In my time at the firm, we have revolutionized how we approach our business and our clients. Like it or not, my generation is “coming of age” in the business world. Currently, the millennial generation (born between 1980 and 2000) make up 25% of the workforce. By, 2020 my generation is projected to make up HALF of the workforce. The millennial generation is the largest since the Baby-Boomers and the preferences, desires, and perspective of my generation tend to differ significantly from that of prior generations. How can we as ProAdvisors grow to service this new wave of prospective clients?
When we, as QuickBooks ProAdvisors, meet new clients it is analogous to interviewing for a job with the client. With that in mind, I believe it fruitful to explore what a Millennial desires in the workplace. Armed with that knowledge, we can extrapolate and infer our best strategy when meeting with prospective Millennial clients. Compared to prior generation's preferences on their workplace, millennials:
- desire a greater balance between work and their personal lives.
- prefer to communicate electronically rather than via phone or in person.
- weigh the ability of a job to provide personal growth with greater importance than financial compensation.
- identify with branding and prefer to work for companies whose brand aligns with their own individual brand.
- see technology as a conduit for an efficient and effective workflow.
- prefer less structure, but more communication/collaboration from their colleagues and bosses.
- like to be mentored.
- desire a comfortable work environment with flexible hours.
In short, millennials desire the ability to work with people they like, when they like, and in a manner that makes sense to a “digital native” who grew up immersed in technology and information.
Now, given our knowledge of millennials’ workplace preferences, we can extrapolate and infer how we should approach a millennial in a business setting and how we should structure accounting systems. We can inherently see that a typical, structured, approach is not desirable. Millennials want the people who they work with to be like them. My generation wants to see that you see the value in being yourself, that who you are as an individual is reflected in your professional life, that you know, understand, and utilize all technologies that are available because we grew up constantly learning new devices. We want you to work with us as opposed to for us, and want the flexibility to be able to work where and when we want.
How do we, as ProAdvisors meet this demand? We embrace the firm of the future. The firm of the future not only makes us more efficient for our existing, established clientele, but it makes you marketable to a generation who in 5 years will make up half of the nation’s working population. A ProAdvisor’s accounting system must be flexible in space and time, efficient, and offer as much automation as is possible because that is how the millennial generation inherently works with technology and data. A ProAdvisor should be approachable, set-up the client/advisor relationship as that of pupil/accounting coach or mentor, and constant feedback should be occurring. Without the combination of these two things, it would be difficult for a ProAdvisor to attract clientele from the Millennial generation.
Often at Scaling New Heights conferences, we are presented with the notion of the firm of the future and the role of the trusted advisor. The firm of the future is put within the context of efficiency. While, the role of the trusted advisor is often extolled for its virtues within existing relationships. I like to take these ideas and run with them. Based upon my knowledge of my generation, a “firm of the future” combined with the role of the trusted advisor should be a ProAdvisor’s marketing approach when dealing with anyone, but specifically the millennial generation. Millennial business people want their accountant to be approachable, be themselves, understand technology, and to be their accounting coach.
David Gargiulo is an economist and QuickBooks Pro-Advisor. He is a proud member of the
millennial generation and is carrying on the family tradition working for his parents firm National Tax, Accounting and Fianancial in St. Petersburg, FL.