Richard Edelman HOF

You instinctively know you must behave in a trustworthy way. And yet what’s classed as trustworthy behaviour is changing.

Therefore it pays to watch and learn what you must do to be consistently seen as a trustworthy accountant.

The global PR agency Edelman questioned 30,000 people in 25 countries at the end of 2011 to determine what’s changing in the sphere of trust. The Edelman Trust Barometer reveals the state of Trust in business and institutions on a grand scale.

Pictured is Richard Edelman – big cheese at this global PR firm – sharing just 3 minute highlights of this profoundly large trust survey. Worthy of notice for three reasons:

After he talks about the falling trust in government (shock horror!) Richard shares the importance of multiple messages in a world where scepticism rules

Operational factors of business are no longer enough to build trust in the future (more on this below)

And Richard talks about how important transparency is to building trust A worthy listen I would suggest.

In what way is this relevant to you as an accountant, running an accountancy firm?

If your firm’s marketing message is to be believed it needs to be trusted. Here are the top 16 factors – according to this super-large Edelman survey into trust – in order of power/impact.

How would you score your firm on a 1-10 scale where 5 is average and 10 is perfect?


1 Listens to customer needs and feedback

2 High quality products or services

3 Treats employees well

4 Places customers ahead of profits

5 Takes actions to address issue or crisis

6 Has ethical business practices

7 Has transparent and open business

8 Communicates frequently and honestly

9 Works to protect/ improve environment

10 Addresses society’s needs

11 Positively impacts the local community

12 Innovator of new products

13 Highly regarded, top leadership

14 Delivers consistent financial returns

15 Ranks on a global list

16 Partners with third parties



Notice how societal factors play a greater role than operational issues – 7 of the top 10 trust attributes are societal. How does your firm stack up against these 16 attributes or perhaps even better the top 10 or top 4?

More importantly which one do you think you should focus on and improve so that your TRUST QUOTIENT improves and you can influence the future success of your firm.

For more detail on the 2012
 Edelman Trust Barometer , get your hands on the Executive Summary here .

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