Millennials aren’t just aimless young people. With the oldest members of the generation currently in their early-to-mid thirties, they represent the future of commerce — one that no accounting firm can afford to ignore.
So, what do we know about Millennials and how they like to do business?
Consider the following realizations about Millennials. They:
- Start business younger. Simply put, your next client is likely to be a Millennial. Millennials are more interested in entrepreneurship and self-employment than previous generations, and they’re starting earlier than ever.
- Spend less than previous generations. Regardless of the reasons behind Millennials’ penny-pinching behavior, recognize that this generation is more thoughtful than others about what they spend and where that money goes.
- Expect positive corporate citizenship. If your firm doesn’t yet have a corporate ethics policy, it’s time to start thinking about what you stand for and how you can communicate your beliefs.
- Are distrustful of corporate altruism. Don’t pursue charity solely for the sake of swaying Millennials. Find a cause your organization can get behind.
- Say price is a big factor in decision making. Being competitive is important, but a race to the bottom in terms of accounting pricing serves nobody.
- Love a good deal. Set-in-stone rates may be the norm in the accounting world, but shaking things up with limited-time deals or package-based discounts can be a boon for winning the business of Millennials.
- Expect to use multiple communication channels. Providing proper support via phone and email is still important. But Millennials are driving an expansion of the channels we associate with customer support.
- Trust online reviews. The importance of online reviews should mean several different things to accounting firms. First, it’s necessary to build the infrastructure on which online reviews can be left by claiming business profiles on popular sites like Google Business and Yelp.
- Overwhelmingly don’t have credit cards. Millennials’ wariness of taking on debt limits the payment options available to them in the event of big purchases. So, credit cards can’t be your only avenue for taking payment.
- Are more likely to save up for big purchases. Although data is limited into whether or not Millennials’ personal savings strategies translate to their financial decisions or business processes, accountants and firm owners should be wary of the risk this behavior presents.
Ultimately, Millennials aren’t that different from previous generations. If you treat them with respect and offer the service models and payment options they prefer, you’ll find the transition from baby boomer to Millennial clients to be a smooth one.