The new No. 1 reason CPAs should be using social media is to keep their L >= C — to keep their rate of learning greater than the rate of change. Period.
Yes, marketing and branding are great reasons to use social media. Increased communication to customers and employees is another great reason. But I would suggest learning is the next big thing with social media.
CPAs are in the knowledge business and their “inventory” is becoming obsolete faster than ever. Formal training events are not adequate to stay up with the profession alone, much less than their client's or their organization's industries. Social media can be a powerful value-added filter that can help you stay ahead of the waves of change.
Here at CPA Success, Bill and I have been exploring how social media can be used as a powerful tool to keep up with change and to out-learn your competition. Think about L>C, where C = competition. Do you need to stay ahead of your competition?
Jane Hart outlines eight ways people can work smarter in her blog post titled, Social Media and the Smart Worker. I think this explains what I mean by using social media to out-learn your competition. Here they are:
- Recognizes that s/he learns continuously as s/he does his/her job.
- Wants immediate access to solutions to his/her performance.
- Is happy to share what he/she knows.
- Relies on a trusted network of friends and colleagues.
- Learns best with and from others.
- Keeps up-to-date with what is happening in his/her industry or profession.
- Constantly strives to improve his/her productivity.
- Thrives on autonomy.
Here is my take on why CPAs should be embracing social media:
Along the way, we have found some kindred spirits leading this new frontier who have inspired us to explore and report to you what we are finding — Jane Hart and Clarke Quinn and the Internet Time Alliance, and Marcia Connor and Tony Bingham and Jane Bozarth, to name a few. And we can't forget Debbie Weil, our blog coach who got us started.
You can get more information and real-life examples (including Twitter handles for these thought leaders) from our post titled, Can social media help you learn?.
Here are some resources to get you started, including interviews and posts with these thought leaders:
- Keeping up with change through social media (a JofA interview)
- Click and mortar: A revolution is coming to learning
- How to leverage social media (from the Journal of Accountancy)
- Making social media work for you (a JofA video)
- The risks of ignoring social media (Bill Sheridan interview)
- Better learning through mobile (an interview with Clarke Quinn of the Internet Time Alliance)
- CPA Learning 2, a self-guided tutorial for CPAs about social media
Books worth reading on social learning and working smarter:
- Social Learning Handbook, by Jane Hart
- Working Smarter Fieldbook | September 2010 Edition, by the Internet Time Alliance
- Social Media for Trainers: Techniques for Enhancing and Extending Learning (Essential Tools Resource)
- Podcast with Tony Bingham, co-author of The New Social Learning: A Guide to Transforming Organizations Through Social Media
Learn more with training from our Business Learning Institute:
- Social Media Strategy and Quick Start: Developing and Implementing a Social Media Strategy for CPA Firms and Organizations
- Social Media for Accountants: Tools and Strategy
- CPAs and Social Media: Passing Fad or Valuable Tool?
Contact Pam Devine at the Business Learning Institute for information on how to bring these to your organization.
If your organization is struggling with how to safely spread social media in their organization, start with a good policy. Here is ours, adopted form best practices and linked to the CPA Code of Conduct (and you should link to your firm/organization's vision, mission and values).
So what do you think? Can you use social learning to keep your L > C?