Accounting for Millennials

Accounting for Millennials Share

Many of our students here at Reed Business School are millennials, and it’s been well documented how different this generation are from those that went before. While a recent study shows that millennials are more inclined to be saving money than anyone else, this generation are also said to be killing home ownership, the diamond trade, and even the breakfast cereal business. So how can today’s accountancy students and firms begin to get their heads around what millennials will need from their accountants over the next 20 years?

The changing face of accounting

Business and accounting have always had to adapt, and those businesses that have been most successful over the years are those that have moved with the times. Today, accounting firms that have their eye on the future are adapting to a new generation of clients, as well as a new generation of workforce.

Millennials are now starting more businesses, managing bigger staffs, and targeting higher profits than their baby boomer predecessors, according to the 2016 BNP Paribas Global Entrepreneur Report. In addition, millennials are discovering entrepreneurship significantly earlier than the baby boomer generation did. They may be the startup CEOs of the present, but will also become the business leaders of the future, and the way this generation chooses to operate in the business world is set to become the new normal.

Therefore, accounting professionals need to adapt their offering towards this new client group, and understand what makes them tick. Easier said than done…

Technology, research, mobility

Business software developer Sage have recently conducted some in-depth research into millennial professionals, with a view to supporting accountancy firms on how best to service and provide satisfactory employment for this generation.  One of their key findings was millennials’ preference for innovative mobile software products of all kinds. Indeed, 41% of those surveyed believe that technology will make the concept of “your desk” defunct and that, in the future, everyone will work through a mobile device.

Some findings from the research however, go to show that millennials are a diverse bunch with varying needs, with some surprising preferences. The report also uncovers the barriers – some already well known, others much less so – that entrepreneurs of this generation face daily around the world, and explores how these can be overcome. For example, 62% of young entrepreneurs claim that despite technology constantly evolving, they do not worry about keeping up.

Looking forward

Millennials have a huge role to play in the start-up economy and are now shaping the wider modern workplace at great pace. Moreover, the share of wealth controlled by millennials is set to rise to over $10 trillion in the US alone by 2030.

Accountants and bookkeepers will be advising a growing share of millennials in the coming years, while firms will also be employing more. Therefore, it’s crucial for future business leaders and accountants to take the time now to understand what drives this generation in terms of attitudes to technology, values, and motivation, in order to stay competitive in the long term.

The full report from Sage (which we think is well worth a read) is available to download via Accountancy Age – just be prepared to enter your email address and phone number to access it.

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