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The more I use the LinkedIn social media platform, the more I’m understanding it’s awesome power.

Conversely, by ignoring LinkedIn I’m also seeing CA(SA) falling out of the limelight and shrinking away.

I often approach CAs(SA) asking them why they do not put their qualifications in their title like I have. Most are grateful and make the adjustment. But there are still those who underrate the value of the brand and claim they ‘do not want to be labelled as an accountant’.

I find this particularly fascinating as CA(SA) and ‘accountant’ are definitely not the same thing. Bookkeeper and accountant is more aligned. Most CA’s have never written up a set of books (nor desire to do so) let alone see themselves as a glorified bookkeeper. Most accounting functions are automated these days in any case.

The issue is, the CA(SA) brand says a lot!

It proposes a bright, astute and analytical financial gymnast who is a solutions-driven deliverer with an exceptional work ethic and ethos. Hard working, determined, strong, flexible and innovative are also attributes that are inherent in the CA(SA) brand.

The antithesis of this idea is that, if you don’t put your CA(SA) in your title, you run the risk of neutralising your value leaving yourself comparable to any other non-qualified financial employee.

Thus if you describe yourself as a financial manager and you omit your qualification, you present yourself as an unqualified financial employee who has reached their ceiling of career advancement. Including CA(SA) in your title indicates that you are in the early stages of your career development.

Is it not arrogant to put your qualifications behind your name?

This is a comment that I often get.

The answer?

Definitely not! It is part of what defines your professional profile. Would a medical doctor be arrogant if he called himself Doctor? It’s the same thing. People need to know who they are relating to, especially in a professional context – it gives them the appropriate information to quickly assess value.

It might be worth noting that there is a large body of corporate executives who consider having qualifications on business cards grubby. This might work if you are CEO. I’m of a strong view that the CA(SA) brand, in a business context, needs to be announced even if the person is a senior executive, especially the CFO.

Why?

Because it sets the context.

I recently had a debate about whether it was appropriate to put a non-CA into a CFO position in a large listed company. If the CFO is a CA(SA) I want to know that! A non-CA in that position will worry me. (The case in point involved a company that was having serious governance and compliance issues).

By the way I also believe that the MBA qualification should also been shown. The problem is that there is no common standard. The business school is usually omitted which does cloud the issue.

Hence, if you are getting to grips with the power of social media, you’re smiling.

There is no doubt that your future credibility and effectiveness will lie in your ability to master social  platforms.

The world is changing and if you don’t change with it, you do so at your peril.

So personal branding is becoming more and more important.

It is amazing how many people are ignoring the tremendous personal branding power that they can create by using the likes of LinkedIn.

Social media is about putting as much information about yourself in the smallest possible space. Don’t expect people to search around to understand you. If you are a CA(SA) put it in your title. It makes all the difference – when reading your profile they know who they are talking to!

Besides, a significant amount of recruitment is being done using LinkedIn, especially by company HR personnel. By leaving CA(SA) off your title means that you will not come up in their searches and you will miss being contacted for new opportunities.

So, check your LinkedIn profile and ensure that your CA(SA) brand is clearly displayed – it will serve you well.