The millennial generation, born between 1977 and the early 2000s, are making their mark on the world as successful business owners and keen entrepreneurs.
The group, representing more than 75m people in the UK, are creative, confident, and very comfortable with technology. They work in new, digitally-focused ways, and require services to match this.
Bill.com has surveyed over 1,000 business owners, highlighting what millennials look for in accountants and how firms can adapt their services to meet their millennial clients’ preferences.
Why are millennials attractive clients?
Millennials currently make up 35% of the workforce, according to a report by KPMG. In the UK alone, the number of people under 35 starting up a business has risen by as much as 70% in the last five years.
Almost a third of millennial business owners surveyed have companies that generate between $1.1m and $25m in annual revenue – highlighting the growth potential of millennial clients, and accountancy firms.
Building strong relationships with millennial clients also brings long-term benefits. Gaining the loyalty of one millennial-led business could lead to opportunities across multiple businesses in future years, with millennial businesses tending to remain loyal to their accounting firm.
How can businesses attract more millennial clients?
1. Go paperless
Paper-based accounting systems should be left in the past, especially if firms are trying to build a larger millennial client base. Millennials prefer digital systems, with 82% of those surveyed saying they would be “pleased” or “very pleased” if their accounting firm went paperless. Ditching the paper has never been easier, with products like Receipt Bank’s scanner app enabling clients to snap receipts and invoices quickly.
2. Be strategic
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.
More than half of the millennials surveyed said that they wanted firms that provided strategic insight and guidance for their business.
However, if accountancy firms are time pressured to provide advice to clients right now, automating document collection and data extraction can free up a large chunk of time for the practice. Not only is it less work for the accountant; automation can provide an up-to-date stream of information from clients that can be used to provide valuable insight.
3. Embrace social
Clients who are 30 are five times more likely than those over 30 to look for an accountant on social media. As younger potential clients are therefore more likely to be looking for an accountant in less traditional places, firms need to ensure that they are visible.
Accounting firms, as well as nurturing their referral networks, should therefore grow their online presence through SEO, social media, and digital advertising.
4. Offer subscription pricing
Millennials have grown up with subscription services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, with more than half of under 30s preferring monthly flat rates. Moreover, as processes become more automated, the amount of time spent on tasks is declining, meaning that timesheets are not sustainable.
Fixed-fee, monthly pricing is therefore ideal for both millennial business owners and firms.
5. Prioritise communication
Two of the most commonly discussed millennial traits are their love of communication and their short attention spans. Accountancy firms need to take these into account when pitching and selling to millennial business owners. Keep jargon to a minimum and translate complex financial concepts into more simple terminology when speaking with clients.
What next for accounting firms?
Prioritising these five steps will help accounting firms to attract and retain millennial customers.
To win their business, accounting firms must tailor their pitches and services to meet these specific needs and preferences of millennial business owners.
Ignoring millennials might put a dent in your firm’s growth, especially when research from Deloitte suggests they will make up 75% of the global workforce by 2020.
Find out more about how Receipt Bank can help you adapt your firm for millennial clients and drive business success.