Is blogging good for business if you’re an accountant?

You’ve probably seen those articles advocating how everyone in business should be blogging. How applicable is this advice to accountants in practice? asks Mark Lee.

The key question

Nikki Pilkington’s otherwise excellent article for AccountingWEB in 2010 (‘Do blogging and accountancy really mix?’) missed the key question: Is blogging a worthwhile activity for accountants in the first place?

My answer is “Yes, it ‘could’ be”. But on a case-by-case basis the answer depends on whether the blogging accountant has any clarity of purpose. Nikki’s focus was on whether accountants ‘could’ get readers to keep coming back for more. You have to start though by determining why you might want to start blogging in the first place.

Continued...

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Comments
carnmores's picture

well

carnmores | | Permalink

i am completely underwhelmed Mark

i love the the way you started.....  otherwise excellent article......missed the key point.....my answer yes it could be...

 

oh dear oh dear oh dear 

bookmarklee's picture

I don't understand.

bookmarklee | | Permalink

carnmores wrote:

oh dear oh dear oh dear 

Sorry. What do you mean?

memyself-eye's picture

I think the clue was in 'underwhelmed'

memyself-eye | | Permalink

Like 'Facebook' and 'Twitter' it's all a bit sad really.

None of my clents have the time to show off a 'blog' not least from their accountant!

bookmarklee's picture

In which case I'm sorry you missed my underlying message

bookmarklee | | Permalink

Blogging works for me but I'm far less convinced it's worthwhile for accountants.

But I'm willing to be persuaded to the contrary though only by accountants who find it's working for them. Not by marketing and blogging experts who claim accountants 'could' benefit from blogging.

Mark

Ray Stewart's picture

Thanks Mark and YES...

Ray Stewart | | Permalink

I only found out today that Mark had written this article quoting me and my website.

Firstly, thank you Mark.  

Secondly, I cannot understand why more accountants don't blog.  It is a simple and cheap way to keep an interaction going with clients all year round, gives clients a point of reference if they want to refer a friend, and shows them I still care about business, tax and people. I have had accusations (from other accountants) that I cheapen advice for all as I give the posts away for free.  However, my feeling is that I would rather give people a reliable source of information than have them trawling the entire internet, with all the mis-information we all know is out there, and taking what they find on all sites as truth for decision making.  I have never answered a specific, technical, query in a blog; I have stuck to what I regard as mainstream stuff that (I feel) clients shouldn't have to pay me for.

It is to my eternal shame that I haven't updated the blog part of the site since May 2011.  I won't bore you with the reasons why I stopped for a while but I can tell you that a review of the statistics show that the flow of interested new parties has slowed.  It could be the holidays, the recession, or any number of hundreds of reasons, but it is noticeable.

I have now built up a bank of questions that clients have raised in the last few months that I feel would make interesting reading generally so I really need to get writing again if only for that reason.  I regard blogging as a cheap exercise as I write the blogs in the evenings when the TV is on so I don't use chargeable time for it.  I am well aware that not everyone shares that view and the time cost of writing has been the main objection offered when I have asked the question of other accountants I come across - why don't you blog??

As with everything in business, before you dismiss me as a weird accountant and blogging as a waste of time, why not test it for yourself.  Write some articles and ask clients for their opinion - you may be surprised at the reaction.  I was - that is why I did/do it!

memyself-eye's picture

I understand that

memyself-eye | | Permalink

The numbers of people 'interacting' (if that's the correct phrase) on social media web sites is decreasing, as folks begin to realise that talking/arguing/laughing/ face to face rather than 'facebook to facebook' is the normal human condition.

Maybe my clients are just too small to be 'boverred' with all this interweb stuff - I see enough folks in the pub (the original and best 'blogging' site) who, when in company, spend all their time glued to smartphones.

Sorry, not for me. It's not an accountant thing, I just loath the whole premise.

 

bookmarklee's picture

I wonder where you get your information    1 thanks

bookmarklee | | Permalink

memyself-eye wrote:

I understand that the numbers of people 'interacting' (if that's the correct phrase) on social media web sites is decreasing,

Most of the data I see suggests the contrary. For example there are statistics that sugest that more people are engaged with social media than in any other activity on the web. It's more popular than gaming, shopping, porn and gambling.

Having said that I question the validity of all such assertions as so many are determined by reference to the USA. I'm not sure it's equally true here. I understand that the level of interest in facebook may be reducing but that's only one site and not a good indicator of what's happening across social media websites.

Incidentally, commenting on AccountingWeb articles, as we are doing here, counts as 'interacting on social media websites' so it's more widespread than you seem to think. Goodness me, you even do it yourself! ;-)

And now, back to the blogging topic.....

Mark

Change is on the horizon

razia | | Permalink

I work for an accounting body and I have to say the comments so far completely reflect the level of engagement I have seen in Social media amongst our members. On one end of the scale you have members using a number of social media sites to promote their businesses and engage their clients and on the other end you have those who still have no email address!

Saying that, I am confident, change is coming, especially as we move more and more processes online; whether that means online examinations or just moving all resources and reference material online, it should help affect a change in attitudes toward social media.

carnmores's picture

well mark

carnmores | | Permalink

i certainly agree  with your last post :-)

Copying blogged material?

John Snowden | | Permalink

As we are all 'here', particularly Mark, I noticed the other day that an accountant had lifted an entire post of Mark's and posted it himself on his own website blog. He did attribute it, but I then noticed another posting which looked pretty much also lifted from Mark, though maybe that was abridged a little; that one was not attributed.

I can't help wondering what the ethics and legalities are around copying electronic publications in such a way.

bainbridgelewis's picture

We write a regular blog aimed

bainbridgelewis | | Permalink

We write a regular blog aimed at small and start up businesses offering what we think are useful tips and advice. Generally this is centred around what is and isn't tax deductible and guides to help people starting up. We find that it attracts people to our website and from comments we get on Twitter it seems appreciated.

I think that you need to understand the businesses that you are aiming to work with and certainly in Brighton and Hove they are very much into their social media. We feel that not engaging in this way would therefore be a mistake.

Thanks for the article Mark it certainly is interesting to read others thoughts on the subject. 

Your blog

TimGraham50 | | Permalink

@ bainbridgelewis.

Yours looks a very nice website and that seems a good use of blogging. But can I ask - do you do it primarily for clients as part of the service; or is your website and blog aimed at new prospects? And if so, have you gained many clients directly from the website?

Thanks.

Chawlaaandco's picture

we use blogging & it is worthwhile.

Chawlaaandco | | Permalink

We use blogging as a tool to spread awareness of the latest trends and changes in the field of accountancy and tax. In this way, we can keep general public informed of any important developments and information that they might need to be aware of. In addition, sometimes the readers might need further explanation or advice on specific topics, to which they can easily get answers through this platform. Aside from this, blogging is also a very useful tool for marketing purposes. You can visit our accountancy and taxation blog on our website and on other popular blogging networks.