If you are born between 1980 and 1995, you are a part of the generation called Millennials. In 2015, millennials have surpassed Generation X as the largest generation in the US workforce. Therefore, if you want to manage your accounting firm effectively, you have to understand millennial accounting professionals and their impact on the industry.
In the past decade, millennials have been the topic of many discussions, and much has been said about them in the media. How do we separate fact from fiction?
To better understand the future of accounting profession, it’s important that we take a look at the largest group in our workforce. Here are five common myths that have been perpetuated in the past, and new evidence refuting these.
Myth #1: They are not willing to put in extra hours at work.
In a survey conducted by PwC, their Millennial employees have said that their work gets in the way of their personal life. This does not mean that they cannot be trusted to work overtime when needed.
Many of the Millennial professionals surveyed by PwC value work-life balance. They are not convinced that their personal lives are worth sacrificing just so they can advance their career.
Myth #2: They’re obsessed with technology and prefer to stay online all the time.
Many millennials are connected 24/7 to the Internet. They grew up with computers, and have learned to use the Internet for their social and educational needs. Despite having digital lives, they still prefer human interaction.
It should also be noted that millennials do not necessarily want to do everything online. For instance, they prefer attending conferences and classroom training programs in learning new skills.
In addition, millennials are tech-savvy, and can therefore play a major role in preparing your firm for advanced accounting technology.
Myth #3: They can’t last in any job that doesn’t fulfill their passions.
Many employers fear that hiring Millennials could be costly, as they are more prone to switch jobs than any other age group. About a third of millennials have had at least five jobs. However, their decision to leave a job is not always about pursuing a more exciting job prospect.
In fact, millennials have similar reasons for jumping ship as other generations. In a survey conducted by IBM, the top reasons for leaving were more money and a more creative workplace (42% of Millennials, 47% of Gen-Xers, and 42% of Baby Boomers).
Myth #4: Millennials don’t like rigid rules.
Several recent surveys have shown that flexibility is one of the perks that can be used to attract millennial talent. This is true for millennials in any field, particularly in accounting. For this reason, some firms have relaxed their dress codes and allowed their employees to dictate their work hours.
It’s not so much because millennials hate rules, but more of their desire to achieve work-life balance that they look for this feature in a workplace. As such, CFOs and accounting firms should recognize how flexibility can be used to engage their millennial workforce. Accounting technology, such as cloud-based software, can be used to promote work-life balance.
Myth #5: Millennials have different priorities from the older generations.
Some managers think that most millennials have different expectations and goals for their career than other generations. However, millennial accounting professionals, as in any industry, have the same professional goals as older employees.
In the above mentioned survey by IBM, respondents from three generations were found to place much the same weight on many career goals, such as making a positive impact on their organization (25% of Millennials, 21% of Gen-Xers, and 23% of Baby Boomers), helping solve social and/or environmental challenges (22% of Millennials, 20% of Gen-Xers, and 24% of Baby Boomers), and working with a diverse group of people (22% of Millennials, 22% of Gen-Xers, and 21% of Baby Boomers).
How Millennials Will Impact the Accounting Profession
Like any other generation before them, millennials will continue to make an impact on the finance and accounting industry. In the past, professionals who provide accounting and financial services have shown reluctance to adopt new technologies. Millennials are different; having grown up using new tools and technologies such as the cloud, they can be an asset in any forward-looking organization.
Want to read more about the direction where our organizations are headed? Learn more about the future of professional work in our free whitepaper, The Future of the Professions. Download your copy today and find out how technology will shape society and transform the work of professionals.