How Does Your Generation Do Accounting?

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    With each new generation entering the workforce, day-to-day dynamics change, along with what employees expect and what motivates them.

    It’s important for a CEO to know how each generation—from Baby Boomers to Millennials—approaches and executes accounting, and how you can curate processes to fit into the framework of a Millennial. After all, by 2025, 75% of accounting employees will fall under the “Millennial” category.

    It’s high time we hone in on what Millennials are looking for in order to bolster your current and future accounting efforts. But first, let’s delve into how other generations perceive accounting, and how this fits into a cohesive workforce.

    Generational Differences at a Glance

    Many experts divide the generations into these 4 main categories:

    • Traditional/Silent (1900-1945): Values family and community and a hard work ethic; age = seniority; company-first mindset
    • Baby Boomers (1946-1964): Values success; workaholics; quality and focus on relationships and results
    • Generation X (1965-1980): Values time; about saving money; work smarter not longer; self-reliant; will test authority
    • Millennials (1981-2000): Values individuality; has a “what’s next?” mentality; lots of tenacity; integrated with technology

    This chart does a great and thorough job outlining influencers, core values, attributes, work ethic, and so on.

    Let’s tie this into how each generation functions in the accounting industry, and the ways this can affect the business.

    Accounting per Generation

    For the sake of this article, let’s assume that everyone is a product of his or her upbringing and the environment her or she grew up in. As a result, the manner in which accounting departments are run has changed rapidly throughout the years. The main evolution here has been the switch from paper to digital storage and automation.

    Millennials are of course accustomed to this switch, as many grew up in the age of the Internet, but Baby Boomers and Gen Xers have a more difficult time adapting to new systems and processes. Since these generations weren’t immersed in technology, they may be more reliant on older, more traditional means.

    That said, their robust knowledge of past accounting efforts and records remains an invaluable contribution to the department that shouldn’t be overlooked.

    This discrepancy in being tech savvy doesn’t mean Millennials can’t work with older generations; in fact, technology can help unify the efforts across all generations and ensure our future is set up for success.

    Readying Your Accounting Department for Millennials

    Contrary to popular belief, Millennials are ambitious and hungry – they’re hard workers, and are jumping at the chance to prove themselves in the workforce.

    In the accounting field in particular, they’re ready to do whatever it takes to simplify processes and collaborate with their superiors in order to create the best experience possible, all while increasing efficiency and productivity.

    This can happen with accounts payable processes and measuring the right key performance indicators (KPIs) that will drive business success.

    You can help them with this by:

    • Offering chances for upward progression, including training and certifications. 65% of Millennials have said personal development is the most significant factor in their current job, so open as many doors as possible for them, and they’ll keep learning and progressing for you.
    • Give opportunities for them to learn from older generations and to be mentored. This will ensure your more seasoned workers feel valued and can properly instill the right company values and priorities for their younger counterparts.
    • Work with them on implementing a comprehensive document management system, where the low, menial tasks can be streamlined, and your Millennial workers can take on more high-level, rewarding (and potentially profitable) projects (you can accomplish this with proper Robotic Accounting Automation, or RAA).
    • Open the door for them to get your name out on social media – as this can help establish connections on LinkedIn or even update your platforms to be uniform across the board – it’s things like this that can take your business to the next level and allow you to be digitally “in the game.”

    To find out more about accounting technology that will help your Millennial workforce thrive, we invite you to download this free whitepaper, “What is Robotic Accounting Automation?

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