A beginner's guide to video for accountants

videoIt’s hard not to see why video is so popular these days…

It’s everywhere. From the way we consume content on social media, to how we communicate with clients and team members at work, to the hours we spend binge-watching things on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

And video as a tool that you can use in your accounting firm has never been so important.

In this short guide we want to share with you how and where video can be used, as where as sharing some tips and guidance on the tools, equipment and software you might need to start producing videos as soon as possible.

Let’s dive in…

How & where can video be used in your accounting firm?

Video can have multiple uses throughout various parts of your accounting firm.

From marketing to training team members, here are a few of the most popular places to use video:

Marketing

OK, so marketing is probably one of the most obvious ones (and the most under-used!)

Here are some interesting stats that show why video is so important…

“54% of consumers want to see more video content from a brand or business they support”

“Videos are a consumers favourite type of content to see on social media”

So the question is, why aren’t you creating more videos as part of your marketing strategy?

These could be explainer videos on your website, educational videos on your blog, or even just behind the scenes videos that you share on social media.

Onboarding clients

A client has just signed up and they’re wondering what happens next…

This is the perfect time to share some of your firm's personality and explain their next steps using video. 

You could redirect them to a video once a proposal is accepted via Practice Ignition or GoProposal.

Or if you’re a Pixie user, you could automatically send them a sequence of onboarding videos via email over a period of a few weeks. 

Answering clients questions or giving them feedback

Let’s assume a client emails you. They’re unsure how to do something in their Xero or Quickbooks account and need some help. Instead of emailing them instructions or phoning them up, why not send a video?

Using screen recording tools such as Loom, you can record a video of yourself and your screen and send it out in a matter of minutes. No technical experience is required.

This could add some nice value to your client relationships and make you stand out! 

Communicating with team members

Another way to use video is to improve your communication with team members.

This is only relevant if you have people working in different locations or from home throughout the week (it might be a bit strange setting up a video call if you’re all in the office together…)

Tools like Zoom and Google Hangouts make it really easy to set up video calls to discuss things.

You can even use these with clients as well! 

Hot tip - Set up a Calendly account and integrate it with Zoom. That way clients can schedule video calls with you based on your own schedule! 

A quick note about confidence 

There are lots of people that don’t always feel confident on video - me included.

It’s quite a common thing to dislike the way you look and sound on video. But it’s important to recognise that often this critique is just in your own head.

It might feel uncomfortable at first, but as time goes on your confidence will build and recording a video will feel the same as writing a text or sending an email.

Just go for it! 

Tools & equipment for recording videos

With this being a beginners guide, we’re going to try and keep the tools and equipment as basic as possible so that well, a beginner can use it. 

We will include the odd pro tip for anybody who feels like they could go more advanced!

Cameras

Smartphones - Most smart phones now have HD cameras that can record video in perfect quality. 

Webcams - If you want something that you can use for video calls and for doing screen recordings, then it might be worth investing in a HD webcam. I use this one from Amazon which has a built in mic, auto-focus and only costs £47.99. There are plenty of other options as well.

PRO: DSLR Camera - If you want to invest in something a bit more expensive and even better quality, then a DSLR camera could be an option. These will cost anywhere from £350 upwards but they could be used for multiple things e.g. taking team photos, taking photos and videos at any events you run, or even if you want to take it on holiday and look like a pro! 

Microphones

All of the cameras listed above will have in-built microphones. They are all perfectly usable, but if you’re looking for something a little better, here are a few options.

Lapel mic for smartphone - If you’re recording videos on your smartphone from a distance, then this lapel mic could be helpful to capture the audio. 

USB Microphone - To capture the best audio quality when recording videos on your PC or Laptop, it could be worth investing in a USB microphone. There are many different options but our personal favourite is the Rode NT-USB Mic. 

Lighting

This isn’t essential, especially if you’re just recording videos on your desktop or you’re in a video meeting (although making sure you’re in a well lit space does help!). 

But if you want to add some extra lighting to your videos, here are a few options:

Ring light - Using a ring light will help to give a nice balanced light to your videos, especially when recording from your phone. This example here even includes a tripod and phone mount.

PRO: Lighting kit - If you wanted to go all out (and you really don’t have to) then you could get a full lighting kit with umbrellas and box lights. Check out this kit here. It even comes with a green screen (see additional extras below)

Additional extras

Everything we’ve covered so far is more than enough to get you recording videos as fast as possible.

If you’re looking for a few optional extras to improve or enhance your videos, then here are a few additional extras:

Selfie stick - Recording videos in your hand can sometimes be a pain. A selfie-stick allows you to record hand-held videos whilst creating a bit of distance between you and the camera. 

Tripod with mount - If hand held videos aren’t your thing, then you’ll need a tripod and a mount to hold your smartphone or your DSLR camera (if that’s what you’ve gone for). 

PRO: Green screen - Using a green screen when recording allows you to edit out the background and replace it with anything you like. Zoom even has a built in feature now that allows you to replace your background with an image. There are a number of options from cheaper pop-ups, to fold away panels. 

Software, apps and tools for editing and producing videos

Before we jump into this section, it’s probably worth adding that it might be a better use of your time to have somebody in your team (or even a freelancer) to manage any video editing and production that you need. 

A good place to find freelancers to do this is on sites such as Fiverr and Upwork. 

That being said, here are a few simple apps and pieces of software that it’s worth knowing about:

Software

Camtasia - Camtasia is a really simple and easy to use video editor. It’s desktop based so you have to download it. It also doubles up as a screen recorder and allows you to add music, captions, titles etc. 

Kapwing - Kapwing is similar to Camtasia in functionality but based completely online. It has similar features and is great for making social media ready videos with titles and captions.

Rev.com - Adding captions to your videos can make them more accessible and easier to watch. Rev.com is an affordable and fast way to get captions made. Once you get the file, you can add it to either Camtasia or Kapwing. 

Apps 

If you’ve recorded the video on your smartphone, then you can use one of the many apps available to help you edit it. Most apps will allow you to cut, clip, add text or captions etc. Here are our 2 favourites:

InShot - InShot is simple to use video editing app that allows you to trim, cut, merge and adjust videos on your phone. You can add music, optimise it for social media and lots more. 

Splice - Splice is similar to Inshot in that it’s easy to use and packed full of features. You can edit videos and add transitions, trims, borders and sound effects. 

Is video something you need to use more of?

Video can have many uses and be used in many places in your accounting firm. 

From your marketing efforts, to the way you communicate with clients and team members, it can be used to enhance the way you communicate and make it more accessible and easier to digest.

Using some of the tools we’ve highlighted above, hopefully now you have a better understanding of what is needed to start producing your own videos. 

Is video something you need to use more of? 

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