Chartered Accountant and Fintech Specialist
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Why Clubhouse is shaking the accounting profession

It’s too early to know if Clubhouse will be here long term, but it has captured the zeitgeist. Accountants should sit up and pay attention to understand how it can potentially benefit their practice, writes Nick Levine.

1st Mar 2021
Chartered Accountant and Fintech Specialist
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The new social audio network Clubhouse has been gaining serious traction since the beginning of 2021. While it isn’t surprising to see journalists, investors, technologists and politicians as early adopters, the platform is also attracting many accountants. 

Clubhouse facilitates peer group networking for accountants, allowing individuals to build their own personal brands and engage with existing and potential clients. 

Clubhouse has instigated a land grab as users try to cement an early presence to gain a first-mover advantage and boost their follower audience. Similar to when Twitter first launched, users gain early advantage to leverage influence on the platform long term.

What is Clubhouse?

Clubhouse is an invite-only app, currently only available on Apple’s iOS, which first launched in 2020. To date, it has raised over $100m, with investors including Andreesen Horowitz, a venture capital firm that previously backed Facebook and Airbnb.

Invites are distributed to existing users who are given a few when they first sign up. Additional invites can be acquired through contributing to the platform by creating rooms and participating in conversations. Individuals who are desperate for an invite can buy one on eBay for around £5.

Clubhouse is a cross between talk radio, conference calls and podcasts. Users follow one another to listen in or contribute to conversations in rooms on various topics. Members of the audience can raise a virtual hand and be approved by one of the moderators to speak.

Users are incentivised to listen in as conversations are real-time and not recorded. Anyone on the app can start or schedule a room to have a conversation in, but creating a club (which is searchable on the app and can be followed) is more exclusive and requires users to have hosted a room on the same subject at least three times. 

Why is it building traction with accountants? 

The popularity of Clubhouse with early adopter accountants is linked to their entrepreneurial nature. Early cloud adopters such as Alastair Barlow, Della Hudson and Carl Reader signed up to Clubhouse to connect with companies and peers and create new business opportunities. 

They are representative of a broader movement of practitioners who are building innovative technology first accounting firms and are leveraging their own personal brands to stand out.

Business support and entrepreneurship are two of the most popular categories on the platform, so there is an engaged audience for accountants willing to impart their expertise and knowledge. 

Many leaders at cloud accounting software companies and add on partners have also signed up, including Xero co-founder and MD Gary Turner and Satago CEO Sinead Mchale.

“Being able to drop in and out of live conversations in this way is a really exciting innovation,” Turner told AccountingWEB. 

“It’s also been interesting listening to a few conversations about things like technology and entrepreneurship. It’s early days, and it needs to find its level, but I’m really interested to see how it develops.”

How can accountants use Clubhouse? 

flinder founder Alastair Barlow believes Clubhouse's audio nature makes it a more personable forms of social media and likens it to a modern-day speakers corner.

“If you have something of value to say, people will stop by and listen,” he added. “It facilitates more meaningful conversations, which seems to really help accountants get their value across much easier.”

Alongside co-founder flinder’s Luke Streeter, Barlow has created a weekly room on the topic of accountancy and may consider the idea of creating sector-specific rooms for potential clients if their initial endeavours prove successful. 

Fusion Consulting co-founder Mitch Young hosts regular “Mitch The Taxman” rooms, offering advice on all things tax-related. On average, around thirty people join the sessions, with the most popular topics being property and tax strategies ahead of proposed changing in the upcoming budget. 

“Ask Mitch The Taxman questions have always been popular on social media, so I thought I would test the water with Clubhouse,” commented Young. “I am just trying to give back and help as many people understand tax as possible while growing my following. This will naturally lead to new opportunities and relationships.” 

D&T Accountants chairman Carl Reader has been using Clubhouse as an extension of his social activities in the small business space and spends most of his time on the platform as a moderator.

His top tip for accountants is to “carve out focused time on the platform, allowing you to contribute far more effectively” rather than having it on in the background over the working day. 

The platform is also gaining popularity with accountants working in industry. The Accounting and Finance Tech club, co-hosted by Mindbridge founder Ai Solon Angel hosts events from women in accounting, private equity and AI. Rooms are attracting up to 150 guests from around the world and future planned guests include the former CFO of Shopify.

A skilled room moderator is key 

Minerva Accountants founder Della Hudson is undecided on whether the platform is well suited to accountants, many of whom she believes are introverts. Hudson asserts that the key to running a successful room is to have a moderator who gives everyone the chance to contribute.

“I’ve been into a number of rooms run by accountant and fintech friends around the world and enjoyed them, but with non-verbal cues missing,” she explained. “I think the key is to have a good MC and a clear agenda, so no single person dominates the conversation.”

While Clubhouse won’t be relevant for all accountants, it is worthwhile experimenting as social audio platforms look set to be here for the foreseeable future, with Twitter recently launching Twitter Spaces and Facebook rumoured to be building a direct rival to Clubhouse.

In part two of` Clubhouse for accountants, Nick Levine investigates key concerns arising with Clubhouse, including privacy, security and streaming issues.

Replies (16)

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ghm
By TaxTeddy
01st Mar 2021 15:49

I can't wait to engage with someone who has their own 'personal brand'. Very 1980s.

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By carnmores
01st Mar 2021 17:32

yada yada yada

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By wilcoskip
01st Mar 2021 18:06

Saw 'personal brand' mentioned. Stopped reading right there.

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bike
By FirstTab
01st Mar 2021 18:50

Another avenue to waste valuable time.

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By DaveyJonesLocker
01st Mar 2021 19:09

AccountingWeb, the advert site for professionals.

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Stepurhan
By stepurhan
02nd Mar 2021 08:09

I hope the second part of the article is less advertorial. If it just dismisses all the promised issues, saying how brilliant Clubhouse is at addressing them AWeb will have sunk to a new low.

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By janewanless
02nd Mar 2021 18:47
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By janewanless
02nd Mar 2021 18:47
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By janewanless
02nd Mar 2021 18:48
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Mark Lee 2017
By Mark Lee
03rd Mar 2021 10:21

Here's my take on Clubhouse. It seems to resonate with most of the accountants I know and work with: https://bookmarklee.co.uk/5-reasons-to-ignore-the-latest-shiny-distraction/

In that blog post I liken the attention being given to Clubhouse to that given to Google+ shortly after it was launched some years ago. I disagreed with the advocates that tried to get us all to embrace that new platform back then. Transpired I was right and Google+ is no more.

My reservations re Clubhouse may turn out to be unfounded but I still don't plan to spend time there yet. And I don't encourage my clients to do so either.

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Replying to bookmarklee:
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By johnjenkins
03rd Mar 2021 10:23

Mark, I'm impressed (I'm not being facetious). It's good to know that you are treating all this gimmickry stuff trying to get into the Accounting profession with the caution it deserves.

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Replying to johnjenkins:
By Nick Graves
03rd Mar 2021 12:04

One would have thought that the cancel culture had learned people hard about what's really behind antisocial media, but apparently not.

I shall stick to proper web-platforms such as this for real information and accept that it is largely being financed by selling snake oil.

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Replying to johnjenkins:
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By MartinJG
03rd Mar 2021 12:53

What's left of the accounting profession. Let's just say standards are not quite what they once were. It's all just a bit too touchy feely these days :)

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Replying to MartinJG:
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By johnjenkins
03rd Mar 2021 15:01

I don't think the Accounting profession has changed it's the people and banks (bank streaming etc.) that think they are Accountants that have multiplied which is contributing to the lowering of standards. Look across the world and you can see standards have dropped enormously to what a lot of us have been brought up on. As technology increases at a fast pace we need time to play catch up. High Techies are immune to standards as they are blinkered. As generations change people will find their own balance which suits their way of living.

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By BryanS1958
03rd Mar 2021 16:06

I'm shaking in my boots.

The last thing I need is another media distraction.

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Brand and strategic digital marketing consultancy
By philippa101
04th Mar 2021 13:22

As a brand and marketing consultant I should be totally on Clubhouse from the get go. But equally I believe in quality over quantity so jumping on the next bandwagon never sits well with me.

I do have a pass, I was given one and didn't ask for one so I've had a dip in. I like the idea of listening in sometimes but tbh the key counsel I could give is develop a plan and stick to it. Scattergun will help no-one

From what I see of the article, Della Hudson is giving it a cautious try which rings true with me.

Is it good for accountants? Depends on their personality, their brand and what their goals are. Some will love it (being more extrovert) and others will be more cautious. Horses for courses

Maybe it's a good opportunity to listen in without contributing. It's not Zoom, it's not a webinar so it's easy to listen in and get on with something else

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