What immediately springs to mind when you think about social media? Cat memes? Strange items on Facebook marketplace? Whatever it might be, it’s probably not finance related content.
But there’s much more to social media than people sharing travel photos! In fact, social media is a great tool to develop your career and your knowledge. Whether you’re an Accounts Assistant looking to climb the career ladder or a Finance Director thinking about starting your own accounting practice, focusing some effort on utilising social media can have fruitful benefits if done right.
GAAPweb has come up with this guide to help you build a presence online and understand how to utilise social media as an Accountant.
Key Benefits of Social Media for Accountants
Social media is a valuable tool for many reasons, but here are some of the top benefits:
- Building expertise in different areas
- Developing your professional network
- Keeping up with the latest news and trends in the accounting world
- Showcasing your skills and knowledge
- Interacting with clients or colleagues
However, in order to reap the rewards of social media, you first need to have a strategy, know your channels and follow the right people.
Figuring Out Your Social Media Strategy
Maybe you are a business owner and have just identified the need to utilise social media but don’t know where to even begin, or maybe you are looking to build on an already established social media presence to expand your professional network.
Whatever your situation, you need to have a good strategy in place to ensure you are fully benefiting from the time and effort you are investing in social media. So, whether you’re completely new to this or not, think about some of these key questions to help you establish a sound social strategy.
- Why do you want to use social media?
- Who do you want to appeal to or connect with?
- What do you want your content to say about you?
What you put out online represents who you are, so it’s really important that you think about what you’re posting.
Similarly, if you’re using social media purely for research purposes, education or industry insights, having a strategy will help you know who you should follow and will prevent you from wasting time scrolling endlessly without anything to show for it.
Know your channels
There are so many different social platforms now and all serve a different purpose. This article will focus on three of the biggest social media channels that you should utilise as an Accountant.
Twitter is one of the best ways to keep up with the latest news in the accounting and finance profession.
With the ever changing nature of the accounting profession, it can be difficult to keep up to date with all the changes happening. Twitter offers short snippets of information, so it’s a great way to get bitesize news and updates. You can tailor the type of information you see on your Twitter feed through carefully selecting the accounts you follow.
For example, if you’re using Twitter to fill any gaps in your knowledge you might have around tax, then follow a tax influencer (see our list of who to follow below) to see the type of information they’re sharing and discussions they’re having.
Twitter isn’t just useful for building expertise. It can also be used for research purposes. Got an interview? Use the company’s social media accounts to keep informed of their latest news or look at the type of information they are sharing with their audience to get an idea of what is important to them.
If you have identified that you want to utilise social media for building up your network then LinkedIn is the platform for you. But where do you start? Establish the base of your network by connecting with friends and colleagues you know or have worked with in the past. Get into the habit of adding people as a connection whenever you meet or work with someone new, to ensure you’re continually building your network.
Then, take it one step further - is there anyone you have not met that you would like to be connected with? Think about thought leaders, influencers or experts in your field. Find these people on LinkedIn and send out a message to see if they would like to connect and have a chat. Through doing this, you’ll have a network full of connections who can endorse your skills and potentially approach you with job opportunities.
The main benefit of Facebook for Accountants is the opportunity to join industry-focused groups. A group is essentially a community of like-minded individuals in which you can discuss and share information relating to the purpose of that group. There are hundreds of groups for Accountants out there, so we’ve listed some of the top accounting groups below to help you get started.
Once you're confident and comfortable enough using Facebook, you could even use your connections accrued through various other groups to start your own group to showcase your skills and knowledge.
Following the Right People, Accounts & Pages
One of the disadvantages of social media is that you can easily find yourself endlessly scrolling in search of the content you want. To avoid this, make sure you’re following the right people so your feed is full of interesting, insightful information. We’ve put together a list of accounting or finance influencers to follow across a range of different niches. You can use this list as a starting point to build your connections or follows. From here, look at who they’re following or retweeting to expose yourself to a greater variety of voices and content.
- Martin Lewis
Martin Lewis is the founder of the UK’s number one finance site and therefore is our top pick for influencers in the financial industry to follow. Although the majority of Martin Lewis’ site is dedicated to the average person about how to save money and fighting for financial justice, he also offers a great overview of current affairs relating to all things finance.
Follow Martin Lewis on Twitter at @MartinSLewis.
- Jasmine Birtles
We also recommend following Jasmine Birtles to stay on top of the latest news and trends in the finance industry. Jasmine is an internationally renowned finance and fintech expert. Jasmine’s social media accounts brilliantly dissect and discuss complicated financial issues into easy to understand, manageable concepts, covering everything from consumer issues to blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
You can find Jasmine Birtles on Twitter at @Jasmine.
- Richard Murphy
Richard Murphy is a chartered Accountant, professor in accounting and political economist. He has over 72.2K followers on Twitter who flock to his feed for all things tax. Richard Murphy was recently named the UK’s number one accounting influencer by the ICAEW.
Follow him at @RichardJMurphy for the latest insights on tax and its economic impact.
- Kelly Phillips Erb
Kelly Phillips Erb is the second accounting influencer who focuses on tax that we urge you to follow. She has a highly popular blog, four books and even a podcast, all dedicated to raising awareness and sharing stories about tax.
For insights and issues within tax and policy check out @taxgirl on Twitter and join her 46.8K followers.
- Rick Telberg
If your main goal for social media is to stay on top of the latest news and trends in accountancy then Rick Telberg’s account is a great one to follow. Telberg’s Twitter account is dedicated to bringing his 26.2K followers up to the minute stories and information relating to accounting, finance and tax.
Follow Rick Telberg at @CPATrendlines.
- Greg Kyte
For those looking for something more lighthearted to break up the accounting news filling up your social feeds, our final recommendation is Greg Kyte. Greg is a certified Accountant and stand up comedian who dedicates his Twitter account to creating and sharing accounting jokes with his following of 10.7K.
Check out his hilarious content at @gregkyte.