Millennial business owners tend to handle their jobs differently from those in previous generations. According to the 2016 BNP Paribas Global Entrepreneur Report, millennials launch an average of eight companies compared to just 3.5 for their older counterparts. They enjoy a profit margin of 35 percent, and their investment volumes have increased 12 percent over 12 months. Millennial entrepreneurs and business owners are a powerful group that every company should be aware of.
If you’re providing accounting services to millennials, you need to know how they think. A Bill.com study revealed that these clients are looking for a wider range of services than previous generations of business owners. They’re more likely to utilize everything from bookkeeping to bill payments. Keep a keen eye on what they’re after, and you can find smart and profitable ways to customize your accounting packages to serve up exactly what the millennial generation needs.
Finances Based in the Cloud
Millennial business owners tend to see paper-based services as the unwieldy and near-extinct beasts they are. Eighty-two percent of millennial business owners said they would be “pleased” or “very pleased” to have paperless accounting services. One survey respondent commented that “We live in a digital world where everything has moved to the cloud. Filing and storing paper is cumbersome and unnecessary.”
If you’re assisting a client who’s just transitioning to paper-free money management, you can begin by setting up a smart scanning service that will convert older paper documents to cloud-based digital copies, so space-consuming file cabinets can begin migrating out of the office environment. Accounting firms should strive to keep all new documentation and services digital, from digital bill payments to electronically signed documents.
Annual Tax Services
Tax management is a top accounting service sought after by business owners in all age groups. Eighty-three percent of business owners under the age of 39 are looking for a professional firm to handle their taxes. According to NerdWallet, millennials are particularly concerned with tax issues. Eighty percent of millennial taxpayers worry about preparing taxes properly.
When you’re providing tax services to millennials, you’ll find that they’re happiest when topics are approached in layman’s terms and explained thoroughly. Millennials like to know what’s going on and have it communicated to them clearly. They also look for firms with experience in their specific industry. Emphasize the tax considerations for the company’s specific niche to make the strongest connection with these clients.
Strategic Financial Advice
Millennials are looking for more than simple services from their accounting firms. They want professionals who can offer valuable advice and insights. This is particularly important as it pertains to technology. Millennial business owners want to know about the latest tech innovations as they relate to finances and accounting tasks. They’re more likely to seek out recommendations for the best software or take advantage of training services that will better equip in-house staff to manage their financial responsibilities.
Nearly a quarter of business owners between the ages of 31 and 39 are looking for these types of tech-related services, compared to just 8 percent of business owners age 56 and older and 16 percent of those aged 40 to 55. If you’re catering to millennial clients, make sure you’re talking with them about the innovative possibilities available with cutting-edge technology and modern accounting programs.
The same millennial demographic – business owners in their thirties – also wants invoicing services from their accounting firms. Keeping with this audience’s penchant for cloud-based and high-tech options, it’s best to offer sleek e-invoicing solutions that emphasize simplicity.
Millennials have a low learning curve when it comes to new technology, and they like to stay on top of recent developments. This means you’ll need to address the latest security threats, explain how you’re staying up-to-date with encryption methods, and prove that your invoicing services are as secure as they are streamlined and simple.
Help with Bookkeeping
Just 30 percent of business owners age 56 and older use an accounting firm for their bookkeeping. However, millennials feel differently, with 54 percent taking advantage of professional bookkeeping through an accounting company.
Using an outside firm for bookkeeping, millennial business owners can free their in-house staff from tasks such as recording receipts, verifying invoices, and processing employees’ pay stubs. Bookkeeping goes together with many tax services, which might explain why millennials are more eager to hand over this task. Integrated services and technologies are particularly appealing to millennials. Accounting firms should emphasize the benefits of keeping bookkeeping and tax services together to boost utilization of both among their millennial clients.
Quick and Accessible Digital Communications
Millennials look for accounting firms that respond to them quickly. Timely communication was ranked as a critical accounting firm trait by 72 percent of millennial business owners. Forty-two percent feel strongly about using a professional who can translate complex concepts into understandable reports. Clear and prompt reports will impress these clients. One millennial survey respondent noted being impressed when “the new accounting firm created an accurate forecast and weekly budgeting model.” Offer this type of service, and you can build strong, lasting relationships.
When it comes to handling communications, email is by far the preferred method. Nearly two-thirds of business owners age 30 and under prefer to rely on email, while this is true of 61 percent of those ages 31 to 39. Make sure you’re readily accessible by email and respond in a timely manner to keep millennial clients satisfied.
If you have an interest in accounting, you can join the workforce of dedicated professionals who are helping millennials manage money in their business efforts. The New England College – Master of Science in Accounting Online program will give you the strong background you need to communicate with information-hungry millennials. With an online Master’s of Accounting, you can study on your schedule as you prepare for your new career.