The world of accounting, bookkeeping and financial planning has a strong foundation in traditional business practices. However, the needs of the market are changing, with millennials making up more than a third of the global workforce. A third of millennials also own a small business. This demographic comes with its own set of expectations for technology and accessibility. Adjusting your business to cater to this ever-growing customer base is going to take an active, innovative – and mostly digital – approach.
Millenials Need to Be Informed and Connected
While many owners and managers of online accounting firms are themselves millennials, the industry overall is still lagging behind in its use of available solutions such as fully remote practices or tax platforms.
Meanwhile, millennials have already built successful businesses in many industries, including some of the most influential brands. They also represent a higher percentage of self-employed individuals than in any generation before them. It might make sense to expand beyond the boundaries of “what’s always been done” and step into the digital world.
What do millennials need? A seamless process and teams that can deliver not just results, but value. Communication is highly important to this demographic: they want to be an integral part of the process and stay informed every step of the way. When it comes to millennials and taxes, they expect a more hands-on approach and flexible accessibility that extends beyond the nine-to-five. If you can accommodate these needs, you can attract and retain this demographic.
What Do Millennials Expect from Accountants?
In the world of big data, business owners are more in tune with both the overall picture and the single-transaction minutiae than they ever have been before. Analysis of this type of information fuels the strategic insight that helps them make important business decisions both in their day-to-day operations and for their long-term goals. For this reason, they expect more than emails and Excel spreadsheets from their accounting firm.
Millennial business owners need an accounting and bookkeeping partner that makes this type of strategic planning simple. They expect multiple sets of data targeted to specific needs including their own, and those of their stakeholders and employees. They expect their accountant to be able to parse data and make conclusions – something that can be done easily with the help of accounting software.
As a generation that grew up with technology, millennials expect an online accounting firm that is well-versed in tech and armed with a technological solution for its clients such as an app. They are used to hyper-connectedness, which means 24/7 access to your firm. Transition from the traditional business hours to a model where the clients can contact you digitally at any hour, and they will appreciate it.
Building Strong Professional Relationships with Millennials
Figuring out what millennial business owners need is half the problem: the next challenge is how to deliver what it is they need and meet or even exceed their expectations. Making some minor changes to your existing operations and offerings may be worth the time, with attracting a new-generation demographic as a reward.
Offer a wider range of services – Some accounting and bookkeeping professionals are highly specialized – because they don’t have the time to expand and grow. With millennials wanting a full range of services, it might be the time to scale your accounting firm. One possible solution for doing so is cutting down on the tools you use and switching to an all-in-one solution such as TaxDome where you can automate tasks, manage your team and free up your time to grow your business. Another benefit of automation is that it leaves you time to foster mutually beneficial ongoing relationships with your clients.
Go fully digital – If you haven’t gone paperless yet, now is a good time to incorporate it into your business practices. It is also more environmentally conscious and sustainable, which are two things millennials care about in a big way. Of course, data security is a key aspect of the process – and with TaxDome, you can expect both fully secure data and messaging, as well as unlimited cloud storage. Using automatic invoices, and sending clients documents and contracts with e-signatures not only makes you a user-friendly firm for them, but also helps with organizing the processes of your accounting or bookkeeping firm.
Increase remote communication – Whether we like it or not, sitting down across the desk from someone to have a professional conversation is a thing of the past. Think text messages and video calls. Platforms for accounting and bookkeeping professionals do just that: for example, TaxDome allows syncing your email and communicating directly from its portal with clients via chats. In addition, all of your team members can see the communications, and the messages you send to your clients – such as reminders – can be personalized and automated. Not only does this allow you to have all of your client communications in one place, but it speeds up the process of keeping your clients up to date. It also lets your millennial clients communicate comfortably at any time, which is how they are used to communicating with companies.
As the number of businesses owned by millennials continues to grow, there are more and more opportunities for you as a provider of accounting and bookkeeping services to engage with them. Twenty percent of millennials would not recommend their accountant, and a staggering 50% are looking to replace them. That offers a huge opportunity: if you can cater to their needs and meet their expectations, engaging them in ways they appreciate, your firm can grab – and keep – the attention and the business of these clients. And while implementing such a wide range of changes might be time-consuming and require an initial investment, you can optimize your resources by turning to an all-in-one platform such as TaxDome that offers a complete suite of features to establish strong and long-lasting relationships with millennials. In the long run, organizing and automating your services delivers a better product to your clients, especially those with an appreciation for digital solutions.
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