Come on CPAs…Show Some Personality!

posted in: Writing | 3

By writing an interesting bio that shows your professional expertise as well as your personal characteristics, you’ll make more people want to work with you.

Who are your favorite vendors and business partners? Are they the ones with the best professional pedigrees and impressive lists of degrees and designations? Or are they the ones with whom you enjoy working, who have your best interests at heart while at the same time having the skills needed to do the job? Most people I know tend to prioritize the relationships they’ve developed with professionals they like over those with a generic company. If their CPA moves to a new firm, they will move with him.

So, based on this, it’s very important to communicate both personality and professionalism in your profile. Other than the home page of a firm’s site, bios are typically the second most read pages. Why? We are by nature curious and want to know more about the people behind the company logo. We want to see what we have in common, what they look like and what qualifies them to take care of our work. Sure, it’s human interest, but it’s also a reasonable way to gather information about the people to whom we entrust our business. Since this is the case, it’s shocking how poorly written so many of them are. Some are so boring I’d rather have my gums scraped than finish reading them!

This is a travesty, in my opinion. You should share enough of yourself to show that you are human and have a life outside of work. The goal is to paint a picture of well-rounded and interesting people who also happen to be really good at what they do. And it works. Here are a few examples from a variety of professional services industries:

Mitesh Patel is an incredibly talented attorney with impressive experience. Great choice for your company. He was once a firefighter and enjoys “scotch nosing.” He’s a fun guy that I’d like to have a drink with!

Karl Famer is an electrical engineer and project manager with 11 years of experience. Well-qualified for the job. He’s currently becoming multi-lingual, learning American Sign Language and Spanish, and also volunteers his engineering skills to build churches. A guy with a giving heart who is dedicated to the causes he loves, and someone I would love to partner with on a job.

Heather Wright is another extraordinarily skilled attorney with impressive experience and education. Great hire. She’s also a tireless volunteer and a black belt who teaches self defense classes for women. This is a woman I want to know!

Cathy Iconis has taken her experience in both public and private accounting to create her own firm that provides outsourced accounting services to small and medium-sized businesses, particularly those in the design field. Impressive. She also enjoys watching Bravo TV shows, is learning to golf and admits to having watched General Hospital since 1993. Real person with personality and accessible attitude; my kind of gal.

See what I mean? These are all clearly professionals at the top of their respective fields, and they’re also appealing as individuals. When comparing equally qualified candidates, it’s often the one who seems to be the most accessible, interesting and fun to work with that will get the job.

I even put my money where my mouth is and included some pretty crazy stuff in my own bio. But you know what? I’ve had people ask questions about some of the more interesting facts, which proves they read my bio and cared, or were at least curious, about what they found in it.

So how do you start? First, read some good bios and take notes. Write down your official information, but also include some fun facts and interesting features about yourself. If you’d like a copy of the questionnaire we use at bbr marketing, email me. Always have someone else write your bio for you, at least the first draft. It’s nearly impossible to write a great bio for yourself, even for those of us that do it all the time.

Oh, and on a side note, get a professional photo taken for your bio page. Try to avoid the boring gray drape shots if you can. More on that soon.

What do you think? Am I way off base here? Chime in with your thoughts!

Follow Bonnie:
Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk is the president and founder of bbr marketing. Bonnie’s 20 years of marketing experience is vast and varied, including serving as the marketing director for a mid-sized Atlanta accounting firm. Her focus on high-quality services and advice is bested only by her determination to constantly hone her craft and increase the strength and reach of her clients’ marketing efforts. Named "One to Watch" on AccountingToday’s list of the "Top 100 Most Influential People," she is the president of the Atlanta chapter of the Association for Accounting Marketing, a well-respected speaker and a regular contributor to a variety of news and industry sites.

3 Responses

  1. Jean S.
    | Reply

    Great article Bonnie. I totally agree and hopefully can get the rest of our crew to agree also.

  2. Bonnie
    | Reply

    I wish you all the luck in the world! I’ve found sharing examples often helps.

  3. […] This sounds like great news for accountants, who may have felt constrained by industry standards to keep their more amiable sides under wraps in the interest of fitting in. As it turns out, fitting in means letting on that you’re a person with many facets, including the humorous ones. You want your resume and references to say “top-notch professional” as always, but the survey results should encourage you to go farther in sharing your well-rounded personality in your demeanor, your professional relationships and even your bio. […]

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