By Jim Wong, CPA | June 2, 2014

Admit it. You balk, p-shh, and eye-roll at the mere mention of social media, especially when told it can help your career. For those of you in the accounting, finance, or IT professions, you probably think Facebook is for complaining; Twitter is for college kids; and Insta-what? Yeah, that’s useless, too. Right? Wrong.

The power of popular social media platforms isn’t becoming mainstream. It’s already became so, and its usefulness has moved beyond the elective standpoint. It’s now considered to be an essential part of your profession. If you don’t take advantage of these social platforms, I’d say, you’re seriously missing out.

What Can it Do For You?
For starters, most accounting, finance, and IT departments work behind the scenes and aren’t considered the face of a company by any means. With social media, these departments can have a voice, too. Whether it’s engaging with other professionals by answering Q & As, seeking industry news, or pushing out opinions on the latest trends, platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and even YouTube have a special place for you. With more than 1 billion users on Facebook, and 300 million and 200 million on LinkedIn and Twitter, respectively, one could argue that many people just can’t be wrong. There is inherent value.

How Does It Work? 
Well, with the immediacy in which these social channels work, industry news, job opportunities, new regulations, emerging trends, and key information is constantly being pushed out in real-time, for you to take advantage. Listening to what’s happening on these channels is just as important as posting your own updates. And, if you’re a little leery as to how you post and use these channels, the platforms are user friendly and intuitive. It’s as easy as typing and hitting send.

A recent article from Forbes says, “(Social media) can offer accounting and finance teams a better way to become more relevant, more involved, and a trusted advisor to the rest of the business.”

And according to IDG, “Nine out of 10 IT professionals say they visit at least one social or business networking site monthly.” The research goes on to explain, “IT professionals are doing more than simply updating their Facebook status. 28% of IT professionals are using social or business networking sites to share IT-related news, blogs, product information, or tactical/how-to resources with peers.”

Where to Start?
While most accounting, finance, and IT professionals seem comfortable with a LinkedIn profile—and that’s a great start—an easy next step may be to venture onto Twitter. Accounting Management Solutions, Inc. published 10 Social Media Tips for Finance Professionals noting that Twitter is not only useful, but the easiest of the social platforms, not to mention the least time consuming.

Be Smart.
You must attack social media as you would anything, with a plan. The Milwaukee Business Journal points out, “Professionals such as accountants&#8230 special challenges in social media because they want to maintain a trustworthy image and they deal with sensitive information.”

To help address these concerns, Iron Mountain outlines some important factors to consider before posting your first status update or tweet—and I agree with them. Ask yourself:

  • What type of social media content constitutes a record?
  • What are the potential liabilities of noncompliance?
  • How can we inform and train colleagues about our archiving strategy?

Overall, social media is as powerful as it is useful. Just remember to be smart and develop guidelines.

To see how Brilliant™ manages its social media landscape, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+, and be sure to keep up with ‘A Brilliant Blog’ every week!

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