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Why accountants must build a trust-based LinkedIn footprint

13 October 2023
why accountants must build a trust based linkedin footprint

Accountants and tax practitioners who embrace LinkedIn to champion their values, purpose and firm’s direction will reap significant benefits.

Leaders across all sectors face scrutiny for personal integrity, organisational diligence, DEI and ESG policies and values.

Accounting and tax practitioners are not immune to such evaluation, whether they are sole traders or partners in large firms.

Trust is the currency of business and sustainability and as reported in the 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer Report , 63 per cent of people will buy or advocate for brands based on their beliefs and values.


Edelman’s report also found that 69 per cent of job candidates seek organisations who have a strong societal impact. The top three global issues leaders are expected to act upon are employee treatment, climate and discrimination.

And in Hubspot’s ‘2023 The State of Marketing Report’ it was reported that Millennials and Gen Z led the charge to align with companies sharing their values.

The business case

It’s imperative for accountants and tax agents to have a solid digital footprint and executive presence on LinkedIn. The leading professional platform with over 950 million global and 14 million Australian members it’s mission critical with all Google roads leading to the platform.

LinkedIn should be approached from both a current and unknown future needs perspective factoring in business acquisition, expansion and staff attraction.

Even for those who are enjoying full capacity, the tide can turn by external unrelated issues. Likewise for staffing, of which many practices are grappling with at present.

The Governance Institute of Australia’s Ethics 2023 Index ranked the Banking, Finance & Insurance (BFI) sector at a neutral 6 points with a broad sector ethics ranking of 12/14

The BFI sector ranked accountants as the most ethical with fund managers the least ethical.

This combined with regular media reports of fraudulent behaviours can cast unfair and negative aspersions across the accounting and tax profession. This can be addressed seamlessly in transparent profile communications.

Global advisory firm, Brunswick Group found in their 2022 Connected Leadership-The Social CEO Report that people trusted leaders who use social media more than those who don’t by a ratio of 6 to 1 (86 per cent).

Further, 82 per cent of people expect business leaders to use social media to communicate their mission, vision and values with 82 per cent of job candidates researching leaders online whilst considering joining a new company.

Talent attraction is a mission critical issue for the accounting sector. As previously reported in Accountants Daily, data through to July showed vacancies for accounting, audit and finance professionals have increased by 23 per cent. It was further reported that (46 per cent) of accounting teams had a shortfall of accountants, with 6 per cent being significantly short-staffed.

The value of LinkedIn is tacit whether it be for staff attraction, marketing, social proof, employer branding, careers, networking, learning, news and PR.

Yet the majority of accounting and tax agent leaders have a lacklustre, incomplete or ineffective LinkedIn profile and presence.

A place card on LinkedIn is not sufficient. They need an executive presence and a profile of gravitas.

What is executive presence

In broad terms (on or off line) an executive presence coalesces a person’s appearance, communication and gravitas.

Gravitas encompasses demeanour, confidence, transparency, clarity of vision, authority, composure, charisma, integrity, care and trustworthiness.

Gravitas is not just for the big end of town but for all. And it does not automatically correlate to sombre and staid communication. Personal genuine essence is expressed within the pillars.

Finely tuned communication of the above should appeal to both the cognitive and emotional. Can people trust your capabilities, your promise to deliver the brand promise consistently is part of the cognitive interweave. Judgement of character and how leaders make others feel is part of the emotional interweave.

How it translates on LinkedIn

The personal profile is the nucleus of a leader’s presence. Note, the Company page has a very different purpose.

Whilst engagement and content forms part of executive presence, I will just focus here on bedding down the key elements of a personal profile which are:

Branded Banner

This is prime brand augmentation territory. Like a billboard, it can be changed to meet current campaigns and issues.

It’s perplexing why the vast majority of leaders of firms have a blank naked space here without their logos, taglines, images or relevant graphics to bring the profile and legal brand to life.

Current Photograph

Professional, warm and inspiring. Rhetoric must meet reality.


Clear and descriptive. Can be more than just the default title and company.

About Section

Detailed and engaging narrative including career overview, education, volunteering, boards, awards, DEI & ESG values, company and personal visions. Some may share a little under their personal hood.

The general consensus is that this section is best received when written in the 1st person or neutral person unless an ASX chair or Federal politician et al. But having written many senior executive profiles, there is an erudite way to write in the 1st person with gravitas and not compromising presence...

Featured Section

A terrific highly visual section on a profiles top card to display key media, articles and firm news.

Risk & Opportunity

Accountants and tax practitioners who embrace LinkedIn to champion their values, purpose and firm’s direction will reap significant value. Given the research, the negative ramifications of not doing so is a risk not worth taking as trust and reputations can be at stake.

Sue Parker, career strategist, communications and LinkedIn specialist, DARE Group Australia


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