Stacie Saunders Feed

Stacie Saunders

Strategist, Social Media and Member Engagement
American Institute of CPAs

Stacie leads and guides the AICPA’s social media strategy and has oversight of the Institute’s social networking properties. A 10-year media veteran, Stacie took her marketing efforts into the social space in 2009, creating one of the largest social media presences in the country for a local television station.

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Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Come Together and Others Don't

I am live blogging from the 2013 Digital CPA Conference taking place in D.C., today and tomorrow. Today's live blog is covering Simon Sinek's keynote, Start with Why. Simon is an author and leadership expert. The keynote includes a panel of experts from the CPA profession, including:

  • Tom Hood, CPA, CGMA, CEO Maryland Association of CPAs
  • Rick Solomon, CPA, CGMA, Chief Executive Officer, RAN ONE Americas
  • Rene Lacerte, CEO, Bill.com
  • Chris Ekimoff, CPA, Manager, Investigative Accounting and Financial Litigation, Hilton Worldwide

The best way for a team to confront danger to not only survive but to thrive is...together. When the conditions in our organizations are right, we naturally trust each other and cooperate. But when leaders neglect the environment in which their people must work, politics, silos, cynicism and self-intrest prevail; all things that make it even more difficult for us to work together. The best leaders know how to build those conditions and the best organizations are the ones in which the people work together to confront danger and seize opportunities. And the best part is that these "best conditions," seem to mimic the conditions in which we lived 50,000 years ago. Simon will explain what it takes to create a culture in which people work as they were designed - together. It is under these conditions we are at our natural best. (Email subscribers can view the live blog on our website.)

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Help! I Have a Bad Review on Yelp

This week I had the pleasure of discussing social media with CPAs at a CPAConnect meeting in Nashville, TN. At the end of our session, a gentleman approached me with a very interesting question: “What do you do when you get a negative review on Yelp?”

YelpYelp is a website with local search, social networking and discounted deal content. The site includes business listings, directory information, and user generated reviews. Yelp is increasingly popular for people seeking services, including CPAs. Not sure if anyone has reviewed you or your firm? Do a simple search on the site to find out.

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A Business Case for Women in Your Organization

In my final live blog from the Women's Global Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., we look at the business of women’s initiatives and the importance of linking your efforts to strategic imperatives for alignment and buy-in. Panelists for this session, "Finding the Right Balance: A Business Case for Women in Your Organization," include:

  • Michael Bach, CCDP/AP, founder and CEO, Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion, Canada
  • Mary Bennett, MBA, CIA, CEC, chair of AICPA Women’s Initiatives Executive Committee, founder, MLBennett Consulting LLC, Asheville, NC
  • Todd R. Mitchell, CPA, CGMA, CEO Solutions LLC, Greer, SC

Mary Bennett is an expert in helping the accounting industry build business-focused initiatives relative to retaining and developing women. She has helped hundreds of firms in the U.S. and Canada to understand their business reasons for investing in these efforts. Male and female partners and managers in these firms come to understand the myths and misperceptions about “women’s initiatives.” They begin to understand where the real business risks are and what their specific scenario indicates in terms of strategy application. (Email subscribers can read the live blog on our website.)

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Engage in New Opportunities and Challenges

Kicking off day two of the Women's Global Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. is Edie Weiner, president of Weiner, Edrich, Brown Inc. The global economy is fundamentally changing and, with it, much of what we have learned about the world we live in. It is difficult to escape from the mental anchors that hold us at bay in yesterday’s world, yet as professionals, women and potential leaders, we have to work on changing our perspectives and becoming engaged in the new opportunities and challenges we face. Join me as I live blog today's keynote session as our resistance to change is exposed and we open up to the world of change that is emerging. (Email subscribers can read the live blog on our website.)

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Katty Kay on Womenomics: Women in the Workplace

Katty Kay, Lead Anchor, BBC World News America, and co-author of Womenomics: The Workplace Revolution That Will Change Your Life, is the keynote speaker for day one of the Women's Global Leadership Summit taking place Oct. 24 to 25 in Washington, D.C. I am live blogging from her keynote session, "Womenomics: A New Path to Business Success." (Email subscribers can read the live blog on our website.)

At the 2013 World Economic Forum in Davos, International Monetary Fund Chief Christine Lagarde called the advancement of women the greatest economic opportunity of our time. She is recognizing what Kay calls “womenomics” — the extraordinary value of women in the workforce. Global studies show that companies that employ more senior women make more money. They have more degrees and are ideally suited to the demands of our talent-driven economy. But to keep them in the economy, the workplace must adapt to their needs. Too many women in their mid-30s hit the brick wall of kids vs. career. But we cannot afford to keep losing them. Kay marshals evidence from employers large and small to show how possible it is to satisfy the demands of family and career. Flexible work schedules prove to be a win-win; when companies take the clocks off the wall and choose to measure output instead of input, they see productivity rise by an average of 40%. What starts as talent retention becomes a profit bonus any company would be happy to have. She gives an inspirational boost to women and a practical guide to employers, drawing on her own juggles as the working mother of four children. This presentation provides research- and experience-based advice to companies looking to retain and recruit valuable female employees.

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EXTRA! EXTRA! Meet the Brains Behind @AICPANews

Hello_my_name_isAICPANewsTwitter has increasingly become the go-to place for industry news. Recently I sat down with James Schiavone, AICPA media relations manager and the brains behind the @AICPANews Twitter account, to discuss what he has learned from managing this thriving social media channel.

Q) The @AICPANews account was stated in March of 2009. More than 3,500 tweets and 17,000 followers later, what have you learned?

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SlideShare: An Introduction for CPAs

SlideShare is a slide deck hosting service that is gaining a lot of ground (and traffic) in the Web 2.0 space. Sometimes referred to as “the YouTube for slideshows,” SlideShare is a valuable source of information on just about everything.

Using SlideShare to find something.

If you are a visual person like I am, you may learn information much easier when it is presented in the format of simple slides with images than you would by reading an article or whitepaper. From XBRL to using social media for business, SlideShare has a vast array of content valuable to CPAs.

How do you find the content? Simply go to SlideShare and enter your search term.

Search for any topic on SlideShare

You can also follow users or presenters to see any content he or she uploads regardless of topic.

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Social Media: Time Sink or Productivity Booster?

During a recent live chat about social media on the AICPA Facebook page, we asked participants, “Do you think social media is a time sink?” 50 percent said, “No,” and the other 50 weren’t so sure.

Time Sink graph

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In the News: Tax Breaks on Home Sales

Home-saleJust yesterday, The National Association of Realtors announced that its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed last month, increased 6.7 percent to 112.3, the highest level since December 2006.

With many people considering placing their home on the market, a timely Wall Street Journal article examined the taxes and tax breaks available when selling a home. According to Melissa Labant, director of taxation at the AICPA, these rules can be complicated and people often misunderstand or don’t take full advantage of the benefits available.

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7 Tips to Help Others Find Your Videos on YouTube

Youtube_logoThere are tens of thousands of hours of video being uploaded into YouTube every day. Don’t let the hard work you put into producing a video for your firm or practice get lost in cyberspace.  Implement a few basic optimizations to make it easier for users to find your videos as they browse and search.

1. Use keywords in your filename
Rename your video’s filename to match the topic of the video. For instance, if your video is about small business accounting, rename your video file from “video.mp4” to “small-business-accounting.mp4.”

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Create and Manage a Thriving Social Media Presence

Meet the brains behind the Journal of Accountancy social media program

It’s been a milestone month for the Journal of Accountancy on social media! Not only did the Journal of Accountancy Twitter account (@AICPA_JofA) add its 20,000th follower and 8,000th tweet, their Facebook page reached 16,000 likes and social media has driven 110,000 visits to their website. Wow! That’s what I call ‘thriving.’

Today I feel like Toto in the Wizard of Oz; I’m pulling back the curtain to reveal the brains behind the Journal of Accountancy social media program. Only it’s not a man with a funny mustache running the show….

Meet Megan Pinkston, senior editor and social media extraordinaire. She’s sitting down with us to share her secrets to success.

Megan Pinkston

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An Introduction to Pinterest

Pinterest_badge_red
Pinterest, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways
.

Have you had a chance to try out Pinterest yet? You should! If you are a visual person, this image-driven platform may really hit home for you like it does for me.

 

What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a fast-growing niche social networking site that has generated a lot of buzz and media coverage. With over 15 million users, Pinterest is the fifth most visited social media site in the US, and generates more referral traffic to other websites than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined.

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Social Media Time-Savers for Busy Season

Time-to-save-time

The work is piling up and you may be thinking, “There is NO time for this social media stuff, right?!” Wrong. There are a few simple ways to streamline the process and keep your social accounts active when busy season really gets ramped up.

Copycat: Let social do the work for you

Sure, it can take some time to scour the internet for useful information, articles and links to share with your social networks. How about letting your social networks do the heavy lifting for you? Follow and connect with your favorite thought leaders, associations and publications, and then share what they are sharing. This allows you to be a curator, passing along interesting and valuable information from the sources you trust. Check out these AICPA social properties and see if any of the content would be useful or interesting for your network.

 

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Twitter Delivers the Full Picture of a CPA Conference

Perhaps I sound like a broken record...

But believe me, if you attend conferences and aren't on Twitter, you are missing out. Case in point: the Digital CPA Conference last week. I got to the hotel in Washington D.C. (ahem...I mean Maryland. Right, Tom Hood?), logged in to my computer and discovered Twitter was already all aflutter with #DigitalCPA activity. If you know me, you know this made me very happy!

Follow a conference hashtag for the inside scoop.

By following and participating on a conference hashtag, you get to see the full picture of what's happening. People are sharing their favorite quotes, new ideas, what they are learning and my favorite... pictures.

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CPAs: Broadcast Yourself with YouTube

Crying stickmanPicture this: It was April of 2012 and my baby boy was due to arrive any day. The nursery was ready. My bag was packed. There was only one thing left to take care of: the car seat. I had heard horror stories of how hard they are to install, so I had been procrastinating. Time was running out, so I opened the box and unfurled the instructions... I stared blankly at a piece of paper that had been folded one billion times, with directions printed in every language known to man. Since I am a well-grounded professional adult, I will not admit here to tears, but let’s just say I was overwhelmed. You see, I just wanted someone to show me how to do it. And those stick figure illustrations with confusing arrows just weren’t cutting it.

Enter YouTube.

With one simple search of the make and model of my car seat, I had dozens of friendly faces showing me exactly what to do. There, not so hard after all.

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Beyond the EDGE: Twitter Enhances CPA Conference Experience

Last week, I attended the AICPA E.D.G.E. conference in Orlando, Fla., and was excited to see some conference attendees all-a-flutter over Twitter. In fact, several speakers and attendees were chatting and getting to know each other on Twitter before the conference even started.

When I arrived in the exhibit hall, the first person I met, one of the conference speakers, said, “Hey. I recognize you from Twitter. It’s so nice to meet you in person.”  Next, I met an exhibitor who said the same thing; he had immediately recognized me from my profile picture. Since I had already had interactions with both of them online, we had an immediate rapport when meeting offline. Strengthening online relationships by connecting in person is just one of many ways using Twitter can enhance a conference experience.

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Going on Vacation? Your Social Media Activity Doesn’t Have To

The word like on the beachKeep your social media channels afloat; schedule content while you are away from the office.

You’ve set your out-of-office message, changed your voicemail greeting and, in your mind, you may already be on the beach listening to waves crash against the sand. Back to reality…there’s one more thing to take care of before you go!

Continuing your activity will help you stay engaged with those fans and followers while you are away.

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CPAs: Changes to Facebook Pages on March 30

Many of you have seen the update to the new Facebook Timeline format on your personal profile. Now, Facebook is rolling out those changes to business pages, as well. The updates take effect on March 30, so the time to start planning is now! Here are some ways the new layout will impact your business’s Facebook Page.

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Use Video to Showcase Your Firm’s Personality

Lights. Camera. Snooze.

Video is a great medium for firms to educate and inform staff, clients and potential employees. But sometimes the content can be a little mundane. Why not take those formal interviews and how-to series to the next level?

Pull back the curtain and let people know what you are really like. 

Put a face to your firm. What are your employees passionate about? Is volunteerism important to you? Showcase your staff or fellow CPAs giving back to the community, like the Virginia Society of CPAs and the Illinois CPA Society did in their CPA Day of Service videos.

 

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Blogging: How to Conquer Writer’s Block

Blogger writer's blockOr is it "blogger’s block?" Hmm…I digress.

Has this happened to you?
As I sat at my computer pondering a topic for my blog post, my mind was both blank and full at the same time. There are so many topics to choose from, how can I narrow it down to just one? That’s when it hit me like a bolt of lightning…how about a post about writer’s block? Funny how that works.

I hear it often from AICPA members…they know that blogging is a valuable resource, but they aren’t sure where to start. “What do I write about?” “How will I come up with enough content to write a blog consistently?” Here are a few ideas to help you keep the ideas flowing:

Scan your inbox. Chances are people come to you for answers to questions. Scan your inbox and see if there are any common questions you could answer in a blog post.

Read, read, read. Books, news, Tweets, other blogs and trade publications can be a great source for blog post topics. Share an article and give your impression of what you read (be sure to link back and cite the original source).

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HOTI: Carrier IQ; 12 Days of Christmas Gets Expensive

We asked our bloggers to tell us what they found interesting on the Internet this week. What would you add to this list?

Jina Etienne, CPA - I re-tweeted this post from the Colorado Society of CPAs, it generated a lot of interest and comments. “So... what's so great about being a CPA? 5 reasons here.” I even got a response from a former client whom I had recommended get her CPA. She’s finishing up school now and will take the CPA Exam next winter!

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Social Media and Job Seekers

Dear Smarty Pants, Braggarts and Potty-Mouths… A word to the wise: you never know who is listening.

I am often taken aback by the things I see people posting on social media. I understand the need to vent or an attempt to be funny, but what you put out there in the public domain could be costing you your career. In a recent survey, 95% of employers said they use social media to screen potential employees. Yes, 95%! Yikes. From inappropriate photos and comments about previous employers to proof an applicant was less than truthful about qualifications… employers are getting an eye full!

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Groupon's IPO; Siri Talks Back; Facebook vs LinkedIn

We asked our bloggers to tell us what they found interesting on the Internet this week. What would you add to this list?

Heidi Brundage, CPA, SPHR - I had the pleasure of opening the North Carolina Association of CPAs first ever Professional Women’s Conference on Wednesday. More than 200 women were in attendance; it was a day of awareness, networking and encouragement! This post from the Harvard Business Review reminds me that we have so much work to do to bring awareness to the lack of advancement of female CPAs.

Stacie Saunders - On Thursday, Facebook announced it has teamed up with the U.S. Department of Labor and three employment-related agencies in an attempt to decrease the country’s unemployment rate using social media — a project that may eventually include a Facebook jobs posting system. What does this mean for LinkedIn? We will have to wait and see!

James Schiavone - The iPhone 4S wasn't the announcement many Apple fans were expecting, but it did come with one surprise, Siri. The personal assistant, called Siri, makes life easier with reduced typing and heightened potential for your most meaningful exchange of the day to be with your iPhone. I thought I was all cutting edge using my Android to talk-to-text, but apparently I can be edgier and get useful answers to real life questions spoken back to me. Siri is still in beta and promises to become even more advanced in future versions, but folks are having a lot of fun testing it out.

Gregory J. Wright, MBA - Groupon finally filed for its IPO this morning, but is only seeking a valuation of $11.4 billion, less than half the $25 billion it sought earlier this year before their accounting was called into question.

 

CPA Day of Service, Estate Tax, Debit Card Fees

We asked our bloggers to tell us what they found interesting on the Internet this week. What would you add to this list?

Stacie Saunders - The Virginia State Society of CPAs shared this video on the AICPA Facebook page. It highlights how some of their members contributed to the 2011 CPA Day of Service. Great work!

Eileen Reichenberg Sherr, CPA, MST - The IRS announced in IR- 2011-97 that estates of people who died in 2011 need to file estate tax returns to benefit from the new portability rules even if they do not otherwise need to file an estate tax return. Since the estate tax return is due nine months after death, it could be due as early as Oct. 3, but a six month extension can be filed to give the estate more time to consider this option.

Gregory J. Wright, MBAIn a move that surprised many, Bank of America stated it was going to roll out a debit card fee plan that would charge customers $5 per month if they wished to pay for purchases using their debit card. After criticism from the public, Bank of America went on the defensive, stating “…we lost lots of revenues and these fees only partially make them up.” Bank of America lost $2.2 billion in 2010 and recently posted an $8.8 billion loss for Q2 2011.

We’d be remiss this week if we did not mention the passing of Steve Jobs as the biggest news item of the week. His innovation and leadership changed the face of technology as we know it. We leave you with this quote, which we feel summarizes his legacy well. This is from his commencement speech at Stanford University, June 2005.

"[Y]ou can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something -- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."

 

CPAs: Showcase your Volunteerism with LinkedIn

CPAs are passionate about giving back and lending their expertise through volunteer work. But how many of your peers, coworkers or clients know about your volunteerism or the causes you support? There was no area to feature these accomplishments on LinkedIn…until now!

Highlight your Passions

In early September, LinkedIn launched a new feature allowing users to add volunteer positions, causes they care about and organizations they support. It’s simple to use. Here’s how:

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LinkedIn Backs off Social Ads and Improves Mobile App

LinkedIn LogoThrust into the spotlight

Until recently, LinkedIn has managed to stay out of the spotlight when it comes to privacy. In June, however, LinkedIn decided to opt in millions of users to a privacy setting, allowing their names and pictures to be used in social advertisements. Social advertisements often include names and/or pictures of people you are connected to who recommend the product or service.  It went relatively unnoticed for weeks…and then the firestorm. In early August, the blogosphere and news websites lit up with the information. LinkedIn users were not happy.

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QR Codes 101

Stacie Saunders QR CodeQR codes, or quick response codes, are popping up everywhere. You may have seen them at conferences, in catalogs, on billboards and even in the Journal of Accountancy. What are they and how can you take advantage of this growing trend?

Let’s start with the basics.

A QR code is a two-dimensional code that can be read with an application on your mobile device. They are used to drive users to digital information, such as websites, Facebook pages or registration links. It is as simple as a click of a button!

If I see a QR code, what do I do with it?

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