Certified Public Accountant Gary M. Kaplan, C.P.A., P.A.
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Millennials are The Future of Accounting Firms

Jan 29th 2018
Certified Public Accountant Gary M. Kaplan, C.P.A., P.A.
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As the millennial generation comes of age, businesses, both large and small, are adapting to the unique needs of this generation. Unlike the baby boomers, whose needs and attitudes have shaped business models for decades, millennials define success far more broadly than wealth, income, and career advancement. They are more apt to chuck the traditional notion of retirement in favor of many sabbaticals over a lifetime. A majority aspire to business ownership instead of the corner office. More than 25 percent are already self-employed.

Many accountants overlook this generation. For one thing, millennials have not had time to accumulate much wealth compared to older generations. For another thing, millennial's financial goals and outlook fit different financial models. Some accountants may think this means millennials are poor business prospects.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Millennials are already garnering huge incomes, especially in areas like I.T. This means huge tax liabilities. Many need a tax accountant for the first time in their lives. High rates of self-employment and a differing definition of retirement mean unique retirement saving's needs, something outside a company sponsored 401(K). 

Accountants who start gaining a millennial client base now can look forward to handsome future rewards. As the next generation of business owners, millennials stand to be the generation making the big dollars in the next decades. Business owners, unlike many corporate workers, need their own accountants and need a lot more accounting services. Millennials also stand to inherit wealth from their baby boomer parents. All this adds up to big millennial business for accountants.

In fact, an Accenture study indicates that millennials will gain $30 to $40 trillion in wealth transfers from the boomer generation in the next 30 to 40 years. By 2020, they will be the largest client group.

How can accountants tap into this vital client base?

Understanding millennial motivation cannot be understated. They plan to work for many employers over their lifetimes, or for many employers and themselves, along with becoming business owners. Much of this trend results from the millennial attitude that life planning should center around experiences rather than wealth accumulation. Money is a means to the end of gaining experience, not the goal.

This means millennial clients need financial strategies tailored to achieving their unique objectives. There is no one size fits all. Millennials need to work with people that listen to their personal objectives and propose solutions that achieve them. Accountants should expect millennial's objectives to differ markedly from their parent's.

Helping millennials meet more short-term objectives, such as paying off debt and saving to buy a house, takes precedent over long-range planning like a distant retirement. Millennials are unwilling to defer life goals. They figure if they fail to seize life's opportunities now, they will live to regret their lost time and opportunity.

Finding financial models that suit the millennials gains their trust. When accountants provide experiential advice that helps millennials achieve their dreams, they become trusted advisors. This means repeat business. Repeat business that keeps coming back for the next 30 or 40 years.

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