Social media: The new frontier, by Christi Hillegass

Social media is becoming ever more popular in today's society. It is a method used by many to make their names known, including President Obama during his campaign in 2008. The progress Social Media has made over the past decade is astounding; it has gone from a tool used by Gen Y to get in touch with friends or share pictures to a new tool used by Baby Boomers and the like to rekindle lost relationships. Many wonder what is next. For accountants, the answer seems to lie in the trifecta of recruiting new employees, marketing to enhance the client base, and networking with other accounting intellectuals.

The Big Four have Facebook fan pages, podcasts, and other social media methods of getting their name out there and allowing future collegiate graduates, or potential future employees, access to information about who they are as a firm. Firms both big and small must get their names on these websites in order to gain the best and the brightest employees. As the world population keeps getting larger, social media, like globalization, allows people and companies across continents to get to know each other, making the world seem a little smaller. Young students in Asia, many of whom learn English at an early age, can now hop on Facebook and learn about America's accounting firms and maybe one day work for them. This easy connection to the other parts of the world will allow accounting firms to recruit people in an easier way that was not possible ten year ago.

Not only is social media good for recruiting, but it is also good for marketing purposes. Free press that the company can control is a great asset. When a business needs an accounting firm, they can Google accountants in their area or check LinkedIn or Facebook. This wide accessibility of information about their firms can only help good firms become great firms by gaining a stronger and larger client base. It will soon almost be a requirement for an accounting firm to join the masses on these social media sites.

Through podcasts, firms not only get their name out there for recruits and clients, but they can also network with other firms and accounting intellectuals. By doing this, they can share ideas with people they do not interact with on a daily basis. Through social media, firms can learn from each other. As the accounting field is an ever-evolving one where continuing education is a must, accountants can now play off of each other's knowledge base in order to gain a greater understanding of regulations and codes. The new legislations and codes we by Congress and FASB can become podcast debate topics. The networking possibilities are endless.

Social media, something that used to be considered a complete waste of time, is quickly becoming a pivotal party in the recruitment, marketing, and networking process. Firms must become part of this arena in order to survive in the future accounting world.

About the author:

Christi Hillegass of Atlanta, Georgia, a junior attending the University of Georgia working towards a bachelor's degree in accounting. She chose to study accounting because she has always enjoyed numbers and solving problems, and wanted to pursue a career in a business field. She also hopes that a background in accounting will open doors in the business world. She plans on getting her masters in accounting at UGA and pursuing a career in public accounting. She also is interested in travel and hopes to work abroad.

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