This isn’t just news. It’s a business lesson in three parts.
By Hitendra Patil
Microsoft announced that it is buying LinkedIn for a colossal $26.2 billion—cash. What’s the message to the accounting profession? The value of the “professional network” isn’t in the number of its members, but the combination of the buying and the influencing power of Linkedin members. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
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Take a look at how MicroSoft and LinkedIn look at the deal (PDF). While Microsoft is paying $26.2 billion (including net cash) to buy LinkedIn, it believes the total addressable market of its LinkedIn purchase is $315 billion.
Three Strategies for Accountants
See each of your clients and vendors as readily available networks. Leverage those networks. “It helps us differentiate our CRM [Customer Relationship Management software] product with social selling,” says Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO. If Microsoft needs social selling, so does everyone. CRM technologies are as essential as accounting and tax software packages.
Make it easy for your networks to talk about your real value in specific, measurable terms. A client telling a colleague "Talk to my accountant; she might solve your problem,” is neither specific, nor measurable, nor especially useful. But “My accountant helped reduce my average inventory investment by $300,000,” is specific and measurable. As such, it will ring more bells more loudly.
You have specialized knowledge and experience to empower people and businesses. It can empower many more people and organizations than you are empowering now. It is a matter of how you and your network together plan to scale up the distribution of your assets—knowledge, experience, expertise and time—to more people. "It takes our scale to a completely different level," says Jeff Weiner, Linkedin CEO.
You may think 433 million professional members is a huge number, but LinkedIn certainly does not. They are thinking of an even larger scale because Microsoft and LinkedIn share a common mission centered on empowering people and organizations.