Inside The Mind Of Millennial Accountants + Infographic

Inside the mind of a millennial CPA - Blog Post image - 4

“Millennial Accountants don’t need to change. It’s us ‘Gray-Hairs’ who do.” – Ron Niemaszyk, CPA Firm Owner

From the surface, it just looks like millennial accountants are lazy, entitled brats who are expecting every company to create an engaging workplace with ping pong tables, putting green and free lunch meals provided daily.

But, when you dig a little deeper, as in almost all cases, you begin to unravel the true wants and desires of this generation. These “entitled brats” are actually highly educated, innovative and tech savvy professionals who are wanting to push business forward, not backwards.

Here is a fun way we deciphered through the millennial accountants’ statistics and created “Inside The Mind of A Millennial CPA” Infographic.

Check it out below.

Infographic - Inside the mind of a Millennial CPAs

Millennial Desires and Value In The Workplace

According to a recent Forbes article, “Millennials are having a positive impact on our culture, workplace and government and we should recognize them for their efforts and support them so they are able to help revive the economy and build a better world.”

Here are some key desires millennials accountants are holding on too:

  • Want to make a difference in the world
  • Have flexibility to do what they want, when they want to do it (i.e. Personal and Professional Autonomy)
  • Create unique sharable experiences (i.e spend time traveling, attend events, etc)
  • Enjoy what they do every day
  • Knowing when to say no

Millennials have the keen ability to adapt to the changing technology and make their own decisions as to when to turn on and off “work-mode”. In a 2011 accounting millennial study performed by the MOVE Project, they found that millennials want to invest in their careers at firms — on their own terms.

"Currently, my career plan is to start in public accounting but ultimately, I want to open my own firm, and a not-for-profit. I want public accounting to be my foundation," says Charnell Thweatt, honors accounting undergrad at Howard University. "Having a good accounting foundation leads to having a successful venture."

CPA Firms Are Missing The Mark

An Accounting Today article came out recently highlighting Grant Thornton’s new plan to increase flexibility within the workplace. The new flex benefit is set to allow Grant Thornton’s employees to take time off based off of their personal needs, instead of having a set PTO hours/days structure.

Per Grant Thornton's chief people and culture officer, Pamela Harless, “Our goal is to further enhance our culture of trust where employees are empowered to manage their own time, which allows them to return to work refreshed, with better ideas and solutions for clients. We believe our flex time off policy is the model for the professional services firm of the future.”

To be honest, this all sounds great for the Grant employees in theory. However, the reality looks more like the employees will wind up taking less PTO (as they no longer have a set amount they are allowed to take) which will reduce the overall flexibility at the firm.

“Firms tried this same plan with “Sick Days” benefits. Working as a millennial, I received 3 ‘Sick Days’ that I was allowed to utilize each year. However, the firm winded up changing the policy and taking away the sick days by adding 1 extra PTO day. The reality was 2 less days of PTO and a reduction in my overall flexibility,” said Mandy, a millennial CPA who left her public accounting career after a short 2 years.

Even Jody Padar, owner of New Vision CPA Group, chimed in on this discussion informing the Accounting Community that a “Beautiful Downtown Office” will not attract top talent. “I run an extremely progressive firm and I understand that I am not the norm, however, I believe most professionals would agree that flexibility, technology, and culture are far more important than a ‘beautiful downtown office.’”

It's Not Always About Money

Some of us Baby Boomers believe that if the right compensation is offered, that will attract and retain top talent. However, the truth is quite the opposite.

Dewanna, Millennial CPA from Georgia, said it perfectly: “Money did not factor in as to why I left my previous job. I was making $55k a year, working as a glorified AP clerk. I was bored out of my mind and saw no room to move up within the company. I knew I could do more with my skillset and intellect and decided to take on a more challenging career as a public accounting auditor (and making less money $51k).”

Millennial accountants are not just looking for the next pay raise. Instead, they want to work in a company environment that offers the following options:

  • Enjoy the people they work with
  • Have the opportunities to grow professionally
  • Freedom to open up their mouths and innovate
  • Stable financial career with option for future raises/bonuses
  • Flexibility to work when they want (flexible work arrangements/remote working)

Employers need to understand and prepare for the fact that job hunting has become the new normal with approximately 91% of the millennial generation expecting to stay in their job for less than 3 years.

So is the answer just to give up on attracting and retaining the millennial generation? Definitely not.

How To Keep Your High Performing Millennials

Here are some ways to attract and retain your high performing Millennial Accountants:

1 . Keep them in the loop (provide transparency and opportunity for them).

Examples include:
-Bring them along to client proposals/meetings
-Ask them to be involved in firm strategy meetings
-Ask for honest feedback about the firm/company from them through one-on-one lunch meetings

2. Provide awesome work perks/flexible work arrangements

Examples include:
-Give 1 month off for employee who want to travel (i.e. PwC’s sabbatical)
-Give employees the option to come in early, and leave early or come in late and leave late (whatever works best for them)
-Allow remote work (when needed and don't have to use a PTO day)

3. Highlight and praise awesome work with feedback and financial raises/bonuses

Examples include:
-Figure out if each of your employees are motivated by finances or positive feedback and hone in on that.
-Be transparent with praise (don't just say good job in person, send an email and cc their bosses/mentors)
-Be authentic and inspiring

4. Leverage your tech savvy millennials

Examples include:
-Integrate them into tech committees and software discussions
-Use them as testers and ask for feedback
-Bring up social media trends and request for their help in integrating the company into these new trends

It’s Time To Work Together

As a Boomer myself, I have begun to realize how to embrace the new Millennial generation into our workplace, instead of focusing how to change them completely.

Mona Wade, CPA and Baby Boomer said it best in her article here, “I think we should listen to the younger generation’s ideas and see if we can find a way to meet in the middle (or maybe even a little towards their side).’

‘Our skill and our experience can help them find answers and to gain skills, just as their technology skills and their view of the future can help us begin to build an exit strategy that works for us and for them. It is the future—theirs and ours—I think we should work on it together.”

It’s time to stop holding the Millennial generation back, but instead, push business forward by granting your Millennial Accountants the freedom and autonomy to do so.

When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute. - Simon Sinek


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