Nine career related tips re accountants' use of facebook

One of the talks I presented at Accountex in November 2012 was titled: Harnessing the power of social media for career success. Much of this talk was an adaptation of my more general articles, blogs and talks on social media. However, there were a number of completely new elements including some key tips re facebook – which I have summarised below.

Why, you might ask, did I reference facebook during the talk. Surely I would have focused on Linkedin – the online Business networking site. I did. But, the ubiquity of facebook means it is also worth thinking about what you can do here to aid your professional career.  I would stress that I start from the perspective that facebook really is more for ‘social’ use than for building business connections.  I am NOT a fan of the idea that anyone tries to become facebook friends with partners in firms of accountants or with the owners of businesses – unless you can see that they are clearly encouraging this through the way that THEY use facebook.  That won’t be very often.

For what it is worth I have over 2,400 connections on Linkedin and around 4,300 followers on twitter but fewer than 300 friends on facebook.  For me, it really is not a business focused medium. But I’m not looking to build my career so my experience and approach is not really relevant.  Which is why I DID cover facebook in my recent talk. Here are the nine tips:

  1. Make your facebook profile work for you – although not as formal as Linkedin, friends can still see the details you share about your current and previous roles and projects. Ensure that these paint a positive picture and evidence your specific expertise and any distinctive value that you offer.
  2. Be aware of who your ‘friends’ are – do you really know them ALL? Some may be old work colleagues or people with  whom you have lost touch. Any of them may be in a position to put you forward or to scupper your chances of getting your next dream role.
  3. Customise who can see your status updates – Whenever you post a status update you can decide which groups of friends can or cannot see it. You can also ensure that specific people should not see specific posts. You should always be aware that, unless you use this facility, your updates may be widely seen. Some of your updates may be best hidden from all but your closest friends!
  4. Take care over the job and career related updates that you post – Be especially careful if you are prone to complain about elements of your current role or employer. If you MUST post such updates you should really limit who can see them! More positively you may find that more distant friends may pick up on your availability, if you are between roles – as long as you are positive and upbeat.
  5. Resist the temptation to share too much too widely – This follows on from the above two points.  If you are employed you shouldn’t be posting updates to facebook more than two or three time during the working day. If you post updates too often it gives the impression that you are not focused on your work and that’s not a good impression to give if you want to progress your career.
  6. Check your privacy settings – Again this follows on from the above points.
  7. Check what your business ‘friends’ can see – As part of the ‘activity log’ facility you can check the impact of your privacy settings using the ‘View as…’ facility.
  8. Check the settings for every authorised app – You will probably want to limit the ability for apps to automatically post activity updates to your facebook timeline. Again , this is especially important if you find the time to ‘play’ during the working day. There may also be some apps and games that you would prefer your involvement to be kept confidential as reagards your ‘business’ ass0ciates.
  9. Send personalised messages to friends who may know people – You never know who might be able to make a valuable introduction to a potential employer, or  who might hear about the perfect job opening.  More an more employers are providing incentives to staff to provide leads to potential recruits. This can be much more cost effective than using recruitment consultants.

Many younger accountants will find nothing new in this list as they apply similar principles as regards the extent to which their parents can see what they are doing on facebook after they become ‘friends’. Equally some parents, who have been accepted as their children’s ‘friends’ on facebook, may wish to limit the extent to which their children can see what they (the parents) have been upto!

Like this post? You can now obtain my 10,000 word ebook containing loads more social media insights, short-cuts, tips and advice aimed specifically at accountants. You can buy the book or download a summary for free here>>>

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Nine career related tips re accountants’ use of facebook

One of the talks I presented at Accountex in November 2012 was titled: Harnessing the power of social media for career success. Much of this talk was an adaptation of my more general articles, blogs and talks on social media. However, there were a number of completely new elements including some key tips re facebook – which I have summarised below.

Why, you might ask, did I reference facebook during the talk. Surely I would have focused on Linkedin – the online Business networking site. I did. But, the ubiquity of facebook means it is also worth thinking about what you can do here to aid your professional career.  I would stress that I start from the perspective that facebook really is more for ‘social’ use than for building business connections.  I am NOT a fan of the idea that anyone tries to become facebook friends with partners in firms of accountants or with the owners of businesses – unless you can see that they are clearly encouraging this through the way that THEY use facebook.  That won’t be very often.

For what it is worth I have over 2,400 connections on Linkedin and around 4,300 followers on twitter but fewer than 300 friends on facebook.  For me, it really is not a business focused medium. But I’m not looking to build my career so my experience and approach is not really relevant.  Which is why I DID cover facebook in my recent talk. Here are the nine tips:

  1. Make your facebook profile work for you – although not as formal as Linkedin, friends can still see the details you share about your current and previous roles and projects. Ensure that these paint a positive picture and evidence your specific expertise and any distinctive value that you offer.
  2. Be aware of who your ‘friends’ are – do you really know them ALL? Some may be old work colleagues or people with  whom you have lost touch. Any of them may be in a position to put you forward or to scupper your chances of getting your next dream role.
  3. Customise who can see your status updates – Whenever you post a status update you can decide which groups of friends can or cannot see it. You can also ensure that specific people should not see specific posts. You should always be aware that, unless you use this facility, your updates may be widely seen. Some of your updates may be best hidden from all but your closest friends!
  4. Take care over the job and career related updates that you post – Be especially careful if you are prone to complain about elements of your current role or employer. If you MUST post such updates you should really limit who can see them! More positively you may find that more distant friends may pick up on your availability, if you are between roles – as long as you are positive and upbeat.
  5. Resist the temptation to share too much too widely – This follows on from the above two points.  If you are employed you shouldn’t be posting updates to facebook more than two or three time during the working day. If you post updates too often it gives the impression that you are not focused on your work and that’s not a good impression to give if you want to progress your career.
  6. Check your privacy settings – Again this follows on from the above points.
  7. Check what your business ‘friends’ can see – As part of the ‘activity log’ facility you can check the impact of your privacy settings using the ‘View as…’ facility.
  8. Check the settings for every authorised app – You will probably want to limit the ability for apps to automatically post activity updates to your facebook timeline. Again , this is especially important if you find the time to ‘play’ during the working day. There may also be some apps and games that you would prefer your involvement to be kept confidential as reagards your ‘business’ ass0ciates.
  9. Send personalised messages to friends who may know people – You never know who might be able to make a valuable introduction to a potential employer, or  who might hear about the perfect job opening.  More an more employers are providing incentives to staff to provide leads to potential recruits. This can be much more cost effective than using recruitment consultants.

Many younger accountants will find nothing new in this list as they apply similar principles as regards the extent to which their parents can see what they are doing on facebook after they become ‘friends’. Equally some parents, who have been accepted as their children’s ‘friends’ on facebook, may wish to limit the extent to which their children can see what they (the parents) have been upto!

Like this post? You can now obtain my 10,000 word ebook containing loads more social media insights, short-cuts, tips and advice aimed specifically at accountants. You can buy the book or download a summary for free here>>>

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Ten ways accountants can network at conferences

With Accountex around the corner you might think this piece is aimed at accountants planning to attend what looks set to be the biggest and best exhibition and conference accountants have seen in the UK for many years.

It is. But the ten tips are equally applicable whenever you attend conferences for accountants and tax advisers.  I often wonder how many attendees make the most of the available networking opportunities?

Perhaps we should first clarify what we mean by ‘networking’ in this context. It is not simply chatting aimlessly with other delegates seated next to you or whom you bump into in the queue for tea or lunch. It also doesn’t mean cornering each of the speakers and embarrassing them into giving you free advice – whether or not this is related to the subject matter of their talks.

  1. Beforehand – Check out the programme or show guide and decide whether there is anyone speaking with whom you would like to grab 5 minutes. I’ve had it happen to me and I’ve done it to others. If you approach someone the right way you may even get to have a coffee/lunch with them on the day.
  2. Practice your replies to the most likely questions that the speakers and other delegates will ask you. And plan to move the conversation on from talking about the trains, venue, weather and your practice. For example: Why are you interested in a specific session or speaker? What have you found the biggest problem with HMRC recently? Are you doing anything specific to attract new clients? Or to help clients resist the lure of new accountants? If there’s a question you might want to ask, make sure you can answer the obvious rejoiner: “And what are you doing about it in your practice?”
  3. Make sure you will have some business cards with you (and that they are easily accessible in your pocket or handbag) but don’t pass them out unless someone asks for yours – or if you have an unusual name that people often mishear.
  4. Plan your travel arrangements so that you can arrive early and do not need to leave promptly.
  5. To get the most out of the networking opportunities, aim to arrive in time for the start of the registration period.
  6. During the talks, think about questions you can ask fellow delegates once you move beyond mere pleasantries. You might for example, want to know whether topics mentioned by speakers which are new to you, are also new to others. Have they already tried any of those things mentioned by the last speaker? What happens when you do that in practice? Strike up conversations with the people you are sitting close to, standing next to in queues and whom you see standing alone. They may be shy but otherwise just as interesting to talk with as anyone else. And they will probably appreciate your interest as long as you have decent conversational skills.
  7. Make a point of visiting the exhibition stands but, if you are not a decision make for your firm, try to avoid wasting the time of the people manning the stand. Of course if the stand is empty or the staff look especially lonely they may appreciate a cheery hello even if you are not a real prospect for them. And, anyway, you never know when you might be in the market for the services or products on offer.
  8. If you have a specific reason to follow up with people you meet, be open about this and ask for their business card. I make notes on the back of cards (where there is room) to remind me why I wanted them and what I have promised to do for each person. You could alternatively rely on your memory and ask if the other person is on Linkedin.
  9. I make it a point these days to check out most people I meet on Linkedin anyway. You can do the same after the event and ask them to connect with you. Make sure you personalise the connection request and mention where you met. This is good etiquette and likely to get more positive responses than simply sending the standard bland Linkedin connection request.
  10. Finally, if you are considering changing firms, you may find that you can find out more about how others operate by talking to fellow delegates. Do ensure that you avoid coming across as disloyal, desperate or boring. You never know who will be involved in the recruitment process. Fellow delegates may be in a position to help or to hinder your move.

PS: I have written a 10,000+ word book specifically for accountants who want to Network more effectively. Click here for full details>>>

If you would like to book me to speak on the subject at your in-house conference or training session, do get in touch. There’s an outline of my talk on ‘How to ensure your networking activity is successful’ here>>>  

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Five key tips if you are the subject of a complaint

I had the privilege of attending the ICAEW Support Members’ annual conference yesterday. I was there in my capacity as vice-chairman of the ICAEW Ethics Advisory Committee.

I thought it would be helpful to share a few of the learning points that may be of interest and value to accountants who find themselves the subject of a complaint.

The following five tips were shared by the Head of Investigation at ICAEW, but are, I’m sure, equally relevant to members of other bodies:

  1. Don’t bury your head in the sand; seek help and support early on**
  2. Focus on the facts
  3. Engage with your professional body when they approach you re a complaint
  4. Try to remove the emotion and address things as objectively as you can
  5. Explain any mitigating circumstances as early as possible

**Members of the ICAEW who are the subject of a complaint are welcome to take advantage of the Support Members’ scheme. Full details here: www.icaew.com/support  The volunteer team of support members are always on hand to act as a listening ear and offer non-judgmental assistance for working or retired members. The service provides free confidential advice to provide independent support for ICAEW members.

From personal worries about health, money or family to work-related concerns about professional ethics, regulation and discipline – support members are ready to listen.

The following ICAEW helplines are, perhaps, not as well known as they might be:

Support members
+44 (0)800 917 3526

Advisory helpline
+44 (0)1908 248 250

Library enquiry helpline
+44 (0)20 7920 8620

Free legal helpline
+44 (0)845 567 6003

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