And just as they have a preferred shade of pink, they also have strong opinions about what they want in an accountant, according to the fantastic 2017 Millennial Business Owner-Accounting Firm Survey by Bill.com. Here are five ways you can adapt your accounting services for millennial clients.
1. Ditch the paper
Storing paper receipts and invoices is time-consuming, space-consuming and inefficient. While the industry is slowly moving away from the paper business model, firms who are angling for millennial clients should do it sooner rather than later.
It turns out that millennial business owners much prefer digital-only accounting. In fact 82% indicating that they would feel “very pleased” or “pleased” if their accounting firm offered paperless services.
Luckily, going paperless has never been easier or more affordable. Receipt Bank's award-winning receipt scanner app lets your client just snap receipts and invoices the moment they get the. We extract the key data and send it to you with the image of the document, while they can just throw the receipt itself away.
2. Go beyond compliance
The first members of the millennial generation can be anywhere between 32 and 40 – not an uncommon time to be starting their own business after climbing the career ladder for a few years. When it comes to choosing an accountant, they're looking for someone who can be a partner for them in this new venture.
52% of those surveyed who were 39 and younger said they wanted a firm that provided strategic insight and guidance for their business.
If you don't have time to provide advice to your clients at the moment, automating your document collection and data extraction can free up a huge chunk of time for your practice. Not only is it less work for you, but Receipt Bank gives you an up-to-date stream of information from your clients that you can use to provide valuable insights.
3. Be more social
The younger the potential client, the more likely they are to be looking for an accountant in less traditional places. You need to make sure your firm is visible.
Word of mouth is still important for millennial clients, but not as much as it was for the older generation. 79% of business owners 65 and over preferred to go on personal referrals, but that drops to 64% for under 30s.
Under 30s are nearly five times more likely than those over 30 to look for an accountant on social media. Since this is an area where accountants and bookkeepers are still figuring out the rules, this is a great chance to get ahead of the game. If you need some tips, check out a great interview I did with bookkeeper and social-savant Stacey Price, where she shares her advice for accountants and bookkeepers on social media.
4. Price like Netflix
Subscription services are the norm for this generation. Aside from obvious examples like Netflix and Amazon Prime, there are also subscriptions for honey, beef jerky and actual witchcraft supplies. Accounting services should be the same.
More than half of under 30s prefer monthly flat rates and 31% prefer fixed fees. Only 14% prefer hourly billing.
Fixed-fee, monthly pricing is perfect for cloud accountants for a number of reasons (which I detailed here) but one of the biggest is that timesheets just aren't sustainable. As more tasks become automated, the number of hours you spend on each task is going to decline, and with that your billing.
Mel Power does a great job of saying why the timesheet has had it's day here. Read that one after your done signing up for all those new subscription services above.
5. Make communication a priority
Two of the most commonly discussed millennial traits are their love of communication ("They're always texting") and their short attention spans ("They're aways texting!"). You need to make sure your services take that into account.
When ranking critical accounting firm traits, 72% put "Responds to my communications in a timely manner" first. And when you do talk, keep the jargon to a minimum. 42% want an accountant that can translate complex financial concepts into terminology and reporting they can understand.
The point of adapting your accounting services for millenial clients
These steps might seem like a lot of work, but when almost one-third of the millennial business owners lead companies with $1.1 million to more than $25 million in revenue each year, this is not a market you want to miss.
Or you can just make your logo millennial pink. That might work too.