Accounting firms’ use of social media platforms.
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Social media can be described as a phenomenon that has completely transformed the world on both professional and personal levels. It has considerably improved relations, encouraged new affiliations and created entirely new avenues and approaches to business. The constant growth of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn serve as an indication of the potential reach that an organisation can obtain by strategically and methodically utilising these platforms. Research has proven that despite the wide array of social media platforms available, social media is not very widely utilised by accountants. This has raised the question, “Can social media be beneficial to the accounting profession?” This study aimed to explore the current social media trends and with the aid of interviews, determine if social media is a viable and effective solution for accountants in terms of engagement with stakeholders, marketing as well as for general collaboration. Due to the nature of the study, the qualitative approach was adopted. A –semi-structured interview schedule was constructed and participants were asked a series of 16 questions. All participants held senior positions and were the most suitable to assist with the study. Six companies were approached and selected to fulfil the objectives of the study. The data collected led to the conclusion that whilst social media has been implemented in accounting firms, there is no distinct social media plan in existence, nor has social media been prioritised. Furthermore, the participants did not have any expectations from social media, it was merely employed to create awareness with the hope of attracting new clientele. These findings culminated in a number of recommendations being documented in order to assist and encourage accounting firms to implement social media. It is recommended that accounting firms create social teams, who will serve to keep clients abreast of latest developments as well as counteract negative publicity. Further, accounting firms should identify their target audience and aim to maximise their coverage. They can also exploit the most popular social media platforms, and aim to expand their range as widely as possible.