CEOs Guide to Second Life

Check out the latest edition of Business Week where they have the CEOs guide to Virtual Worlds. The  guide talks about how many companies have gone beyond the marketing aspects of Second Life to virtual meetings, conferences, mixers, and meetups. And don’t forget recruiting and virtual job fairs.

Then there is the report on the Future of Small Business sponsored by Intuit Corporation and done by the Institute for the Future. In that report (Part 2 – Technology Trends and Smal Business) they talk about “Beyond Web 2.0 where these emerging virtual landscapes will drive small business formation, operation, and innovation… Virtual worlds will be widely adopted venues for reaching customers and experimenting with new product ideas and business models.”

If you add that these virtual worlds will be very familiar to the newest generation of workers (Gen Y, Millennial), many of whom grew up on MMORPGs (massively multi-player on-line role playing games) like World of Warcraft, then you can see why we have started exploring the virtual world of Second Life for CPAs.

JofasecondlifeThe latest edition of the Journal of Accountancy has an article, Accounting for Second Life that chronicles our efforts to explore how virtual worlds can be used in the CPA Profession. We are finding that the Business Week guide is right on point – social networking, meetings, conferences, and meetings are enhanced with the features of virtual worlds. There is another important dimension that should not be overlooked – they are also FUN!

Still not sure? Join us on June 18th at the Maryland Business & Accounting Expo to experience two “mixed reality” educational sessions. “Mixed reality” means there is a real life component (which will be at the Baltimore Convention Center) and a virtual component (which will be held at the BLI Conference Center on CPA Island in Second Life). The sessions are as follows:

Intuit’s Future of Small Business Report and What it means to CPAs: June 18 8:10  to 10 a.m. EST, 5:10 to 7 a.m. SLT / PST.

Steve Blundell, CPA, and Catherine Harrell will present Intuit‘s three-part study authored by the Institute for the Future. The presentation will look at the significant trends and forces affecting entrepreneurship over the next decade, including the changing face of small business, technology trends and their impact on small business formation and operation, and how these concepts are shaping an environment where small businesses can thrive, benefiting from collaboration with big business, access to enhanced computing power and a global marketplace.

The Virtual World of Second Life: June 18, 2:15 to 3:05 p.m. EST, 11:15 a.m. to 12:05 p.m. SLT  / PST.

Johns Zdanowski, CFO of Linden Lab (the company that created of Second Life), will present from in-world to take you into a future that is already here, where real business gets done in virtual worlds like Second Life. If you think you have enough to do in this life, you may need to step out of your comfort zone and find out how real money is being made in virtual worlds.

Plans are already under way to host a session on XBRL in the next month.

The Expo has several sessions that focus on Web 2.0 and Second Life (see session 150 on Tuesday and 231 on Wednesday), if you want to learn about these exciting technologies and how to use them as a CPA. Download a conference brochure here

Join us in-world at CPA Island for the first virtual tradeshow for accounting and business and the first CPE in Second Life on June 18 at the BLI Conference Center on CPA Island.  To visit CPA Island, you must be a member of the SLACPA in Second Life. Once you have created your avatar, join the group “SLACPA” (it is free) and you will get announcements and instructions to sign up for the virtual sessions.

How to attend the virtual CPA session on June 18

The sessions from within Second Life will qualify for three hours of CPE

1.Login to Second Life.

2.Select Edit -> Groups from the top menu, then click the “Search” button and enter SLACPA (short for Second Life Association of CPAs).

3.When the SLACPA group appears, click the “Join” button. This will give you permission to visit CPA Island.

4.Enter the following URL into the address bar of your Internet browser:

http://slurl.com/secondlife/CPA%20Island/145/115/22/

It will teleport you directly to the conference.

5.Alternatively, you can select “Map” button at the bottom of the Second Life screen, then enter “CPA Island” in the search box and click the “Search” button. Double-click “CPA Island” in the search results box and you will be teleported to the welcome center on CPA Island.

6.Look for a wall of signs and select the BLI Conference Center picture with your mouse. Right-click and select “Teleport,” and you will be placed at the entrance to the conference center.

7.Proceed through the lobby and follow the signs to the conference center.

I hope to see you in-world…

Resources:

CPA Island Blog www.cpaisland.com

CPA Success blog posting about Second Life

CPAs needed in Second Life?

Wherever there is an economy, CPAs will be needed. Considering that the virtual economy is one of the fastest growing economies around, there was a lot of interest in CPAs at yesterday’s panel discussion with Beyers Sellers of Metanomics. You can watch the replay on SL TV by clicking here.

Beyers Sellers is a RL (real life) accounting professor, Robert Bloomfield, PhD at Cornell University’s Johnson School of Business and he teaches a class on virtual world economics and has started a very successful “virtual talk show” in Second Life. The show, Metanomics is broadcast weekly on the SL TV network. SL pathfinders, Arlene Ciroula (Chili Carson) and Byron Patrick (Bean Wollongong) of KAWG&F joined me (Rocky Maddaloni) on the panel focused on what CPAs are doing in Second Life and an interesting discussion on taxes in virtual worlds.

Cfo_rising010We had to overcome some initial sound issues but overall the event went very well. One of the neat things about Second Life is the “back chat” that allows participants to “chat” during the show nd even have private conversations. The backchat was alive and well during this show and a lot of discussion and anxiety about the possibilities of taxing virtual cash. Another point Beyers made was that the lawyers are all over Second Life and the CPAs much less visible. The chart on the right is from our session with Linden CFO, John Zdanowski during the CFO Rising conference we also held virtually on CPA Island. It shows the growing economy and usage of Second Life and its economy. With over 50,000 businesses and over $100 million trading hands, there isw no question it is real. John will be doing another session on June 18th as part of the Maryland Business & Accounting Expo at the Baltimore Convention Center.

What do you think, why aren’t more CPAs here? What do you think about taxing virtual transactions?

5 More Reasons to Consider Second Life (and Virtual Worlds)

Today’s post comes from Intuit’Small Business Labs blog where they picked up that we had started getting CPAs into Second Life with CPA Island and the Second Life Association of CPAs.

They got it right, wherever there is an economy, CPAs are needed – Steve King termed it “following the money” in his post yesterday you can read here: CPAs in Second Life. That is exactly why our friends at KAWG&F became the first CPA firm in Second Life.

In addition to the money, is the idea of following the next generation – the millennial or “gaming generation” who grew up in these games and are the impetus behind these “real economies” with their significant amounts of disposable income fueling the growth of this new form of entertainment. We think we need be ready to reach them where they hang out.

So what are the reasons small business (and our small CPA firms who serve this important segment) should be in Second Life?

Cfo_rising_session_zee_rocky2Steve’s post re-introduced me to Intuit’s research report, The Future of Small Business: Technology  Trends & Small Business which has a whole section on Web 2.0 and Second Life. Another reason why I love the blogosphere! So here are some of the reasons outlined in the report and my own to consider:

  1. Small Business relationships will become more virtual as online social networks expand
  2. Virtual Worlds will be widely adopted venues for reaching customers and experimenting with product ideas and business models
  3. Learning & training will be greatly enhanced with the immerse experiences provided by virtual world environments (mine)
  4. New opportunities to reach the “gaming generation” are now available to businesses and non-profits (like MACPA) via virtual worlds like Second Life (see our prior post on this)
  5. Congress is studying virtual worlds and taxing virtual transactions – if that isn’t a sign of a real economy what is? (see this post from the Virtual World News blog and the latest humorous post about the hearings last week)

We continue to think that Web 2.0 and virtual worlds will continue to be an important medium to interact and conduct “real” business in the future.

What do you think – are these virtual worlds worth exploring are you sitting this one out?

Want to learn more?

Check out our Web 2.0 self-guided learning blog here: CPALearning2.com (it has a section on Second Life)

MdbizexpoholdthesedatesAttend the Maryland Business & Accounting Expo where we will feature several sessions on Web 2.0 tools for business and showcase a “live” mixed reality session from Second Life to the show floor, featuring Linden Lab (creators of Second Life), CFO, John Zdanowski who will talk about business in Second Life. if you can’t attend live, you can join us in Second Life from CPA Island.

By the way, Intuit is a premium sponsor of MDBIZEXPO and we will have copies of their report “The Future of Small Business” available for all attendees.

Check out real interviews (including ours) at Mike O’Hara’s series the Virtual World’s Business Cast (from the UK) – Our interview is here

Our latest interview (KAWG&F pioneers, Arlene Ciroula, Byron Patrick and yours truly) on the SL show, Metanomics by Dr. Robert Bloomfield can be found here : Accountants in Second Life

A Second LIfe for Training

Still unsure about Second Life — the virtual world — as a tool for helping your business do better? Besides virtual meetings, the platform is also conducive to training.

FastCompany Magazine makes the point in their latest article, The Second LIfe of Second Life and their earlier piece, Why You Should Have Your Next Meeting in Second Life where they interview Second Life creator Phillip Rosedale. IN addition to FastCompany Magazine, the Association community, Chief Learning Officer Magazine, and even the Journal of Accountancy think so.

The latest feature story in Associations Now magazine titled, Meetings Remix: Time to Rethink the Ususal Format by Jeffrey Waddle mentions our efforts in Second Life to do real traininhg using the benefits of this exciting virtual world and social networking features.

A Second Life for Training is the title of the article that appeared in the July, 2008 edition of Chief Learning Officer magazine. CLO associate Editor Lindsay Edmonds Wicker sums it up very well,

“Second Life may have started out as a playground for techies, but it has become a well-known virtual world where people play, do business and learn. As a result, more organizations are making the transition to virtual and ultimately finding an engaging, cost-effective training platform.”

She goes on to feature our (Maryland Association of CPAs) efforts in Second Life as a training venue.

Alexandra DeFelice, Associate Editor of Accounting Technology Magazine described it as, “leap(ing) into the next generation” in an article titled, Tom Hood – Virtual CPA in their August edition.

Second_life_zee_takes_questionsRyan Sharrow covered our two (2) “mixed reality” events at the Maryland Business & Accounting Expo in his article, Second Life Opens Virtual CPA Worlds in the July 4, 2008 edition of the Baltimore Business Journal.

This is in addition to the Journal of Accountancy feature article in June, 2008, titled, Accounting for Second Life. Turns out we were the “buzz” at the AICPA Tech Conference this year mentioned by several speakers according to WebCPA editor Bill Carlino. Bill talked about the trend of “virtualization” and talked about our virtual CPA Island. He also said that virtualization is one of the technology trends that should be “in process” for CPAs and firms.

We think this medium has a lot of potential for training and engaging the current and next generation of learners (and it is fun too!). Just take a look at some of our recent events:

Virtual Workshop Examines XBRL

CPAs in Second Life Explore XBRL

Intuit & Linden Labs Sessions at the MDBIZEXPO

CPA Island Hosts Session with AACSB (the Association to Advance College Schools of Business)

Demo & Discussion with Towson University

CFO Rising Conference with CFO magazine

I am very glad to see Second Life getting a fair shake in looking at the training potential of this fun and exciting medium. Check out the video of the session at this link.

So what do you think, can you do “real” training in a virtual world?

New study confirms educators like Second Life for coursework

A recent post by the Second Life Education in New Zealand covered a recent report from the University of Florida about training in Second Life. I found this thanks to a Twitter post by GiannaBorgnine.

The study found that 93% of college instructors using Second Life in classes were satisfied enough to do it again and felt it enhanced the learning experience.

“Post-secondary school instructors who conduct classes fully in Second Life are significantly more satisfied than those who use Second Life as only a small supplement to a real-world classes, according to an international research project  from the  University of Florida, reported in the Winter 2009 edition of the International Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences.”

You can read a full copy of the report here Download Second Life Education

Turns out there are several accounting educators breaking new ground in Second Life:

Dr. Mike Kraten (SL-Mike1 Noel) at Suffolk University in Boston can be found teaching classes on CPA Island (see his blog at http://www.enterpriseman.net) you can visit using this link http://slurl.com/secondlife/CPA%20Island%202/183/119/29/

Dr. Steven Hornik (SL-Robins Hermano) at University of Central Florida has his own classroom in Second Life (see his blog at http://www.mydebitcredit.com) you can visit using this link http://slurl.com/secondlife/Teaching%204/68/158/22

Dr. Robert Bloomfield (SL-Beyers Sellers) at Cornell University – Johnson Graduate School of Management is somewhat of a Second Life celebrity with a weekly talk show in Second Life. (his website is http://www.metanomics.net) you can visit using this link http://slurl.com/secondlife/Metanomics%20/138/129/53/

Accounting Education CenterIn order to encourage accounting educators to use this exciting medium, we created an accounting education center on CPA Island2 and will put up a kiosk for any accounting educator with links to their website and school’s accounting program. Visit the Accounting Education Center by using this link http://slurl.com/secondlife/CPA%20Island%202/206/211/27/

And don’t miss the exciting opportunities to get Continuing Professional Education in Second LIfe – visit our blog at www.cpaisland.com to register, view archives, and see upcoming events. Look me up iin SL – Rocky Maddaloni.

If you know of other accounting educators or want a kiosk for your college or university, post your comments below and we will contact you.

Resources on Accounting Education in Second Life:

FASB Research in Second Life

CPA Success blog post Accounting for Second Life

CPA Island blog category – Accounting Education

Journal of Accountancy article (June, 2008) Accounting for Second Life

Accounting Education in Second Life

Recent events in Second Life about CPAs

Are CPAs really doing anything in Second Life? Isn’t this just a passing fad?

Rocky has been busy over the past three weeks as Second Life is being asked about and featured in plenty of new venues. Just look at these activities and you tell me your answers:

Snapshot_005CPAs in Second Life, Social Media (Web 2.0), and the impact of technology on training (CPE) were the major part of the agenda at the Northeast CPE Directors Conference on Feb 8-10. The audience was captivated as we brought two accounting educators to the conference from within the virtual world of Second Life. Dr. Mike Kraten from Suffolk University in Boston and Dr. Steve Hornikfrom University of Central Florida both presented how they are using Second Life for accounting education.

DSC00980Social Media is here to stay and we all need to embrace it or be passed by. That was the message from Dr. Moira Gunn of NPR’s Technation as she delivered the dinner keynote at the PearsonPHASE conference for accounting educators. She talkd a lot about the power of collaboration from tools like wikis (and I would add Second Life).

FASB in SLFASB holds research meetings in Second Life! That’s right and they had a decent attendance (15+) at their meeting last week as yours truly, Rocky Maddaloni popped in to see what was going on. See details at the Metanomics website and thanks to Dr. Robert Bloomfieldaka Beyers Sellers in SL. See Edith Orenstein’s post over at the FEI Blog, titled Get a (Second) Life.

Robins Hermano - UCFDr. Steve Hornik did a demo for accounting educators at the Pearson PHASE conferences in Savannah, GA and San Diego, CA. He showed his virtual classroom, 3-d models used for homework by his students and talked about how he teaches 900+ accounting students per semester using Second Life to enhance their educational experience.

Jol - French CPA 3Then I ran into my old pal (from Second LIfe), Jol Maximus. Jol is a French CPA who recently bought an island (in SL) and is developing interactive exhibits to sue for his small business clients. He said the reason he is working in SL is that the 3-D environment works well for showing accounting concepts to small businesses, it is where thought leaders hang out, and gives him great press & public relations. Jol is a local practitioner in France (two person firm).

Ron Baker's displayDon’t miss our upcoming CPE Sessions from Second Life, like today’s session by Ron Baker (of Verasage) titled, Leading Knowledge Workers – Human Capital, Not Cattle. You will see Ron present from within Second Life from his offices in California to a packed house at our BLI Conference Center on CPA Island. We could never bring in this type of training this easily to our members.

 

So, what do you think? Is Second Life for REAL?

 

Resources for CPAs & Second Life:

Technology trends in Accounting Education & CPE – CPAs and the Virtual World of Second Life

Video about our work in Second Life – CPAs in Second Life

Presentation at Pearson-Phase – Keeping Up With Accounting from Globalization to Web 2.0

Journal of Accountancy article – Accounting for Second Life

See our post 2008 Year in Review – CPAs start adopting Second Life for Training

Is Second Life for real?

“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” – Mark Twain

SF FEI Session good turnoutOver the last month I have been reading about the death of Second Life as the news organization Reuters closed down their in-world offices and several big name brands exited the virtual world. But just like in real life, the recovery (in real life and second life) will most likely come not from the big corporations but form the nimble, entrepreneurial small and mid-size business sector. They will see the benefits of virtual worlds, not for just broadcast advertising and brand placement but for “real” uses like collaboration, training, recruiting and all the while saving money.

In her post, Businesses Not Stampeding from Second Life, SL blogger Tateru Nino over at Massively (news about MMOs) says it well,

“SME’s, universities, colleges, training groups and health-care providers are all deriving benefits from their usage of the virtual environment and few of these successful models rely on drawing the interest of Second Life users at large or drawing large quantities of eyeballs.

The number of educational institutions operating in Second Life is literally countless. It’s a mammoth task just trying to total them all up — and by the time you’re done there seem to be more of them than when you started.”

We continue to get questions about what are we “really doing in Second Life” and is it “really worthwhile”. Note the use of “really” that keeps coming up. Can a virtual gaming environment, “really” be an effective learning and collaborative environment? Read what others are saying:

SL Entrepeneur Magazine reporter Feldpar Epstein gets it right in his post Real Life in Second Life says the most important benefits of Second Life are:

  1. Second Life can be used as an environment to be utilized for interaction, collaboration and training of your staff. This use doubles as a bit of advertising for your company that might prove palatable to the general public.
  2. Using Second Life as an advertising-only vehicle is relatively pointless unless you are willing to experiment somewhat rigorously and learn from your mistakes.

He then goes on to profile our work on CPA Island,

“Another case in point is the CPA Island (http://www.cpaisland.com/) build. The MACPA (Maryland Certified Practicing Accountants) run conferences here on a regular basis; CPAs can attend these conferences in Second Life to earn CPE credit (this is a points system for the ongoing education of CPAs). The MACPA have engaged speakers from across the globe to lecture on a wide variety of topics; they started in the middle of this year, and the conferences have been so successful that they plan to continue into the foreseeable future. It has also raised the profile of CPAs within the consciousness of Second Life users.”

Then there is Dave MacDonald with the Canadian Management Accountants – British Columbia talking about his “first time” taking CPE in Second Life,

“So I went to the ampitheatre on CPA Island in Second Life and saw a number of other avatars present.  Many were CPAs with no affiliation in Second Life except for the CPA professional development – it was exceptional.  There was an animated talk on Enterprise Risk Management discussing myriad aspects of planning the prioritization of strategies with adherence to risk management principles.  The talk was great, but the medium was fantastic.”

And Edith Orenstein, social media maven at the Financial Executives International (FEI) and her first experience with the virtual world in her post, Get a (Second) Life. We have hosted a couple of mixed reality (virtual & real) meetings with the San Francisco FEI Chapter and the Bay Area FENG.

Then there is Accounting Web editor, Gail Perry and her experience as she writes in, Flying around CPA Island with Tom Hood.

“After a few initial missteps, it became easy to move around. Avatars can stand up, sit down, walk, and even fly. At CPA Island we strolled through training and presentation facilities, trade show floors, kiosks, a media center, office space, and even break rooms (where my avatar stopped for a quick Red Bull). At various places throughout the island, we saw places where we could access PowerPoint presentations and direct links to schools and accounting firms. Several accounting firms and universities already have a permanent presence on CPA Island, as does Financial Executives International. The 3-D effect makes you feel like you’re really in these rooms, whether it’s sitting in the audience, speaking at the podium, or touring the booths.”

We are currently building Accounting Web’s booth for our EXPO right now…

Visit our virtual trade show and sessions during the second annual MDBIZEXPO on June 16th & 17th.

Look for us at the AICPA Tech Confence on Monday June 15th at the lunch keynote session, CPAs and the Virtual World of Second Life for details see the brochure Download 09_TECH_2r.

For more on our events in Second Life see our post 2008 Year in Review – CPAs start adopting Second LIfe for training

For upcoming events visit our blog at www.cpaisland.com

See our intor to Second Life movie on Youtube

Well what do you think is Second Life for real?

CPA Island welcome Shapiro Negotiations Institute

When you visit CPA Island, don’t forget to check out the virtual headquarters of the Shapiro Negotitaions Institute (jus tacross the bridge from the welcome center lighthouse).

SNI is a premier global provider of training and consulting (and a partner of the Business Leanring Institute) in the following areas:

  • Negotiation
  • Influencing
  • Sales Optimization
  • Conflict Resolution

The focus of SNI is on maximizing their clients’ ability to create mutually beneficial and profitable long-term relationships with peers, vendors, and customers – both internal and external to the organization.

SNI co-founder and president, Mark Jankowski appears in-world as Mark Wizenheim and has dived into the exciting medium of Second Life to bring interactive education on CPA island. Mark has really worked to use all of the features of teh 3-D immersive environment to enhance negotiation trianing. I have been in a couple os sessions and love it.

Look for their upcoming course on June 17th on CPA Island – check their website for details. Stay tuned for future CPE sessions with Mark by checking our CPA Island blog also.

We are proud to have them as our newest tenant (and partner)!

CPA Island welcomes IGAF Worldwide!

Why would an international group of accounting firms want to be in Second Life?

Answer: Student recruitment, appeal to young professionals, host meetings, offer training & CPE, and networking. Sounds a lot like real life doesn’t it?

That’s is what IGAF Worldwide CFO, Anne Hampson told me recently as we discussed where they wanted to build their new offices on CPA Island.

I couldn’t agree more and applaud their vision. With over 200 colleges & universities in the virtual world, we have been saying that the CPA Profession needs to be here to be relevant to the “gaming generation”.

I am almost positive that this makes them the first CPA firm association to take this big step. Their offices are very impressive (picture above) and I recently ran into Anne and some IGAF team members as they came in-world to attend heir first “virtual staff meeting”.

Look for Anne Hampson (SL – Anne Wellesley) and IGAF CEO, Kevin Mead (SL – KevinMead Fairport), on stage as we feature them at our session titled, CPAs & Second LIfe on Monday, June 15th at 1:00 pm (PT/SLT) as part of the AICPA Tech Plus Conference – in Las Vegas. We will also be offering a live event from Baltimore and on virtually on CPA Island (that is where these virtual worlds really make a difference). We will actually be reaching audiences in all three venues at the same time!

So, welcome IGAF Worldwide and we look forward to working with you!

See details at our post CPAs & Second Life featured at AICPA Tech plus Conference

A-list of accounting bloggers visit CPA Island to film music video

Remember “We are the World”? Well now we have “If I Were an Auditor”.

CPAs, Accountants, and some of the top bloggers in the accounting world came together earlier this week on CPA Island for the filming of the first second life accounting music video.

The video featured a year-long project from the creator, Edith Orenstein – chief blogger for Financial Executives International who signed on The Singing CPA, Steve Zelin, to produce the music and then MACPA(Maryland Association of CPAs) to produce the Second Life set and choreography on CPA Island in the virtual world of Second Life.

Read Edith’s post on FEI’s blog and a link to the video

Read the story behind the video here

The cast list was like a who’s who in accounting & finance including the following influential bloggers (many who experienced CPA Island and Second Life for the very first time).

Other cast members included members of MACPA’s Second Life team (yep, we actually have a team devoted to this): Dee Day, Marsha Draa, Mike Tobias, Megan Gratz, Andrew & Thomas Hood (Accounting student interns from Salisbury University). Steve Jackovitz from Resources Global was also part of the cast. He and Colleen joined Edith live at MACPA offices as they worked on final shooting scenes.

Check out the photos of the event here

For more information about MACPA’s work in Second Life visit our blog:

www.cpaisland.com

See our other videos about CPAs and Second Life:

Panel of our SL instructors on CPA Island featured at AICPA Tech + Conference
XBRL International broadcast from CPA Island

MDBIZEXPO showing mixed reality in Second Life

CPAs in Second Life– video that debutted at Association Leadership in the Digital Age