Sandi Leyva Training Solutions for Accountants

October 16, 2013

Seven Quick Social Media Tips

Filed under: social media for accountants — 1o49d @ 4:00 am

It’s likely your friends and peers are urging you to get on the social media bandwagon.  Hearing about social media is unavoidable these days. We have many clients that feel stressed about the whole topic.  The stress or guilt comes in when they don’t really want to do it but their friends keep urging them too.

I like to take a contrarian view with social media:  I believe it’s NOT a cost-effective marketing tool for a majority of accountants.  Nevertheless, there are some very important exceptions where it can pay off big.  Here are some ideas just in case you can’t resist getting started in social media.

1-     Know your “why”

Before you start on any marketing channel, we recommend you take a step back and set some goals that you can measure against your investment of time and expenses.  What do you plan to accomplish with social media?  Some answers could be:

  • I want to connect with current clients so I can stay in touch
  • I want to grow my thought leadership position
  • I want to build an online following
  • I want to use social media ads for lead generation

With social media, it’s super-easy to come up with goals that feed the ego but don’t really do anything for your business.  If your business is struggling, be sure you don’t fall into the ego trap because it can be costly and de-rail other, more effective marketing efforts.  Goals like “reach 200 Twitter followers” do not add any profits to the bottom line.  You are better off using less expensive marketing methods than social media for lead generation.

Knowing your why, even if there are some intangible goals and non-business reasons involved, will help you get focused about what you want to accomplish with this channel.

2-     Choose one platform to start with

We recommend you start your social media marketing with one platform at a time, and LinkedIn is the hands-down choice for accountants.   LinkedIn offers far more than marketing benefits; you can meet peers, network for technical solutions, and use your profile as a mini-website that displays your experience, education and certifications, and recommendations.

Get started by spending time completing your LinkedIn profile, connecting with people, and asking for recommendations.  The time commitment is not small; we recommend you spend four to eight hours getting your profile completed and connecting with people.  Then we recommend at least an hour a week to keep it updated.   If you need a boost in your technology skills, you may want to add a few hours more for training so you can begin to get comfortable on these platforms.

3-     Interaction is essential

Marketing channels like email and a newsletter are good for broadcasting, but social media is designed to be interactive.    Plan to spend twice as much time or more listening and reading as you do posting.  You’ve heard it before:  we have two ears and only one mouth.   It’s pretty good advice all around.

To be interactive:

  • “Like,” share, and comment on other’s posts
  • Post thought-provoking questions to get people involved
  • Join groups where you can post discussions and start a conversation
  • Answer other’s questions
  • Let people know you enjoyed their blog or video
  • Make introductions to connect friends
  • Be generous with gratitude and praise:  Congratulate others and thank others when appropriate

4-     Automate

If you post regularly, automate it using a tool such as HootSuite.  You’ll still need to monitor your responses, but it will save a lot of time posting.

5-     You have to market the marketing

One of the downsides of social media is that you have to market it just like you market for clients.  You’ll need to account for the time and budget to build your social media accounts.  If not, you’ll be doing a lot of posting with not too many people listening.

We see a lot of abandoned accounts because people underestimate the time involved an overestimate the payback.  We recommend you go in with your eyes wide open or don’t go in at all.  An abandoned account makes you look like you can’t finish a project or can’t keep up with what you started.  If you have abandoned or inactive social media accounts, we recommend you delete them rather than keep them in hopes that one day you will get back to it.

6-     Getting personal can be powerful

Sharing non-controversial personal news is very effective.  Everyone loves seeing pictures of babies, pets, weddings, and vacations, so share liberally if you are comfortable doing so.

If you are using social media for business, consider avoiding posting strong opinions on religion, politics, and sex unless it’s somehow related to your business.  Opinions turn a lot of people off and will greatly narrow your chances to attract clients that disagree with you (unless that’s what you want).

7-     Keep your pitch ratio low

For every one “pitch” you post asking for business, you should post at least three value-added tips, quotes, or comments.  That way, you won’t come off too salesy, and you will have let your followers know what you have to offer.

Try these ideas in your social media, and send us an invite so we can connect.

October 14, 2013

10th Annual Stevie® Awards for Women in Business

SANDI SMITH LEYVA NAMED FINALIST IN
10th ANNUAL STEVIE® AWARDS FOR WOMEN IN BUSINESS

Stevie Award Winners to Be Announced in New York on November 8

Plano, TX – October 11, 2013 – Sandi Smith Leyva was named a Finalist in two categories – Maverick of the Year and Mentor/Coach of the Year in the 10th annual Stevie® Awards for Women in Business, and will ultimately be a Gold, Silver, or Bronze Stevie Award winner in the program.

The Stevie Awards for Women in Business honor women executives, entrepreneurs, employees and the companies they run – worldwide.  The Stevie Awards have been hailed as the world’s premier business awards.

Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Award winners will be announced during a gala event at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York on Friday, November 8.  Nominated women executives and entrepreneurs from the U.S.A and several other countries are expected to attend.

Sandi Smith Leyva, CPA and founder of Sandra L. Leyva, Inc., has introduced breakthrough change in the accounting industry by introducing several new products and services to boost the results of the smallest of accounting practices, those earning under half a million in revenue each year.  She has rolled out four new service lines in the past year, including Accelerator Website packages, a new JumpStart Your Accounting Startup program, outsourced CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) services for clients that want to turn everything over to Sandi’s team, and a workshop series.  Client comments include:  “If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have a business here today,”  “There seems to be no end to the benefits of your program,” “My income is up 25% over last year,” “Sandi Smith Leyva has helped me work more efficiently, grow my business, and increase profits!”

“For 10 years we have been recognizing the achievements of women in business, and this year’s nominations were the most impressive class the judges have ever reviewed,” said Michael Gallagher, founder and president of the Stevie Awards.  “We look forward to seeing the final judges’ decisions and honoring this year’s Stevie winners in New York next month.”

“What’s great about helping accountants change is that they can pass on the ideas they learned to each of their 200 (on average) small business clients, making a ripple effect of financial success across a large number of small businesses,” explains Ms. Leyva.

About Sandra L. Leyva, Inc.

Sandra L. Leyva, Inc. is a Texas corporation with offices in San Jose, CA and Plano, TX. Accountant’s Accelerator, a division of Sandra L. Leyva, Inc., is a marketing-focused practice growth program for CPAs, accountants, bookkeepers, tax preparers, and other self-employed accounting professionals who want to grow their practices. More than 450 members from 47 states and 6 countries have boosted their marketing skills, learned new revenue streams, and strengthened client retention.  Other divisions include Accelerator WebsitesUltimate Accounting vCon (a joint venture with Long for Success, LLC), BizBoost News, and BrainWays Training & Development.  Learn more at http://accountantsaccelerator.com/

About The Stevie Awards
Stevie Awards are conferred in five programs: the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, The American Business Awards, The International Business Awards, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service.  Honoring organizations of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Stevies recognize outstanding performances in the workplace worldwide.  Learn more about the Stevie Awards at www.StevieAwards.com.

October 11, 2013

Links I Like – 8

  1. Supreme Court to Decide Payroll Tax Issue on Severance Pay
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonynitti/2013/10/01/supreme-court-to-decide-whether-severance-payments-are-subject-to-fica-taxes/
  2. California Crackdown on Tax Evaders – Good for Business?
    http://www.mercurynews.com/california/ci_24260205/legislation-aims-crack-down-tax-evasion
  3. Xero Offers Free QuickBooks Conversion Service
    http://www.xero.com/us/convert
  4. Please take Intuit’s Rates Survey
    https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/intuitratesurvey

October 9, 2013

Is Your Chart of Accounts Stuck in the 1970s?

One of the value-added services we can offer clients is to align their chart of accounts with their tax form so that the numbers are easy to pull off at tax time.    But there’s an even bigger opportunity if we take a deeper look.

The traditional expense classifications on these forms are badly out of date.  For example, “Advertising” is listed, but “Marketing” is nowhere to be found.  Advertising and marketing are not the same!  Hardly anyone advertises anymore in our profession, but a lot of us market.  While we still need to comply with these forms, we need a different system if we are going to meet the needs of today’s startup businesses.

Changing With the Times

While the default charts of accounts provided with software are much more robust than our current tax forms, they still fall short.  Most haven’t changed since before the Internet.  Almost all haven’t changed for social media expenses.  They haven’t changed to account for cloud accounting costs.  They simply haven’t changed for a lot of new things we have expenses for now.

This disconnect provides accountants with a wonderful opportunity to custom-design a “modern” chart of accounts to meet the needs of today’s entrepreneurs.   My favorite area for improvement is, of course, accounting for marketing expenses.

Where Do Marketing Expenses Get Posted in Your Chart of Accounts?

When it comes to accounting for marketing expenses, I truly believe we need some big changes.  Where do you put business cards expenses?  Usually, it’s coded to office expenses or printing.  Where do you put the costs for a direct mail campaign?  Printing, postage, and professional fees (assuming you hired a graphics designer) contain these expenses.  Where do you put your social media expenses or the cost of your web site?  Since these expenses didn’t exist before most charts of accounts were designed, there might just be some changes that need to be made.

Shouldn’t you be able to see your marketing spend at a glance?

As both a CPA and a marketer, I want to know my total marketing spend at a glance.  I also want to know my selling spend.  That includes labor.  In addition to knowing my marketing spend, I want to know how much we’ve spent on each marketing channel as well as what it costs me to market each of our service lines.

Accountants that can answer those questions for their clients will be providing invaluable advice like a trusted advisor should.

October 8, 2013

Refer A Friend

We’re pretty jazzed to announce our new Accountant’s Accelerator 2014 Refer-A-Friend special offer.  We’d love for you to help us spread the word about our program.  And we think you should be rewarded for your efforts.

So here’s the offer:

  1. Tell your accountant friends about our program.  Your friend must be a new client, not an AA alum.  You can send them to http://fillyouraccountingpractice.com  or https://accountantsaccelerator.com/.  Be sure to show them the testimonials page:  http://accountantsaccelerator.com/testimonials/  We add new testimonials almost every week.
  2. Email your friend’s name and email address to support@sandismith.com with a subject line of “Refer-a-Friend,” and let us know you sent them.  We will not contact them directly.  We will not put them on any list.  You have our word on that.
  3. When their sale comes through, you’ll earn a $75 Amex Gift Card that we’ll mail to you.   You can earn multiple gift cards if you send us multiple new clients!

We do have a couple of rules:

  1. This program cannot be combined with our affiliate program.  Any new client coming through on an affiliate cookie will not qualify.
  2. Any marketing messages you send out on our behalf must be completely professional, with no pressure and no exaggerated promises.
  3. In case of conflicts, final judgment regarding this program and prizes awarded will rest with us.
  4. We hope to run this program for several weeks, but we reserve the right to end the program at any time.
  5. No purchase necessary.  Void where prohibited.  Etc. etc.

This offer starts today, so feel free to start spreading the word right away!

Thank you so much for being part of the Accountant’s Accelerator program.    We appreciate you.

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