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Challenges & Opportunities of Social Collaboration for Accountants

Accountants in practice and in the finance function are part of an online, connected world. This is changing the way they communicate and collaborate. Within this realm, accountants have begun exploiting social collaboration. 

Defined

According to the author David F. Carr, “social collaboration comprises social networking and social media for the purpose of getting work done in a business or enterprise setting. In this context, collaboration is about getting work done with teams of people, working together toward a common goal”.

About 

In the last 20 years, since the internet was created, social media has come a long way. Traditionally, social media sites were used for blogging, crowdsourcing, instant messaging, and sharing pictures and music. Ultimately, it was seen as a popular personal tool for communication and collaboration. More recently, however, research shows that social collaboration has helped businesses with:

 

  • Improved productivity: A platform to share advanced knowledge, conduct collaborative analysis, and make faster, well-thought out decisions.
  • Greater customer service: Engages customers with dynamic content in a collaborative and interactive digital space.
  • New operating models: The social connection means customers are empowered to follow up on their requests in real-time. 

 

With these use cases and others in mind, the professional lives of accountants are being reshaped by new possibilities. 

Adoption

An ACCA report has outlined the specific challenges and opportunities social collaboration has created for the accounting profession.

Opportunities:

  • Removes barriers to communication
  • Speeds up month-end processes
  • Enhances decision-making and productivity

Challenges: 

  • Risk to sensitive corporate data
  • Assessing and explaining the financial implications of new developments

The future

As social tools and their use cases rapidly increase, accountants will need to be attuned to the working methods of social collaboration in the business and in practice. This means: 

  1. Developing new skills 
  2. Adapting to meet the changing expectations of the profession

Next steps

To learn about another emerging technology and its impact on the industry, read a recent blog.

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