Millennial accountants – going solo?

Millennial accountants – going solo? Share

Today, employers are more closely observing the professional behaviour of millennials. What motivates them, how to recruit them, and how best to manage them are among the questions to which employers seek answers. Millennials’ work ethic and loyalty to employers have been heavily criticised in recent years, but new figures on the number of young directors shed some interesting light on how this generation views the world of work.


Lazy and disloyal?

Recent figures, published by Moore Stephens, suggest that the number of people born between 1981 and 1996 establishing their own companies increased by 37% in 2018 to 56,000. So given the negative perception of this generation as lazy and disloyal, what does such substantial growth in this respect mean?


The contemporary graduate job market is a tough one, especially following the problems faced by the banking sector in 2007-2008. Many millennials find it challenging to secure a job, as negative stereotyping by employers can lead to their talent being overlooked. When Gen Y professionals do manage to land jobs, they often jump ship soon after discovering that employers don’t have their interests at heart, that they aren’t socially responsible, and/or that they can’t provide expected opportunities for professional development and advancement.


In accountancy, however, things are a little different – talent remains in relatively short supply and unemployment levels are generally low. For that reason, competent millennial accountants wield greater power than their counterparts in other professions, and savvy accountancy firms invest a great deal in understanding what makes young accountants tick. This attracts the most dependable and capable employees, who are given the space for growth that they crave and who can command highly competitive salaries.


Staying power

The upshot is that few accountants employed by the most effective firms wish to leave in order to strike out on their own. However, doing so may still be an appealing option for those working for unfair pay and without scope to climb the corporate ladder. Organisations may find themselves haemorrhaging employees if they fail to offer considerable job variety, work/life balance, job stability and growth opportunities, or if their values, mission and vision are ambiguous.


‘Gigging’ accountants

It is now easier than ever for an accountant – or any millennial, for that matter – to make an independent living. The 35% rise in entrepreneurship seen this year has been made possible primarily by decreased launch costs. There is now improved access to more affordable coworking office space, which accounted for 4.5% of all office space in London in 2017 – a rise of 2.8% from 2007. Up-front IT costs are now also much lower as the result of an upsurge in both cloud computing and “software as a service.”


In addition to a better landscape for start-ups in terms of costs, motivation stems from elsewhere. In a growing gig economy, millennials are increasingly given the chance to assess what it’s like to be their own boss. On top of this, the success stories from the last generation of entrepreneurs have provided young people with the encouragement they need to get out there and make it on their own.


So, if you’re a millennial accountant and either stuck working for a firm that doesn’t appreciate your worth or struggling to navigate the industry, then why not consider setting up your own business? It might not be as difficult as you thought – at least 56,000 other millennials have given it a go! But as with all career moves, we strongly recommend doing your research thoroughly first.

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