Ten things accountants should never do with social media

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If you are the sort of accountant who has no interest in social media then please don’t bother reading this article, explains Mark Lee. It’s not for you. It’s for those accountants who have been experimenting with social media. Indeed, it will be of special value to accountants who have been disappointed by their experiences.

You will not be alone if you started out with unrealistic expectations, or misunderstood how social media works. Do let us know in the comments below.

I have been enjoying my use of social media for some years now. And I’ve been writing and speaking about accountants’ use of social media for almost as long. A little while back I was described as “probably the most socially networked accountant in the UK”. I remain very active.

Here then are 10 things I suggest that accountants should never do...

Register with AccountingWEB to read the rest of the article, which includes:

  • 1. Do not expect very much to happen without a plan
  • 2. Do not expect to win new clients quickly
  • 3. Do not assume anyone is interested in your practice on social media
  • 4. Do not believe what you read in the general media
  • 5. Do not believe everything that social media ‘experts’ tell you
  • 6. Do not chase random followers all over the world
  • 7. Do not focus on broadcasting promotional messages
  • 8. Do not forget how much time social media can consume
  • 9. Do not ‘outsource’ your social media activity
  • 10. Do not confuse social media metrics with what really matters

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About Mark Lee

Mark Lee works almost exclusively with savvy sole practitioners who want more out of their practice.  More clients, more money, more time, more satisfaction - or everything!

An accountant by profession, Mark moved away from the provision of professional advice in 2006.   He is now a professional speaker, mentor, facilitator, author and debunker.

Mark Lee is a realist and regularly debunks myths and hype related to his areas of interest and expertise.  His keynote talk for audiences of accountants is How to STAND OUT and be more than 'just another accountant'.

Mark is passionate about helping accountants generally so is a keen blogger and commentator in the accounting and tax press. He is consultant practice editor of AccountingWEB and has written hudnreds of articles here that have been viewed over a million times.

Check out how he could help you here: www.BookMarkLee.co.uk/savvy

Mark stopped giving tax advice himself despite being a past Chairman of the Chartered Accountants’ Tax Faculty. He is however Chairman of the Tax Advice Network - the UK's highest ranked lead generation website for tax advisers and accountants. The network also publishes a weekly practical tax update for accountants in general practice and full tax support, on demand too.  You can also use it as a lead generation resource for local people seeking tax advice from an accountant.

Mark has extensive network reach through his blogs, talks, social media activity, articles and his regular newsletters that go to thousands of accountants every week.


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20th May 2013 15:33

Well timed!
This is exactly what I was looking for.

Thank you.

Thanks (1)
21st May 2013 11:59

Valuable what not to do's

Helpful comments for me (a marketing assistant within a firm of accountants) to consider when posting updates in the future. Thank you.

Thanks (1)
By cathyne
21st May 2013 12:20

I was sceptical

And I probably still am. Mark you are so right to bring us all back down to earth, as I don't believe social media is the new quick marketing fix. I do believe it is one of a number of useful tools within the big marketing strategy picture.  I write as one who is starting up from scratch. I have to keep a strict eye on the money, and make sure that not a penny is wasted, particularly on fruitless advertising.

Thanks (1)
21st May 2013 12:27

Cheers @cathyne

The thing is that some people see social media as a low/zero cost approach to advertising so it's tempting when money is tight.  BUT what really counts is whether the time you spend on social media would be more productive if invested on more focused and targetted forms of marketing.


Thanks (0)
09th Jun 2013 11:51

A very good article!

An excellent article, Mark - well done.

I would add to this article, that social media used as part of your networking strategy can be a real winner. 

Of course, this feeds into point number 1 - have a plan. If you don't have a plan for how you will generate work via your network and networking activity, adding social media into the mix is not going to help. In fact, it will make it worse, as it will be another interesting way to waste time.

The questions you want to ask are simple:

1) Who do I need to meet to win new clients?

2) Who are the people who are well connected to my ideal client?

3) What is an easy way to meet these people? (This is where social media can be really helpful)

4) How will I take the contact offline when I meet them online?


Thanks (0)
11th Jun 2013 21:41

Help on accounting treatment

Dear all,

Please could someone suggest the correct accounting treatment to the following question:

1. Company A is a charity which is not subject to Corporation Tax.

2. Company A decides to provide £10,000 to individual(s) and/or other organization(s) to run a  charitable project which is relevant and beneficial to Company A.

3. This project may run over several financial year. There is no time restriction to complete the project.

4. All unused grant on completion of the project are to be returned to Company A.

5. Questions:-  With the possibility of unused grant being returned to Company A on the completion of the project, what is the best way to show the 'Grant Given' in the Profit and Loss account ?

MY VIEW:  Based on the concept of prudence I would assume that the entire £10,000 should be declared and written off as a cost in the year of the outlay even if the project runs over a few years. This argument is strengthend by the fact that as there is no time constraint on project completion it is impossible to distribute the writeoff of the expenses into various financial years.

My concern is when at the completion of the project there is a residue of unspent funds of say £1000 which is to be returned to the coffer of Company A. How does this 'incoming funds' be treated based on the above?

To add another complexity into the foregoing hypothesis let us suppose Company A offers £10,000 of grant every year for a different project. Let us suppose we are in year 3 since the inception of the first grant, and at year 3, the first project comes to a completion with a residue of £1,000. In other words, bearing in mind that as there is an outlay of £10,000 Grant Given in Year 3, could or should the £1,000 returning grant be setoff against the third-year-Grant which would result in a net outlay of £9,000 being shown in the Profit and Loss account? Or should the returned grant be shown separately as a concept of an income as part of the incoming resources - this idea appears to be incorrect as it is not an 'real incoming resources' or could it actually be defined as such ?

Please could anyone shed some light and discuss what is the best way to treat the initial outlay of the grant, how to treat the returned grant, should there be a setoff between the returned earlier grant against subsequent grant for totally different projects, should there be a distribution of each grant outlays (would be impossible to do without knowing the duration of the life of the project unless some Einstein on here has cracked the problem of time-travel) ?

Thank you.

Cowboy Accountant.

11 June 2013








Thanks (0)
By Locutus
13th Jun 2013 14:44

@ Cowboy Accountant

This is the wrong place to ask a question.  Try re-posting it in "Any Answers".

Thanks (1)
14th Jun 2013 16:15

This is very interesting as it was just today that I decided to give Twitter a go.

@johnlharris65 if you want to have a look.

I think I have already fallen into the trap of getting a bit too excited with followers etc.

If anyone has any more tips and advice that would be wonderful.

Thanks (0)
to Ruddles
14th Jun 2013 17:36

More tips and advice

j.harris wrote:

If anyone has any more tips and advice that would be wonderful.

Hi John

You'll find loads more tips and advice for accountants wanting to use twitter here.


Thanks (0)
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