Much has been written about millennials and the workplace. Given their worldview and what they value some have questioned their suitability for some professions. So, are millennials and accounting good for each other?
Believe it or not the answer is yes.
You would be forgiven for thinking that accounting would be the last profession in which millennials could prosper. But their characteristics are in line with what the profession offers and what it needs to do to evolve and thrive.
Millennials want their work to have meaning. They want to work with and for companies that prioritize community service and giving back. For example, Beta Alpha Psi (The Int’l honor Org for Financial Information Students and Professionals). While reviewing the scholarship applicants for the 2015 Foundation of AFWA’s Scholarship Program, there was a resounding trend among the students. Many of the applicants cited in their application essays that they believed they could make a difference in the lives of others through accounting.
More than half of the applicants valued an opportunity to give back through the profession – supporting nonprofits, empowering women and minorities, promoting financial literacy, encouraging small businesses, and enforcing social responsibility among businesses were all popular sentiments among the applicants. They see accounting as an avenue to these ends.
Millennials use technology like no other generation before them. The internet is older than many of them and some have never known a world without it. They have grown up with social media, smart phones, and tablets. This is good news for accounting. First, as we’ve discussed previously, new technology is affecting accounting as much or more than most professions. So millennials affinity for tech makes them attractive as potential hires. Second, this will help force firms to embrace new technology as their staffs will be much more comfortable with it and will want to work for places that value it.
Quality of Life
According to a recent survey by Price Waterhouse Coopers, 95 percent of millennial respondents said work-life balance was important to them when evaluating job prospects. Time and again they will say they’ll go somewhere else if they don’t feel they have a flexible work lifestyle. In addition, they:
- They value productivity rather than working a set amount of hours.
- Want to work smarter not harder.
- Use technology to reduce the time it takes to do things is important..
- Use latest tech to enable communication is important as well (Ex: social media).
This gets back to their facility with technology. As discussed in a previous post, the software programs of today and the movement of computing into the cloud enable working remotely like never before. Also, accounting affords one the ability to freelance and take project work more than a lot of other professions. The combination of these things satisfy the desires listed above and exert a pull on millennials when they are choosing a career.