Ah, technology. We love it, we hate it, but any way you look at it, in our virtual culture, one thing is for sure: We need it. That's especially true when it comes to attracting the best and brightest into the accounting profession.
Firms seeking to add younger staff to their ranks may want to consider taking a good, hard look at their Web site to make sure it's hip, fresh and up with the times. And if your firm doesn't have one, you may want to reconsider your strategy.
Jeff Stimpson, senior reporter for our sibling publication, Practical Accountant, wrote about this topic for Accounting Tomorrow and found that firms are all doing different things to make their Web sites more fun and valuable to potential candidates.
For example, the recruiting section of East Brunswick, N.J.-based Wilkin & Guttenplan's site features "What We Have to Say" - recordings of staff talking about their experiences at the firm. They also created an interactive quiz that introduces would-be interns to the firm.
Minneapolis-based Froehling Anderson provides video testimonials from both partners and staff on its site, as well as an accounting quiz. "We're trying to make our site a resource for students: how to interview, tips on resumes, and other subjects," explained Laurie Simonson, director of operations for the firm. "Our next step is to use Facebook or blogging."
Speaking of Facebook, when several younger staffers were polled at Plante & Moran, they told the firm's HR directors "unequivocally that they did not want potential employers viewing their Facebook sites, as they were used for social interaction only."
As a result, the firm is looking into creating a "fan" page on Facebook that would allow recruits to interact with the firm, and also at using blogs and instant messaging in recruiting.
On the flip side, my colleague here at Accounting Tomorrow, Alexandra DeFelice, asked if people are getting a return on investment by using various social networking sites.
In other words, is it worth it?
She perhaps answered her own question from the responses she received by posting the question on Accounting Tomorrow's social networking sites - Facebook and Twitter - and pointed to her favorite from Wayne Schulz, a business and technology consultant. "Will Twitter bring in clients? Probably not," Schulz wrote on our Facebook wall. "Will a combination of Twitter, Facebook and a good newsletter? Now you're thinking."
Here's a sampling of posts:
* College graduates don't have a lot to look forward to these days, especially with unemployment at a 25-year high and employers expecting to hire 22 percent fewer graduates this year than last. In an effort to help new grads build a strong financial foundation, the Ohio Society of CPAs offers the latest in its college podcast series with advice on career options and tax tips, among other audio wisdom.
* Ira Solomon, who heads the Department of Accountancy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was honored with the American Institute of CPAs' 2009 Distinguished Achievement in Accounting Education Award. Solomon has been publicly lauded for helping to bring more doctoral candidates into the profession's pipeline.
This column runs in conjunction with www.accountingtomorrow.com, a Web site dedicated to the intergenerational dynamics taking place in accounting firms today. We are still accepting submissions, so keep them coming! Send your opinions and ideas to us at tomorrow
And, of course, don't forget to friend us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
(c) 2009 Accounting Today and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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