, it is important to put your best foot forward on Facebook, at least if you are going to allow strangers to see your profile photo. If you can’t handle using a professional shot for your profile, change your privacy setting so no one but your friends can see it.

I’m sure there are a bunch of things I’m missing here, so if anyone has anything to add, you know what to do.

Recent Grad Wants To Know Why He Should Care About LinkedIn

Ed. note: If you have a question for our career advice brain trust, ending it with compliments is definitely the way to get it answered quicker and with much less snark than usual. Just a tip.

Hey Adrienne,

I’m a recent college grad, just started at the Big-4, with prior work experience at some other companies, and a few people now have recommended that I start using LinkedIn as a means of keeping in touch with people. So far I’ve just been nodding my head and thinking to myself that I’ll get around to it some day, but in all honestly, I’m really not sure what LinkedIn is or why it matters. It seems like a way of making all my work stuff public for someone to scrutinize before I start on tlly when apply to their company) and I don’t see why that’s the greatest idea ever. I feel like Facebook can lead to some awkward quasi-friendship and feel like LinkedIn is a similar tool. I understand that there is a difference between just networking and asking for “recommendation” on the site, but other than that, I’m pretty much clueless. One other concern is that while it’s not my aim right now, I feel like creating a LinkedIn account is like making a sign saying that I’m ultimately looking to jump ship. Perhaps you or some readers could provide additional insight?

Thanks,

-Prefer to be Anonymous (get it, that’s why I don’t see what’s so great about LinkedIn).

P.S. You don’t have to tell Caleb, but I was talking to some co-workers and we definitely agree that GC is better when you’re in charge, thanks for the great work!

Oh come on, PtbA, you didn’t think I’d broadcast that all over the place? Thanks for the kind words, glad I’m not scaring you kids away this week. Let’s hope Caleb is still obsessively reading the site while sequestered in an unnamed third world country and sees this, even if it only confirms what he already knows.

Anyway, LinkedIn. Let me confess that even though my career specialization is online brand management and social media, even I was a bit sketched out by LinkedIn at the get go. I am a proponent of Internet privacy, at least as far as one is able to keep their details private while also maintaining their online presence. But when I first signed up for LinkedIn years ago, I was mortified by the sheer amount of information they wanted from me. Sure everyone knew where I worked anyway but why was it anyone’s business on LinkedIn?

Let me disclaim this next part by saying I absolutely love my job. If a competing online media outlet tried to poach me tomorrow, I’d kindly tell them to stick it up their www.ass.com. But for you as a public accounting grunt, having a solid presence on LinkedIn will pretty much guarantee that you are out there in front of firms both big and small looking for talent.

Having a fully developed LinkedIn profile does not make you appear ready to jump, it simply means you are in charge of your online identity. You might be happy with your firm now but you never know if that will change, and it can be handy to have connections at other firms just sort of lurking around.

While LinkedIn is a good tool for keeping connected with professionals (especially if you, like me, use Facebook to post pictures of your cats, you drinking or your cats drinking, which can be viewed as unprofessional in many circles), there is nothing that says you absolutely must have a profile. The benefit to having one is that when people Google you (and they will), your LinkedIn profile is one of the first results and you control the information shared. Because LinkedIn does not have the same “wall-to-wall” features as Facebook, it is a slightly more professional way to connect with people who you might not necessarily want to check in with all the time but still want to keep in your social circle should you need them later.

It isn’t that much of a pain to pound out a few paragraphs about your work experience and skills, and is actually a good exercise in professional development. Many of us don’t even realize what it is we do and what we’re good at until we are forced to analyze that, be it for a resume or for a LinkedIn profile. I actually found that part fun when I was putting my profile together but I’m kind of a sick puppy that way.

Since you’re new to this whole public accounting game, you might not realize how important playing the game is to your career, but if you do get that, think of LinkedIn as just another part of that game. Do you have to do it? Absolutely not. Should you? Probably. Can I give you a good reason why? Not really.

Just set aside an hour or so, fill in some of your info and skills and call it a day. Who knows, you might enjoy it.

SEC Warns of Pre-IPO Investment Scams

The SEC seems awfully interested in social media these days, and we assume it has little to do with Caleb’s obnoxious Whole Foods foursquare check-ins. Their latest nemesis? Pre-IPO investment scams purporting to be offering shares in hot non-public companies like Twitter, Facebook and Groupon.

SEC staff is aware of a number of complaints and inquiries about these types of pre-IPO investment scams, which may be promoted on social media and Internet sites, by telephone, email, in person, or by other means.

In September 2010, a judgment order was entered in favor of the SEC based on allegations that a scam artist had misappropriated more than $3.7 million from 45 investors in four states by offering fake pre-IPO shares of companies, including Centerpoint, AOL/Time Warner, Inc., Google, Inc., Facebook, Inc., and Rosetta Stone, Inc. In addition, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issued a recent investor alert about these types of scams. While offerings of pre-IPO shares in a company are not uncommon, unregistered offerings may violate federal securities laws unless they meet a registration exemption, such as restricting the private offering to “accredited investors” — investors who meet certain income or net worth requirements.

Investors should be mindful of the risks involved with an offer to purchase pre-IPO shares in a company. As with any investment, we encourage investors to research thoroughly both the investment product and the professional offering the product before making any investment decision.

Since AOL/Time Warner went public in 2006, we have to assume the scam artist referenced above had been at this for quite some time before the SEC was finally able to bring down the heavy hand of justice on dat ass.

If you’re interested in further reading on the subject, check out FINRA’s Pre-IPO Offerings—These Scammers Are Not Your Friends:

In general, offerings of securities must either be registered with the SEC or meet an exemption under the federal securities laws—otherwise the offering is not legal. “Pre-IPO” speculation involves buying unregistered shares in a private company before the initial public offering of securities—and it can range from risky deals to outright frauds.

Wait, does this have anything to do with that whole Goldman Sachs Facebook embarrassment?

Beware emails from Nigerian princes selling pre-IPO shares in hot tech companies, people.

Doing It Wrong Twitter Case Study: The Idiot Who Accidentally Talks Sh*t on His Client’s Twitter Feed and Causes 20 People to Lose Their Jobs

Important lesson for any Big 4, et al. Twitter captains out there:

A Chrysler contractor who posted an obscene tweet on the Chrysler brand’s official account says he’s sorry his four-letter flub has cost 20 people their jobs.

Scott Bartosiewicz’s Twitter posting from last week read: “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the (hash)motorcity and yet no one here knows how to (expletive) drive.” It was meant to appear on his personal account, but Bartosiewicz mistakenly sent it to the Chrysler brand’s feed while he was stuck in traffic on Interstate 696.

The error resulted in the 28-year-old Ferndale resident’s dismissal and contributed to Chrysler’s decision not to renew its contract with Bartosiewicz’s employer, New Media Strategies, a Virginia-based marketing firm that now is putting about 20 local employees out of work.

It’ll be a miracle if this guy sees this year’s Final Four.

Man fired over obscene Chrysler tweet apologizes [AJC]

Being Twitter Savvy Does Not Keep Accountants Awake at Night

Because we can never get enough surveys, Sage came through with the skinny on what keeps accountants awake at night (no joke). We’re proud to say that alcoholism and Caleb’s typos did not make the list but there’s always next year. Way to go, profession!


Sage surveyed more than 500 of its Sage Accountants Network members across the U.S. in December 2010 to figure out what gets accountants’ knickers in a twist. Results as follows:

Among the 533 respondents, 34% stated that getting new clients tops their list of concerns. 28% cited tax law complexity and changes as an issue; followed by the effect of new regulations and standards on small firms, keeping up with technology, and time management concerns, all at 24%. Work/life balance was cited by 20% of respondents, and keeping up with professional standards was a key concern for 17% of those surveyed. 13% of respondents cited access to affordable healthcare for employees as a worry for their firms.

Perhaps in response to the search for new clients, 83% of firms currently specialize or are planning to specialize in specific vertical business segments. By far, services/consulting was the most popular category for specialization (63% of those surveyed), followed by construction at 43% and retail at 39%. Other popular areas of specialization include working with nonprofits (35%), restaurants (30%), and manufacturing/distribution (29%) clients.

The full survey may be found here.

We found it a bit odd that retaining clients, retaining staff and managing staff came in at 9%, 3% and 2%, respectively. Obviously there is a bit of a work/life balance overlap in there somewhere but because we here at Going Concern know no such thing, we could not bring ourselves to analyze these results further.

It’s the social media section of the survey that shocked us most. Not to say that the results themselves were shocking, exactly, as the shocking part lies in how some of these firms actually manage to make money. What do they use to attract new clients, carrier pigeons and sandwich boards? Thirty-seven percent of survey respondents use their own websites as “social media,” though in our humble opinion the “social” part means using a more conversational form of communication than some .com with your firm name in it. Twenty-eight percent use LinkedIn, 19% are on Facebook and – wait for it – 7% have gotten into Twitter. 7%! A frightening 43% of respondents don’t use social media at all, perhaps explaining why 34% are concerned about getting new clients. They must not be that concerned if they aren’t using social media to put themselves out there.

Know what this says to me if I’m a firm looking to make a killing through social media? Hit Twitter, it’s a no man’s land and you won’t have to elbow out the competition. Really, people? 7%?!

Know what else this also says to me? All my evangelizing about not acting like an ass on Twitter has been in vain; if firms aren’t using it, they probably don’t know how to search for your tweets about getting wasted and wanting to stab the senior for acting like a jackass. So have at it, it’s just you and the MLM bots tweeting out there until these guys get a clue and jump on board.

I think you kids know what to do from here.

Let’s All Give Jim Quigley a Warm Welcome to Twitter

We knew it was only a matter of time before Jim Quigley rounded up enough interns to run his Twitter account for him and it seems that day has finally come. While we won’t openly admit to hoping he immediately engaged in common Twitter faux pi like tweeting in all caps or speaking to others as if they could hear him without using the all important @, we’ve thoroughly scanned his account and can barely find anything to bag on.

It seems, however, that he’s merely pimping out the World Economic Forum and is really, really excited about it. So excited, in fact, that it’s been all he’s tweeted about in the less than two weeks he’s been sharing with us in 140 characters or less.


What he isn’t tweeting is how much his trip to Davos to hob-nob with the global elite might cost him. We of the working class, ticking and tying set might feel he could just as easily put his finger on the pulse of the economy by sitting down with any number of Deloitte’s 170,000 employees since, last we checked, the economy was people, not rich guys (and gals, it’s the 21st Century) hanging out in Switzerland.

We won’t say we’re disappointed because our standards are really low to begin with but he could have, you know, toned it down a notch.

Just how much does a trip to Davos cost a snazzy Big 4 CEO? Ask Andrew Ross Sorkin: A basic level Davos excursion will run you $71,000 for membership to the organization and ticket alone (that doesn’t include hotels, helicopters or red carpets strewn ahead of you). The “Industry Associate” level, which would get JQ behind the velvet rope to hang with other hot accounting and finance rockstars, runs $156,000. And if, say, Quigs wants to bring a buddy the “Industry Partner” level could run him around $301,000.

Well wait, it’s not fair to say he’s only tweeting about WEF, he did also throw some tweets about chicks in there. You know, for diversity’s sake.

Hey, it beats over-hashtagging I guess.

Earlier:
Deloitte Global CEO Jim Quigley Is Tweeting

Doing It Right: Not Acting Like an Ass on the Internet

We’ve given you plenty of tips on how not to be an ass on the Internet (sometimes causing you to get pissy with the messenger for calling you out) and also plenty of examples of those who do it wrong (some really, really wrong). So it was thrilling to see the AICPA’s This Way to CPA site take on bad behavior for job-seekers with some of the same tips we’ve been throwing out there all along in Remember your dignity (please). We were especially into this one about acting like an unrefined dolt:

THE BIGGEST DON’T OF ALL

Blab stuff online you can’t take back. It happens. From the typical drunk pic on the Facebook page to the more serious crimes like tweeting the salary you just got offered (especially smooth when the people who already work there see it and instantly pity/hate you), social media blunders are as common as they are hilarious. You heard about the girl who slammed her boss in a status update, then was reminded – by him – that she’d friended him already, right?

Social Media Manager Angela Connor has a simple suggestion to protect yourself against this kind of public blunder. “I don’t care what your privacy settings say; don’t assume anything is private.” This is, of course, the Internet we’re talking about. It’s just too easy for incriminating pictures, swear-packed rants and outright whining about your current job to slip out and become public knowledge.

Surely they aren’t referring to the sort of swear-packed rants that are a mainstay over at Jr Deputy Accountant because, well, let’s face it, that potty mouth nailed me this sweet Going Concern gig.

But if I were to go job hunting tomorrow, my big fat angry mouth would be all over the place ripping on Federal Reserve presidents and verbally bitch-slapping ne’er-do-well Congressmen and most employers aren’t so into that sort of behavior. So let this be yet one more reminder that in this day and age everything you do on the Internet can come back to bite you.

Like that Russian skin flick Caleb made in the early 00s. Google it.

Oh, and can someone please clarify “typical drunken pic on Facebook” for me? I’ve seen plenty of said drunken Facebook pics in my day and am not quite clear on what would qualify as “typical”. Anyone?

Doing It Wrong Twitter Case Study: The Runaway Tweeter

Continuing our series on those in the industry who attempt to use Twitter but fail miserably in one way or another, today’s case study has to do with a tweeter all too frequent among the accounting set: the abandoned account.

You’ve probably come across more than one of these if you’ve attempted to look up certain state societies of CPAs or organizations that appear in Twitter search results but, sadly, feature no picture and maybe one or two tweets from two years ago. It’s obvious, upon checking out the empty bio and single tweet that these accounts belong to tweeters who really wanted to get into the whole Twitter thing but either gave up or got confused and let that drive them away.


I won’t name any names (but one starts with Idaho and ends with Society of CPAs) but one has to wonder what would inspire a media department to go through the trouble of getting their account validated and deciding on that first tweet only to be spooked by the lack of interest or the pure unadulterated excitement of tweeting. What is it? And why bother opening an account in the first place?

We’ve given you guys this lovely piece of advice before (see our interview with New Jersey Society of CPAs’ Don Meyer) but it’s important to remember that you won’t become Ashton Kutcher with 1,000,000 followers overnight and possibly never if you’re tweeting mostly about accounting and all related awesomeness. The niche is small and interest is limited to the couple thousand folks out there who are actively using social media to connect with other like-minded accounting enthusiasts and sources of accounting information. Reactions can be slow to come, if at all, and if you’re trying to break into social media you shouldn’t let the oftentimes frigid audience keep you from trudging ever-onward to meet your social media goals.

You may never get a reaction. You may not get many followers. You may not feel like your message is getting through. But keep doing it and please, don’t end up one of these phantom accounts abandoned in the Twitter junkyard with all the dirty Britney videos and busted dot coms.

Doing It Wrong Twitter Case Study: The Over-Excited Federal Taxation Agency

Without naming names (I’ll give you a hint, it starts with I and ends in S), sometimes agencies get a little too excited when it comes to social media and make the mistake of jumping in head first without analyzing their target audience’s needs. In the case of the IRS, they’re forgetting that tax dodgers know they use Twitter and Facebook to track down tax evaders (hey, if you’re dumb enough to tweet about your five years of unfiled returns, you totally have it coming) and therefore also forgetting that this might turn a few potential followers off from their feeds.

Despite that, the IRS is happy to announce several new Twitter feeds, including one specifically for Spanish-speaking taxpayers. Hola!

The IRS Twitter news feed, @IRSnews, provides the latest federal tax news and information for taxpayers. The focus of the IRS Twitter messages will be on easy-to-use information, including tax tips, tax law changes and important IRS programs such as e-file, the earned income tax credit and “Where’s My Refund.” Anyone with a Twitter account can follow @IRSnews by going to http://twitter.com/IRSnews.

Another important IRS Twitter feed, @IRStaxpros, is designed for the tax professional community. Follow @IRStaxpros by going to http://twitter.com/IRStaxpros. The IRS also tweets tax news and information in Spanish at @IRSenEspanol. Follow this Twitter feed by going to http://twitter.com/IRSenEspanol.

The IRS Twitter feeds will work in conjunction with IRS.gov and the IRS YouTube channels to bring IRS information direct to taxpayers. Since August of 2009, there have been more than 1 million views of videos on the IRSvideos (http://www.youtube.com/irsvideos), IRS multilingual (http://www.youtube.com/user/IRSvideosmultilingua) and IRS American Sign Language (ASL) (http://www.youtube.com/IRSvideosASL) channels.

What’s doing it wrong about this? Maybe the fact that the IRS keeps pumping out Twitter feeds a la PwC (who, last time I checked, had a good 30 – 50 Twitter accounts, each with a varying specialty) but still hasn’t learned how to engage, which is an important component to social media as any of us with half a social media brain already know. Twitter users don’t want to be shouted at, they generally want to interact! If I want tax news, I’m far more likely to follow Don’t Mess With Taxes and get it from her instead of wasting my time plugging into a spammy news feed run by our almighty Treasury Department.

Just sayin.

Doing It Wrong Twitter Case Study: The Chronic Over-Sharer

Following our previous Doing It Wrong Twitter Case Studies, today we present you with a pretty common tweeter who can be found across any industry, not only our own precious accounting set: the chronic over-sharer.


The chronic over-sharer doesn’t understand that when Twitter asks “what are you doing?” it actually means “what are you doing or interested in that you think might be appropriate to share with the Internet community at large?” This means the over-sharer can mistake Twitter for a translator plugged directly into their own streaming consciousness as well as a diet journal, a livejournal, a teenage journal and a best friend who actually cares to hear what the over-sharer had for breakfast that morning.

The over-sharer doesn’t realize that most people – especially those in our somewhat small accounting niche – don’t care what they ate nor what they think if the thoughts are translated all hours of the day and come out mostly as angry gibberish and inflammatory nonsense. To the over-sharer, losing followers by the handful after each obnoxious tweet doesn’t mean anything, Twitter simply exists as an avenue for their consciousness. Like the audacity of sending out extensive Christmas letters each year to family members you haven’t spoken to in years, it takes a lot of guts to blitz Twitter with personal details while ignoring proper traditions of behavior. Remember, this is the accounting industry we’re talking about. While the over-sharer can be found in any niche, their behavior is especially noticeable in ours as we’re known for being a conservative lot.

No one is suggesting people can’t use Twitter to communicate or flaunt their personalities but there is a line and in our profession it’s important to follow that. You won’t have much luck snagging clients or getting hired if you’re using Twitter to blast coworkers or talk about your personal digestive issues.

Some tweeters get the balance just right, like Francine McKenna and Shane Eloe. See? You can be chatty – even snarky – but please refrain from telling the entire Internet about the consistency of your cat’s puke or about your super obnoxious senior whose head you’d like to chop off. It isn’t cute and you’re forgetting the Internet is forever. That means you might be able to delete the offending tweets once you realize you’ve been acting like an ass on Twitter but the damage to your reputation (or brand) can carry on long after the tweets have been zapped.

Just don’t do it. Keep it professional, people. Lively, conversational and a little personal but professional. Pretend like your boss, colleagues, and all former and future employers have your tweets streaming to their desktops at all hours of the day and remember: no one cares what you ate for lunch unless it’s food porn (SFW) and you happened to eat it with an accounting industry rockstar.

Doing It Wrong Twitter Case Study: The Narcissist

Following our previous Doing It Wrong case studies featuring the over-hashtagging accounting firm, the excited newbie and the hyperconnected crack tweeter, we humbly present you a criticism of one of our least favorite Twitter users: the self-absorbed narcissist.


You can spot the narcissist from a mile away by looking for keywords such as “I”, “me” and “myself.” The narcissist doesn’t really try to make it appear as though they are interested in others nor do they tend to share useful information, only their own personal triumphs, opinions, activities and musings. To the self-absorbed narcissist, this is really all that matters.

The self-absorbed narcissist is pretty easy to seduce into doing your bidding by expressing even the smallest amount of interest in their indulgent self-congratulations. This can be accomplished by retweeting their latest announcement (retweeting an announcement with lots of “me” and “my” statements will earn you bonus points in the eyes of the narcissist) and doing so might even get you a retweet yourself.

The narcissist may collect followers like nerds collect World of Warcraft gold and, if excessively narcissistic, will likely follow only 1 or 2 people to prove just how awesome and appreciated they are. To the narcissist, this is a sign of their importance and status in the Twitter community, as who needs communication when you have awesome credentials and incredible talent?

How can you avoid becoming the narcissist? Interact! Congratulate others, encourage your cohorts and share useful links that aren’t just things you’ve written or appearances you’ve made in the media.

Doing It Wrong Twitter Case Study: The Hyper-Connected Crack Tweeter

Chances are you know the Hyper-Connected Crack Tweeter and worse, you could possibly be him or her. Tell-tale signs of hyper-connected crack tweeting include constant RTing, endless strings of @s (sometimes to no one in particular) and a nuclear follow cost. If you are unsure of your follow cost, feel free to check here and if you come up nuclear, it may be time to talk about your Twitter habits.


Remember, value is in the eye of the beholder. While it may seem reasonable to the hyper-connected crack tweeter to send out a constant stream of “Thanks for the RT!” notes and 75 #FollowFriday recommendations beginning on Thursday night, if many in your stream are following 100 people or less, you’re basically just cluttering up other folks’ streams and adding very little value while doing so. Because we’re specifically speaking about accounting here, it’s important to point out that many in the profession are new (or newer) to Twitter and therefore likely to be following just a small handful of people. Point being, if you aren’t adding value you’re pretty much just being obnoxious.

Our recommendation is always to look at what others in the profession are doing to get an idea of what is appropriate use of Twitter. We’ve already recommended checking out those on Michelle Golden’s Accounting Awesomeness list for starters but would also point out specific tweeters like MACPA’s Tom Hood, next gen CPA rockstar Jason Blumer and exuberant Scott Heintzelman. What do these people have in common? They all know the importance of interaction without overkill, sharing just enough of their personal views and goings on mixed in with updates on the profession that keep followers informed and engaged. Now that is doing it right.

The hyper-connected crack tweeter makes the mistake of thinking more is better so even more must be even better. Twitter is not a popularity contest and having the most followers does you little good unless you can somehow convert multi-level marketers and pornbots into clients. Since that’s unlikely, the best thing the hyper-connected crack tweeter can do is take a look at why they are tweeting so much and what value they are offering to the Twitter community as a whole.

True value comes from both the connections and the service provided between those connections. For some, hearing what you had for breakfast is an endearing way to feel closer to strangers thousands of miles away who share the same interests and so a bit of that is allowed (keeps people from thinking you’re a tax-obsessed robot without a soul, right?) but sending out 25 #FollowFriday tweets in rapid succession is really just a cry for help and a sign that you need a primer in how to pack the most punch into your tweets without cluttering others’ streams with your nonsense.

Remember people, moderation. I know it’s exciting and it’s tempting to overdo it but let’s all remember that we have a tradition to uphold for the sake of the whole industry and that’s one of calm, collected and not at all easily excited cool.

How Accountants Can Best Utilize LinkedIn

The following post is republished from AccountingWEB, a source of accounting news, information, tips, tools, resources and insight — everything you need to help you prosper and enjoy the accounting profession.

Many people who advocate online networking do so in a generic way that can be a turn-off. They may argue that the same principles apply regardless of our business or professional activities. However it’s long been my experience that accountants are special and need to be addressed differently.

De some other online social media, I actively encourage accountants to register on LinkedIn – even if they intend doing nothing else there. In my view it’s the only online networking site where you can benefit from simply having a decent profile online.


Generally, online networking can only work if you are active and netWORK. This is also true of LinkedIn but, unlike the other sites, it is the only one that people use as a directory to search for someone like you.

This passive approach to LinkedIn may not produce as good results for those who make more active use of its facilities. But for most accountants, it’s better than nothing.

I recently caught up with Mark Perl, one of the UK’s leading LinkedIn advocates and trainers. He also understands accountants and promotes the site as the one place where we should all manage our professional reputations online.

At a bare minimum, Perl thinks all practitioners should complete a LinkedIn profile to help them be found and to optimise their search engine visibility. At its best, the site enables individuals to showcase their specific expertise to attract clients. Perl goes further and claims it is also the most effective business development and client retention resource currently available. Mark Perl and I each have detailed profiles on LinkedIn as do an increasing number of accountants in practice.

Perl comments, “When you know how to use LinkedIn well, you’ll save yourself a ton of time. You’ll walk through open doors instead of making cold calls, you’ll enhance your personal reputation, and the profile of your practice, you’ll access outstanding information and opportunities that you would previously have missed and, ultimately, you’ll increase your revenue.”

I’ve previously identified five ways that accountants can benefit simply from establishing their profile properly on LinkedIn. There are numerous other ways in which you can benefit further if you are proactive on the site. For example, Perl encourages accountants to use their LinkedIn profile and the answers section to set out their specific areas of expertise. He points out that this offers an opportunity to differentiate your firm’s particular values and virtues.

LinkedIn now has over 75 million business people as members and during March this year UK membership rose above 4 million.

For accountants who are keen to grow their practices this is a veritable goldmine of prospects. “The Advanced Search capability within LinkedIn can uncover all the business leads you’ll ever need, within your geographic location, within the specific sectors that are of interest to you, within companies of the size you prefer to approach and with the very name and job title of the decision maker you wish to engage with,” says Mark Perl.

I think he’s also right that LinkedIn is “unsurpassed” for business development. If used properly, it can be far more effective at generating leads than spammy old direct mail/email campaigns and cold-call telesales drives.

Share your thoughts on this topic in the Accounting forum on our sister site, USBusinessForums.

“Doing It Wrong” Twitter Case Study: The Over-Excited Newbie

Continuing with our series on how not to behave in social media that looks at what certain accounts do wrong without actually naming names, we thought we’d take a quick look at a Twitter user that should be all too familiar to most of you. Heck, you may even be this Twitter user, go ahead and stop me if you feel like you’re looking in a mirror.

The over-excited newbie thinks hashtags are great. So great, in fact, that he or she feels compelled to put them in every tweet. This is normal since we’ve seen this sort of behavior in accounting firms as well and they allegedly have media teams to run social media for them. We’re here to tell you for the last time to settle down and reserve hashtags for pre-determined conversations (like a chat that is easily tracked using a hashtag) or selective topics of conversation but not the entire conversation for the love of sweet baby Google.


The over-excited newbie also makes the mistake of jumping in head first without watching how others handle themselves in the arena. With hundreds – if not thousands – of well-established, accounting-related Twitter feeds already in the wild, it doesn’t make sense not to look to them to learn a thing or two about how the natives operate.

Lists like Michelle Golden’s “Accounting Awesomeness” can give you a direct line to some of accounting’s best, try following them for hints on how to behave before attempting to go out into the scary world of Twitter all by yourself. No one is implying that you should get all cookie-cutter on us but there is something to be said for sticking to the script, especially if you have absolutely no idea what you are doing.

The over-excited newbie tends to have trouble differentiating between streaming consciousness and appropriately answering the question “What’s happening?”, often dropping the most mundane details about what the yardboy wore while raking leaves and mistakenly letting threats towards co-workers seep out.

Signs you may be an over-excited newbie? Comments like “I am going to slit my senior’s throat if he doesn’t start doing some of this work” or “My boss is a fucking moron for giving me a raise after all these months of me showing up late every day” are dead giveaways.

Remember: everyone can see what you are doing on Twitter, even if your stream is “private.” That means vindictive colleagues, obnoxious clients and seniors who don’t appreciate being called raging douchenozzles in front of the entire Internet during an engagement.

So if you are the over-excited newbie, don’t worry, there’s hope for you yet. Try refraining from doing much more tweeting until you understand how Twitter works. For starters, stick to being a casual observer. No one is saying you can’t be opinionated or use the tools, however, you might choose. We have to remember our industry and keep in mind that as protectors of the public we have an obligation to conduct ourselves in a certain way.

Think of Twitter self-censoring like a privacy screen, it’ll keep all your nastiness to yourself. Exactly where it belongs.

Are Millennials a Bunch of Indifferent Brats?

The following post is republished from AccountingWEB, a source of accounting news, information, tips, tools, resources and insight–everything you need to help you prosper and enjoy the accounting profession.

Recently I was asked by a reporter to comment on some research studies concluding that Gen Y/Millennials (people approximately 31 and younger now) are much less empathetic to others than the generations coming before them. The studies were done with college students since 1979, and the big change showed up after 2000.

My personal experience with the college students I know and/or mentor is not the same as gs, but my pool is much smaller, so I have no scientific basis upon which to refute the findings. As a workplace inter-generational relations expert, I mostly deal with Gen Yers already out of school. I think many of them get an undeserved negative reputation. I have found them to be eager to learn, open, hardworking, ambitious, and fun, in general.

My speculation concerning the lack of empathy shown would be a sort of numbness from the trauma of 9/11 at an impressionable age and being served a constant menu of violence in media of all sorts. I would say these factors influence the younger Gen Xers, say, under age 35, as well. Also, the pressure in school and to get into schools, and to deal with constant messaging from many sources has left many of them with little time to reflect outside of themselves. Yet, Gen Yers are big into community service and concern for social problems, which indicates empathy.


The study findings lead me to ask these questions:

• What does this lack of empathy finding mean for their relations with colleagues in the workplace?

• Will they be willing to pitch in and compensate for colleagues who need flexible time off (for a fair exchange)?

• Will they continue to collaborate if they don’t get as much recognition as they want and somebody else does get the recognition?

•Will they have the necessary empathy for clients and customers to provide the outstanding service that is demanded in these competitive times to succeed in business?

These are crucial business questions, and we need to instill the importance of empathy. Empathy is a very important quality to have for life and business. And here is a link to a very interesting article on the subject.

BONUS: Bite on empathy and relationships

Charles M. Blow, New York Times op-ed columnist, wrote about whether we know our neighbors or even care in Friends, Neighbors, and Facebook (June 12, 2010). A Pew Research Center report issued in early June found that only 42 percent of U.S. adults know all or most of their neighbors* by name.

Segmented, the greatest percentage of respondents who know all or most of their neighbors are: females, non-Hispanic whites, age 50 or older, college graduates, and annual household income over $75,000. However, most of the demographic differences are not huge.

Blow admits to only knowing one person on his block (a Times colleague). At the same time, he has a very large number of friends and followers on social networking sites, which he actively participates on.

Two thoughts Blow offers speculating on why so few know their neighbors: 1) “Social networks are rewiring our relationships and affecting the attachments to our actual ones;” and 2) “Users of social networking services are 26 percent less likely to use their neighbors as a source of companionship,” according to a Pew report released in November 2009.

Your thoughts? I want to hear them – please share.

*I live in a New York co-op apartment building, and know by name all the neighbors on our floor and many others in the building. My husband, not a dog owner, knows the name of every dog in the building, but only a few of the pet owners’ names. Interpret that as you choose!

Social Media Makes for Effective Marketing on the Cheap

The following post is republished from AccountingWEB, a source of accounting news, information, tips, tools, resources and insight — everything you need to help you prosper and enjoy the accounting profession.

In a tough economy, marketing is often the first to go. But that can mean missed opportunities. So, more accounting firms are using social media to boost their marketing efforts without busting their budgets.

Social media – social networking sites, blogs, and video/photo-sharing sites – is increasingly used for marketing purposes for three reasons:


1. Social media sites are where people go to search for information on the Web – In March, Facebook became the most-visited site by U.S. users, beating out Google, according to analytics firm Hitwise. And Facebook hits increased 185 percent over the previous year; Google hits increased only 9 percent.

2. Think viral marketing – This can result in new LinkedIn connections, Facebook fans, or Twitter followers, building visibility and facilitating referrals and requests for service.

3. The cost is low – Developing a social media presence takes time away from other activities, but hard costs are minimal. For example, you generally can join a social network or post a video for free.

The key to social media marketing success is to develop strategies that fit your firm’s needs and strengths. But you can start small:

1. Get active on LinkedIn – Although Facebook use for business is increasing, LinkedIn – with more than 60 million registered users – is still the go-to social media site for professionals. It’s where accountants should start building their social media presence. Be sure partners fill out complete profiles, including summaries that detail their experience and expertise. Also provide training on how they can build up and utilize their networks.

2. Host a blog – This is a great way for practice leaders to demonstrate their expertise. For your first blog, choose a partner who has the passion and commitment needed to write a compelling blog, regularly update it, and respond to comments. Once other partners see the blog’s success, their interest in blogging themselves likely will increase.

A tasteless post by a partner or a complaint by a disgruntled employee can travel all over the Web (even if your firm doesn’t actively maintain a social media presence). So all firms must establish SM policies that address:

• Who is permitted to represent your firm in various social media.

• How to represent the firm in a way that is consistent with your brand.

• Why social media can’t be used to share confidential information.

• How to use privacy settings on various social media sites.

Whether your policy should be looser or more rigid depends on your firm’s culture.

Social media will play an increasingly important role in accounting firm marketing in the years to come. Start looking into how your firm can make the most of this client-building tool.

About the author:
Francesca Zelasko is director of accountant partner programs and partner marketing. Zelasko has more than 10 years of progressive marketing experience within the technology industry including SaaS, software, hardware and middleware products and services. She currently oversees the overall Accountant Channel for SurePayroll which includes Referral and Reseller partners and customized products.

“Doing It Wrong” Twitter Case Study: The Robotic, Over-Hashtagging Accounting Firm

Because I’ve learned the error of my ways and will never call anyone out publicly again on social media les faux pas (I pledge, instead, to use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, mass e-mail and/or BBM to constantly pester the offender into correcting the violation), I figured it would be better instead to just sort of call them out in a manner obvious to everyone but the offender themselves. No need to say specifically who I am talking about, you can probably figure it out.


Auto Direct Messages – One of the most annoying things about constantly using Twitter is being assaulted by auto DMs. What’s extra annoying about this is knowing that people I respect (who – once again – won’t be named) use them to this day. I think the consensus has been that they are impersonal if not disrespectful as you’re not really showing me a commitment to start a relationship by sending me some robot tweet that only clutters my inbox. Knock it off. We’re all very busy. Say something to me if you have to but there’s no need to spam my inbox with your “personalized” welcome message via DM. This is especially bad if you have misspelled something in your really obnoxious auto DM. Stop it. Seriously.

Hashtag Overkill – Somewhat higher on the annoyance scale, constantly hashtagging everything you write in a completely unpredictable, manic pattern. I’m not sure why #compliance is something people are actually searching for on Twitter often enough to require hashtagging it with every mention but to each his own. I’m talking about constantly and excessively hashtagging everything. We know you’re all about diversity and Accounting’s Top Whatever awards but by hashtagging every other word you are merely showing us that you really don’t know how to use Twitter. We expect better out of global accounting firms. I shouldn’t have to name names, you know who you are and you can stop now. Conservatism states that you will knock it the hell off and pick one or two per tweet moving forward.

One Handle Too Many – Is it necessary to create 40 sub-accounts that cover each of your divisions, specialties, scams and locales? I get that firms are global and that’s the whole point of the Internet but once again you’re taking it way too far and getting too excited about this stuff. One smaller accounting firm tweeting consistently, correctly and with a joke here and there is far more effective in my view than 67 sub-accounts randomly over-hashtagging for different global firm specialties. I’ll name names this time, @mgocpa is a great example of doing it right without an entire staff of media people running the show. Come on Big 87654, you guys can afford to put a few more bucks in Internet marketing if you are going to do it. Read one of those “How to Tweet” e-books maybe.

We sincerely hope our suggestions are appreciated here. If they aren’t implemented, we may be forced to start calling people out again.

How Much Time Is Too Much Time to Spend on Social Media?

The following post is republished from AccountingWEB, a source of accounting news, information, tips, tools, resources and insight–everything you need to help you prosper and enjoy the accounting profession.

It’s likely that your employees spend a sizeable percentage of their time using social media. As work/life balance continues to blend into one homogenous string of activities, social media activity is happening in your workplace whether you realize it or not.

But isn’t social media just a big waste of time?

It can be, but lumping all socito the same unproductive bucket is unfair, and also unwise. Social media can be an effective tool for many key business activities – including business development, client retention, and employee retention and recruitment.

Because platforms like Facebook often blend personal and business colleagues, it’s very challenging to set black and white rules when governing the use of social media.


Free reign on social media = Trust

At Chrometa, we take a mostly laissez faire approach to our employees’ use of social media, with no official policies or restriction on what employees are allowed to do. I know this thinking is counterintuitive to what many accounting and consulting firms believe, but I think this boils down to a control issue more than anything else. It’s sort of similar to being told as a child not to get into the cookie jar. If firms set up policies dictating certain actions, employees are more likely to violate these policies if they feel they can get away with it without being noticed.

Each of our employees is encouraged to set up and maintain a presence on “The Big 3” social media channels – Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Their participation levels, on the other hand, are completely up to them. A couple of our employees really enjoy and benefit, both personally and professionally, from their time on Facebook and Twitter. Ironically, our chief technical officer generally dislikes social media and personally avoids it.

At the core of our free reign is trust. We trust that our employees are 100 percent devoted to the success of our company, mission, and brand. As a result, I have complete trust they will not represent us poorly; to do so would be like representing themselves poorly. This level of trust is only possible if an employee does completely self-identify with his or her job and firm.

How much time is too much time?

I personally have spent too much time on many occasions on the Big 3 and blogs, as well, without achieving what I’d consider a reasonable ROI on my time. Going forward, I know I need to more accurately gauge the amount of time I should spend on each medium.

It’s not completely fair and accurate when people proclaim, “Twitter is a complete waste of time” because they probably just don’t understand what it can do. Twitter can be a drain, but it also can be useful if used properly and marketed to your stakeholders. Like anything, if you spend too much time on Twitter, you can end up wasting a lot of time if you don’t use it wisely.

How-much-time-too-much-time is something everyone must figure out for themselves. I give our employees the leeway to decide how much time is too much. I know they honestly want to be productive and perform their roles to the best of their ability. Because I know this, I find it’s better if they figure out these types of limits and best practices themselves, instead of having them come as edicts from above.

It’s About Time is a series of articles devoted to practice management techniques that focus on efficiency and productivity.

About the Author:
Brett Owens is CEO and cofounder of Chrometa, a Sacramento, CA-based provider of time-tracking software that records activity in real time. Previously marketed to the legal community, Chrometa is branching out to accounting prospects. Gains include the ability to discover previously undocumented billable time, saving time on billing reconciliation, and improving personal productivity. Owens also is blogger and founder at CommodityBullMarket.com and ContraryInvesting.com, as well as a regular contributor to two leading financial media sites, SeekingAlpha.com and BeforeItsNews.com.

Facebook and Twitter Get Used in a Penny Stock Scam

Before we can get into this particular penny stock scam, it would be wise to define the penny stock scam for the uninitiated. It’s a pile-in, financial porn pump and dump. These particular crooks decided to take to Twitter and Facebook to get new fish to buy into their easy to fill 2×1 matrix. Since Twitter is inundated with all level of bizarre MLM bots and pyramid scheme tweet spam, it’s easy to see how an effective a tool it can be in perpetuating financial fraud.


The Manhattan DA’s office says 11 of the 22 participants used Twitter feeds and websites to lure “investors” (read the fine print, people) to buy a bunch of cheap stocks they’d artificially inflated. They made off with $3 million and “investors” lost $7 million.

I use the word “investor” loosely. If you’re getting your stock picks from some spammy Twitterfeed that isn’t even run by a human being (or solely from one who is, so far you aren’t required to register with the SEC to talk about stocks on Twitter) maybe you had it coming. So far we haven’t seen the offending tweets, if you know where to find them let me know.

Penny stock scams are not limited to Twitter and even former SEC lawyers have been convicted of using them to take advantage of gullible “investors.” Like this guy, who brought civil cases against white collar criminals for 15 years in Fort Worth and ended up getting 8 years in federal prison for his pump and dump activities. It’s unclear if he used social media in his crimes but if he came from the SEC, chances are he’s more into porn than Twitter.

Filed under: doing it wrong

Facebook & Twitter used in stock fraud: U.S. prosecutor [Reuters]

Memo to Media Departments: Here Are Three Ways to Make My Job Easier

I’m not going to name names since that doesn’t seem to go over well but I have a bone to pick and think this is the perfect platform for doing so. In case you aren’t paying attention, I tend to use real-world examples to form my suggestions on what to do (or more often than not what not to do) in social media and this time I need to air a complaint about some industry “professionals” who aren’t playing the game right.

Again, no names so don’t ask and if you’re wondering if I mean you, I probably do.

I’m referring specifically to media def attempts on my part to connect with them and get their news out here on Going Concern and Jr. Deputy Accountant. The JDA blow offs I can almost understand but when I come right with a proposition and offer them a coveted spot among the PwC rebranding whine dump and salary news here on GC and they completely ignore it, I get pissed.

Therefore, helpful sort that I am, I’m offering three ways YOU, accounting industry media person, can make MY job easier:


1. Respond When I write you an email inviting you to participate in an interview, survey, ribbing, etc., a response would be nice either way though I obviously appreciate a “yes” far more than a “are you kidding me?” Regardless of whether or not you would like to participate, the least you can do is respond. I know you’re busy, we’re all busy, no one expects you to answer me 4 minutes after I’ve sent the email but a courtesy response would be awesome. I’m not asking a lot. I’m giving you a chance to participate in something awesome and trust me, I wouldn’t waste my own time so I don’t expect you to waste yours.

2. Don’t be scared I’m not sure what it is or why people seem to perceive my brand as hostile but I’m really not as hostile as it seems if you actually talk to me. It amazes me that some industry professionals think Going Concern is hostile and incendiary as well! Seriously?! We hardly swear and cover accounting news, how threatening can we be? Apparently quite. I can’t speak for Caleb but I’ve been blocked. And ignored. Whatever, it’s not about my ego, it’s about me inviting you to take a seat at our conversation and you running the other direction.

3. Wake up! If you are going to start A) a campaign and/or B) a Twitter account, please expect that I’m going to find it and possibly come ask you questions about it. As a media professional, it’s sort of expected that you’ll be excited to offer me the information I seek so I can share it with our readers or at least be able to point me to some press release that accomplishes the same without you having to talk to me. It doesn’t matter if you disagree with my opinion on Ben Bernanke being a massive douchebag or if you are offended by my liberal use of the F-word on my own turf, this is about the industry. We know for a fact that some industry professionals wish Going Concern would expire and drop off the Internet but let’s be real, it isn’t happening so you’d be smart by embracing it instead of fighting it. Like it or not, we’re the future of the industry. Suck it.

I swear we don’t bite (Caleb might but you’ll have to ask him to be sure) and we’ve proven that we here at Going Concern hold ourselves to an exceptionally high standard of ethical behavior when it comes to sources, interviews and communications with industry professionals. So I don’t know where the fear is coming from but seriously, answer your damn emails.

Just One More Reason To Not Act Like an Idiot on the Internet

Federal officials are looking for “easier” rules that would allow for wiretapping of Internet-based services since no one uses their phones anymore, says the NYT.

The FBI, DoJ, NSA and White House officials have been meeting for awhile now to come up with a way around the everyone ditching their phones problem. Spying on someone gets hard when they’re doing all their dirty business on Skype I’m sure. Can you show me any criminals that actually do that?

If things go the way the in-the-dark could mean requiring communication providers to provide access to encrypted interactions using common platforms like BlackBerry and Facebook. While it’s unlikely that any of you will become subject of a federal wiretap warrant, just opening this door means a critical component of our online security has been compromised.


Monitoring services and firms already watch the conversation (look at Cyveillance, for example) and if you brag about all your unreported income on Twitter (e.g. “Fuck 1099s, I haven’t filed a return in five years and those idiots at the @IRS will never find me!”), chances are you’ll get busted so we know TPTB are watching but what happens when they can force their way through encryption? It’s one thing to open yourself up to litigation by being stupid enough to say you’re going to blow up an airport in 140 characters or less but you should be able to make inappropriate comments in the privacy of your own Facebook outbox.

Since when do drug cartels use Facebook to arrange their deals?

Regardless of where this proposition goes the reality is that we’ve already pretty much given our information up (and do, consistently – see also “Sign in using Facebook” buttons that you guys are probably constantly pressing out of laziness) so one more step can’t really be the end of the world for individual privacy, right?

All the more reason to tighten up your personal Internet security in the meantime, which means not using your full name for stuff and refraining from threatening to stab the senior while at the client’s. You know who you are.

Are Boomers Embracing the Always-Connected Attitude of Gen Y?

The following post is republished from AccountingWEB, a source of accounting news, information, tips, tools, resources and insight–everything you need to help you prosper and enjoy the accounting profession.

The technology use gap among the generations is closing rapidly. There may be no better example that hits home than Michael Winerup’s “Generation B” column in The New York Times, “On Vacation and Looking for Wi-Fi.” We all are touched, most of us are trapped by the psychological effect of being accessible 24/7 and the desire to keep on top of the deluge of messages and data coming in unstoppable torrents.

Winerup points out that just a few years ago the middle-aged members of his three-generation, geographically extended family vacationing together left their work and tech gadgets at home. Three years ago, a few made a visit to an Internet café on their vacation, just for the novelty of it. This year some of them stood in a long line in a resort lobby to pay for 25 hours of Internet service, brought laptops, and checked e-mail daily. This way they reduce the e-mail build-up awaiting them the first day back at work. I surely relate to that post-vacation return anxiety even as I resist checking e-mail every day when out of the U.S.


“We expect ourselves to be available,” said Winerup. That’s the Boomers’ mindset. Technology is making us work harder. Gen X and Y have been continuously connected for years, but many of them don’t want to be always available for work.

Winerup says we all are expected to use all the Internet tools for research and client relations. No more depending on secretaries and assistants.

The hit film “Up in the Air” made the point that critical human interactions, like layoffs, still require in-person contact. All the electronic connectedness not only can be a poor substitute for in-person higher touch contact, but it also leaves little time for the high touch. Now the connectedness has even invaded vacation time away with family and friends.

Is it positive or negative that the generations have something else in common?…I guess it depends.

Please share your thoughts.

Phyllis Weiss Haserot is the president of Practice Development Counsel, a business development and organizational effectiveness consulting and coaching firm she founded over 20 years ago, A special focus is on the profitability of improving inter-generational relations and transitioning planning for baby boomer senior partners (www.nextgeneration-nextdestination.com). Phyllis is the author of “The Rainmaking Machine” and “The Marketer’s Handbook of Tips & Checklists” (both West 2009). pwhaserot@pdcounsel.com. URL: www.pdcounsel.com.

Why Are Milwaukee Accounting Professionals So Afraid of Social Media?

Having grown up in Milwaukee I can’t imagine 2/3rds of Milwaukeeans are jumping into social media, let alone 2/3rds of the financial and accounting population. If they are, it appears as though they’re not really listening to our advice and should be taking this “transparency” in new media thing a notch or two up.

The Milwaukee Business Journal says that two-thirds of Milwaukee area accounting professionals use LinkedIn and Facebook but not necessarily for business. Trying to balance their professional personas with their real lives as protectors of the public interest, they’re understandably sketchy when it comes to diving head first into the Twitter.


There are really no excuses at this point. Plenty of brands have figured out how to gently skirt the line, stand way back behind a wall of professionalism, interact with just about everyone, make it entertaining with self-deprecating stabs at the “boring accountant” stereotype and completely push the envelope until it falls off the cliff. It’s fine, everyone’s doing it and so far no one’s getting sued.

That statement isn’t entirely true, some companies have taken to suing complainers which is always a great way to drum up business and make people want to give you their money. For those of you afraid of social media, that translates into behavior not to engage in. Being a “sue first, ask questions later” sort of company is always a bad idea so don’t do it.

And if you’re going to put someone in charge of handling social media, make sure it isn’t someone overworked and angry at your company who might tweet that they want to stab the client. Other than that, I’m not sure where this fear of social media comes from but it appears that many Milwaukee accounting professionals don’t understand that your brand is only what you present it to be. As long as no one is threatening to physically harm anyone in your stream, you’re pretty safe as far as whatever else you decide to do. Share links, talk to other professionals, really grow a pair and send a photo of your awesome cube arrangements. Whatever, just get involved and stop acting like it’s a larger, more frightening deal than it actually is. It’s just another way to get business done.

Accounting professionals who lack the non-mandated-by-the-AICPA cojones to jump into the new media game are sort of underestimating their own professional ability to judge what is appropriate and what isn’t. That’s an individual choice for brands, firms and representatives of companies as they interact online but it’s disrespectful to the profession to imply that we as a whole don’t act right on the Internets. Please. The niche is large enough that one may bring whatever they want to the table and mostly not get rejected nor the shit sued out of them for tweeting client Social Security numbers. Don’t we know how to behave?

I’d hope so.

So stop being afraid, Milwaukee accounting professionals, it isn’t going to bite (you in the ass later) because you know what’s right and what’s wrong. You’re a fucking professional, dammit. Let me know when you’re on Twitter, I might follow you.

How Not to Get Unfollowed on Twitter

The last time I attempted a “How Not to Be a Total Asshat on the Internet” public service message in this arena, I was torn apart for being too harsh so I’ll leave out the specifics and stick to the suggestions. You know who you are.

Keep in mind that what works for some doesn’t work for others and vice versa; we’re specifically talking about how to fit in with the accounting crew, not alienating clients, not come off as too spammy and/or maintain a reasonable professional profile using your Twitter account as a point of contact to your brand. All of you are more than welcome to do whatever you want with your Twitter accounts, the following is meant for professionals or brands.


Actually interact – No one is suggesting you follow every person who follows you or go on some mass following spree to artificially inflate your Internet popularity for appearance’s sake but a good balance of @s with following shows some level of interaction. A lot of firms miss this one and organizations can make the mistake of focusing strictly on their own message and ignoring what others are saying. Don’t do that, jump in and say something.

If the thought ever crosses my mind that you might be a robot, you’re probably not doing it right – You know the one; they have the same not-quite-normal headshot as their avatar and profile shot for every hot social media service available and not a single candid pic of this person “in action.” We don’t suggest drunken Facebook shots to remedy this but it would be nice to confirm that the person behind the account is, in fact, a person with a tweet that doesn’t seem prefabricated or a picture that deviates from the Headshot Series 1. When it’s a little too perfect, it appears suspect. People are less likely to enjoy your message if they are too busy wondering whether or not you’re a machine when reading it.

There is a such thing as TMII’m guilty of this one and it’s because I’m really not trying to masquerade as a total professional. Nor am I representing my company when I’m out there tweeting about the crackheads hitting on me at the gas station or meter maids terrorizing me with parking tickets. For some, interacting goes too far and gets way too personal. If you are attempting to represent or have at all associated yourself with your company, be aware that there is still a such thing as privacy. Even if you are only followed by a handful of people, your tweets reach the entire Internet.

RTs and FFs – And please for the love of Bob Herz don’t thank everyone for every RT, nor be the “all day #FF” guy. If you’re spending half your Friday #FFing everyone, you’re A) making unnecessary noise and B) diluting the value you add by suggesting helpful people to follow. Stick to a handful if you’re going to do it all instead of spewing out half your following list.

Oh and auto DMs? They were never really cool and to me they say that you’re too busy to actually say anything to me and inconsiderate of how cluttered my inbox can get. Sorry if this offends anyone who is in love with their own “brilliant” auto DM but I see them as obnoxious. Add to the conversation, not the noise.

Protecting Your Online Identity or, Alternatively, How Not to Get Busted Being a Subversive at Work

It amazes me that fairly intelligent people manage to do really stupid things, sometimes on a consistent basis. One of these things is being sloppy about one’s online identity or, more specifically, publicly participating in any conversation that might ruffle management’s feathers. What on Earth could I be talking about?

Let’s take a look at the popular public accounting video series by YouTube user witn3ssthefitn3ss – or more specifically, witn3ssthefitn3ss’s 266 subscribers. Among them, several users who have (oh-so-creatively) used their first and last names as user names. Now there probably isn’t anything in your company manual that specifically states you are not allowed to subscribe to YouTube videos that paint the profession in a less than flattering light and let’s face it, odds that HR even knows how to find YouTube are slim to none but regardless, it’s bad Internet behavior and I’ve got to call these kids out for it.


For example, Michael V Staub (YouTube user michaelvstaub, how convenient!) appears to be working for PwC in Chicago. See how easy it is for any idiot to track your activity on the Internets, kids? I just did it and it took me all of two minutes.

Now Mike is more than welcome to subscribe to any YouTube channel he wants to but in an uncertain job market, it might be a better strategy to C.Y.A. (Cover Your Ass) and have the Internet wherewithall to come up with a better user name than, oh, your entire name. Especially if you’re going to be liking videos that make management look like slave-driving taskmasters.

There are more, like Joseph Bailey, an E&Y manager in Florida. Again, maaaaybe there is some other Joseph R. Bailey subscribing to these videos under his real name but we just don’t see it being that much of a coincidence.

The point is, your social identity is as much a commodity as your education and professional experience. Don’t carelessly throw it out there where anyone can track your likes and dislikes. Take the time to separate your personal and professional lives or you can pretty much guarantee a whole bunch of hassle later on down the road. Sure, it was only an accounting video this time but what if management takes it personally and thinks you only liked it because one of them had the audacity to ask you for a McDonald’s Diet Coke?

Watch what you do out there, kids, the entire world is watching. There are billions of usernames you can come up with, don’t make the mistake of using your own first and last unless you are an Internet marketer or sticking strictly to completely safe-for-work material.

Update: Details about licensure have been removed as we have confirmed Illinois’ tricky licensing requirements and our poster in question is, in fact, fully licensed.

How To Get “Monitoring The Conversation” Right

Being an incendiary, I’m used to getting unfollowed, ignored and even blocked (yes @mark_to_market blocked me, Lord knows who else, I stopped caring at 2000) and I’m definitely used to seeing the rats scatter across my stats every time I mention [insert firm or company name here] so it’s obvious to me from my various online interactions that some communications departments are keeping an eye on the conversation.

Since we’re all interested in the accounting side of things, I have to say that I notice more “official-looking” Twitter activity from firms based outside of the US (generally Big 4 coming from the UK or Canada) that leads me to believe most of them are at least keeping an eye on the Google alerts. PwC had the large pair to follow me once, very early on, and probably unfollowed when I started ripping on them for bumbling Satyam. Anyway, someone has to watch what’s being said and a company (or organization) can only choose to engage or not engage.

Engaging, of course, comes in several forms but to vaguely pin down what “engage” means, I’d define it as any activity that alerts others they are listening and/or give a shit.


For Comcast, they swarm Twitter responding to complaints about their crappy service, extortion boxes, and complicated remotes. Not all companies choose to take that route, nor should they be expected to. Protecting or guarding your brand means figuring out how much “engaging” is appropriate as any more or less than is appropriate for your particular organization’s needs will come off as fake, lame or just forced. And no one wants to interact with that.

For Dave and Buster’s, I give them credit for totally engaging me by following me. I’ve been publicly ripping on them for at least a week but I’m not doing it just to be mean, I’d really really like to know what went down with E&Y (welcome to your new gig, KPMG). I’ve never actually been in a D&B and any inquisitive tweets on my part were not returned but so far they haven’t sued me so I guess I’m doing well on that front.

Some agencies choose to completely ignore some of the more “questionable” interaction that isn’t exactly a pissed off customer. They’re already trained to handle that (any social media idiot can teach you how to talk to customers who talk about you in a list of 3 items or more) but they aren’t likely prepared for a fake accounting firm to ask them if newly-single D&B would want to try them out as auditors.

I don’t expect Dave & Buster’s to answer or acknowledge that but following me shows that they are at least aware I’m trying to egg them on and aren’t afraid of my bitch ass. Unlike the fake accounting firm, I’m a voice out there spreading whatever I know about [insert company] to a huge audience. They can’t send me 10,000 free tickets to shut my trap and I’m not exactly making a complaint they can resolve so what can they do? Keep an eye on me?

I admire that tactic. And may leave them alone… I’m more likely to do so if I get a tweet about what happened with E&Y but won’t be holding my breath for that particular @.

I’m Not Impressed With FASB’s New Twitter Account

When @FAFNorwalk launched on August 4, 2010, it was supposed to be an awesome attempt at connecting government accounting to the 439 people interested in it (don’t trip, FAFN, y’all will get your massive following).

The day after signing up, they mustered up the courage to send out their first tweet:

Welcome to FAF/FASB/GASB! Stay Tuned For Updates.


First of all, we’re not sure if FAF, FASB and GASB know this but Twitter accounts are free so you are totally allowed to get your own. As far as I know, you are even allowed to get several as long as you can come up with an email address for it so there’s no need to share, although that can get messy. What if one of you is trying to tweet about the latest comment period (Disclosures of Certain Loss Contingencies – I’m sure that will garner quite a bit of interesting commentary) while the other wants to talk about new lease rules?

Secondly, is this the best they can do? I’d really like to see some more thoughtful commentary from Norwalk that truly opens the conversation. They can think of this as a comment letter in 140 characters.

Thirdly, what’s up with the one and only person FAFNorwalk is following? We don’t know who the hell @Badwissen is but maybe they are just really into FASBs and @FAFN could totally vibe that when they started their little Twitter co-op.

Lastly, let’s try to work a little better on the turnaround, eh @FAFN? Compliance Week already had an entire story up about new lease rules by the time @FAFN got around to tweeting about it… fine, @FAFN tweeted it around 2 and the CW story went up after 5 but still, with @FAFN’s access to insider information, I want to see @FAFN tweets about lease rules a full two hours (or a day!) before anyone, come on.

If you are looking for a truly dull Twitter follow with zero interaction, @FAFNorwalk is totally for you. Personally I like my accounting feeds with slightly more bite, even if that means a simple @ every now and then.

How’s that for a fucking comment letter?

Earlier:
Wonky Accounting Insight in 140 Characters or Less: The FASB Is Now on Twitter

Five More Facebook Fan Pages For Accountants

Our friends at FINS recently posted some must-fan Facebook pages specifically for accountants and though we agree with their suggestions, we thought it would be prudent to add a few of our own.

Before we get to those, though, let’s talk about the five FINS listed.


1. The Big 4 (all of them, if you’re really really excited to land that dream public accounting gig you’ve always dreamed of… hooRAH!)
2. AICPA
3. Journal of Accountancy
4. CPA Technology Advisor
5. Local CPA Societies

These are all great suggestions but let’s be real about it, a good number of us use our Facebook pages for so much more than professional networking. So how about some real-world suggestions for the accounting folk out there?

1. Vodka. I don’t care if you prefer martinis or homebrew, by fanning vodka you are reiterating your commitment to professionalism in all you do as per the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct. Trust us, it’s a lot easier to be ethical and bring in clients when you’ve been on a weekend-long bender and simply don’t care anymore.

2. Accountants do it with double-entry. There’s no need to perpetuate stereotypes of the boring accountant, go ahead and shock your conservative pals by fanning this group to show that you DO, in fact, have a sense of humor and even choose to exercise it every now and then.

3. Accountants are sexy. Well? They are, dammit, especially if you followed our advice and got into the vodka. A couple of those and that mousy chick in the cube next door will be EXTRA sexy.

4. Stuff Accountants Like. Even though SAL has taken a possibly permanent vacay from blogging, reading through past entries is still entertaining if you haven’t read them before. Great for when you’re taking a break between vodka and reconciliation.

5. Going Concern. Listen, FINS, we aren’t offended that you accidentally left us off your list. But don’t expect us to share any of our vodka with you.

Five Ways Not to Suck As an Accounting Blogger

Initially Caleb got butthurt and thought I was writing this article about him but I guess that means he thinks he sucks. I can’t name any accounting bloggers that actually suck and know plenty so here’s how not to tip that number past 0 if you’re thinking of taking it up.


Write about what you enjoy Believe it or not, there are people who care about: CPA exam experiences, SOX compliance, non-profit accounting, accounting technology, Big 4 bashing, rence, accounting education, the Fed (cough), tax law… you name it and someone is writing about and looking to read about it right now. If you write about what you think people want to read about, chances are they won’t read it. Someone out there is totally into keeping LIFO even after we adopt IFRS so if that’s your thing, go for it but stay true to what you’re into.

Don’t isolate There are some folks who get away with being reclusive hermits or narcissistic pricks that don’t engage with the broader group of us (I won’t name names) but for the most part, if you want people to embrace what you’re doing, you’re going to have to bite it and talk to them sometime. Don’t trip, we’re not that bad. You can pick and choose which of the bunch you associate with and no one is saying you have to like every other accounting blogger out there. But at least find a few who don’t annoy you to talk to and share ideas with every now and then. If Dennis Howlett can manage, so can you.

Don’t get stuck in your niche Even if you’re strictly into LIFO, think about reaching out beyond your specialty and even beyond accounting to areas like finance, law and politics. It’s OK, it’s all relevant. The great thing about writing about what you love is that no one can tell you how to do it, not even us. The broader your subject matter, the more appeal you’ll have.

Actually try The thing about writing for this audience is that you have to keep doing it without getting much interaction back. We’ve personally seen countless state societies of CPAs abandon or under-evaluate their efforts in this medium simply because they didn’t get the Seth Godin reaction they were expecting. You aren’t Chris Brogan and accountants aren’t going to flock to your content by the bazillions, there are only so many of them to reach in the first place. Being in such a small, specialized group, it’s important to remember that you might not get the reaction you want right off the bat, if ever. But if you give up early, you’ll miss out on that reaction later.

Don’t think you know your audience’s expectations The best way to figure out if you’re delivering to your target is to access your site’s analytics and see who is coming from where and how. But even if you’re a stat whore like some of us, you can only tell so much about your audience from your side. Listen to what people are saying and try to recognize patterns in what is well-received and what is ignored. This isn’t just a blogging thing, you can use that sort of wisdom with e-mail marketing, Twitter, whatever. They’ll let you know what they like so don’t be so busy yelling your point to listen.

And as a bonus 6th tip, try to shake things up a little. This didn’t make the list because it really doesn’t work for everyone but for some of us it’s the only way to do it. If you aren’t afraid of being humiliated out of the industry with your big fat mouth, try pushing the envelope every now and then. Trust me, it feels awesome.

Why Your Firm Needs a Social Media Policy

If you work for a larger firm, chances are you’ve already got a social media policy that encompasses everything your firm does not want you to do online. For smaller firms and private practices, a social media policy can be the very last thing management considers implementing, assuming you will use your better judgment when conducting yourself online and don’t need the rules laid out. Oftentimes this mentality comes more from management’s unfamiliarity with social media than anything else. If they don’t use Twitter, how can they tell you how to conduct yourself on it?

But your online social life isn’t the same as a cocktail party at which you are representing your firm. Should you be able to say whatever you want on Twitter after hours? Can you post pictures of yourself getting wasted on Facebook?


The line is cut and dry when you are at a firm event or at a client but are you expected to represent your firm even when tweeting on your own time? If your firm does not have a social media policy, the answer is you have no way to know until it’s too late and you’ve pissed off the boss.

For firms, not having a social media policy can open the company up to all sorts of tricky trouble. Without knowing exactly what is expected of them, employees are forced to use their own judgment when it comes to their online behavior. Most are smart enough not to bash the boss in 140 characters or post embarrassing holiday party photos on Facebook but what’s to stop them from starting a blog that management finds offensive or keep them from tweeting about their work life in general? Absolutely nothing.

With hyper-connected Gen Y more than established in the workplace, a social media policy makes even more sense. Very few us get through a day without a Facebook update or a tweet and for some of us, our online persona can be a point of contention with management. Case in point, yours truly and Jr Deputy Accountant. Working in the industry meant that I had to be careful not to needlessly bash firm failures (like PwC and Satyam), lest I ruffle any feathers that could connect my site to my employer. Sometimes a disclaimer is helpful – something along the lines of “my opinion is my own and independent of any personal or professional affiliations” – but without having clear lines drawn between how you behave at work and how you behave on your own time in front of the entire Internet, it can be difficult to know what’s appropriate and what is not.

Last week we gave you some tips to keep your online life safe in the event that you don’t have a social media policy but that doesn’t mean your boss gets a pass. A social media policy is always a good idea and in this day and age there’s no getting around it, it’s necessary.

Five Ways Not to Lose Your Job Playing Around on the Internet

Accountants are more prevalent in the social mediasphere than you might think; they’ve taken over Twitter, blog regularly and can even be found figuring out how to make Foursquare relevant to business. But since tapping the potential of social media for business is relatively new, not all organizations know exactly how to use the tools, nor do the understand the importance of a good social media policy within their organization. So here are some tips for making the most out of social media without losing your job. We’re sorry we have to even share these but we’ve seen some of you guys out there in the social mediasphere and it appears you need a reminder.


Choose Your 140 Characters Carefully – If you’re on Twitter and are complaining about your job, understand that the entire world can see you. Even if your stream is private, the great Google sees everything. A few months back, Twitter’s internal search allowed private tweets to appear in searches. I’m not sure if this little hole has been patched but if it hasn’t, you don’t want to be a victim of your own public stream of consciousness. Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t say in an e-mail to your boss.

Ask About Your Firm’s Social Media Policy – Though it’s sort of implied in the firm’s overall policy on communications outside of the company, social media is an entirely different avenue and the rules may not be as cut and dry as the GAAP you’re used to. Not all companies will specifically bar you from blogging on your free time and many turn a blind eye to the activity… until you say something they don’t like. Don’t assume that you’re safe if you don’t share your name or location: it’s fairly easy to reveal your identity if you’re sharing details of your life like where you live and what you do. It gets easier if you’re using a blog to rant about work or out obnoxious coworkers. This applies to positive blogs as well; even if you’re doing the industry a service by discussing current events in accounting, some firms would rather you not say anything at all. Be careful with your details and when in doubt, ask about your firm’s social media policy.

Facebook Friends – You’re not friends with him in real life so don’t be friends with your boss on Facebook. Facebook can be a great networking tool if you aren’t sharing photos of your drunken weekend adventures but if you are, better leave your boss or even coworkers off your friends list. Remember also that Facebook privacy settings can be complicated to say the least; even if you have most of your profile set to private, if you haven’t gone in and changed certain settings, mobile uploads and other photo albums can still appear in search results. That means any nosy coworker out to make you look bad could easily stumble upon your page and access things you’ve posted thinking they are invisible to anyone but your friends. I’m all for being cozy with colleagues but be careful when adding people you work with if you, like 99% of us, use your Facebook to rant, brag and occasionally spout off inappropriate things.

Careful when commenting on blogs! – Listen, we love you guys for contributing but sometimes we have to wonder if you’re playing with a full deck. If you’re commenting from and about work, keep the details to a minimum and use the anonymity of the Internet to your advantage! I have Jr Deputy Accountant readers who work for the banks, the Fed or government agencies but that secret stays between them and me – some choose to create a nickname that wouldn’t reveal who they really are and others stick with “anonymous”. However you do it, remember that if your name is George Stein and you work at KPMG, using GSKPMG2010 isn’t fooling anyone. Talking about salaries or griping about the conditions are totally allowed – if not encouraged – but be smart about it and never use your real name unless you work in communications or don’t mind your boss or colleagues seeing your comments. Once again, remember the great Google sees ALL.

Whatever you do, never forget the Internet is forever – You can delete your Myspace account but since the Internet tends to aggregate information, just because you’ve deleted something doesn’t mean it is gone forever. Case in point: when I write a blog post on JDA, it’s picked up and republished by two news aggregators instantly, which means I’m stuck with whatever typo I missed or stupid comment I made, even if I change or delete it on my own site. It is the same with Twitter as many bizarre websites aggregate tweets about a particular subject, some permanently. So you might be able to zap an obvious faux pas the morning after but it could come back to haunt you if it ends up somewhere else.