Millennials comprise the largest portion of the work force, and this generation continually adds its presence to accounting firms. As such, firms of all sizes must be aware of the expectations of millennials as employees and clients. Service delivery for clients should include many aspects of contemporary accounting technology so this younger generation stays up to date with financial data.
It Starts With Access
Accounting service delivery starts with access. Clients want to know the status of their books at any time and from any location with real-time access. Clients need to know payroll numbers, accounts receivable, sales and other key performance indicators at a moment's notice so they can make decisions that lead to more efficient operations, different sales strategies and larger profit margins. The speed of business is very fast in the global economy, and the expectations of millennials follow suit.
Giving clients access means remote software applications in the cloud. A firm's employees should be able to view a client's data in real time on a smartphone, mobile device or laptop. Cloud computing software is inexpensive enough that smaller firms can use these valuable tools to connect employees, clients and experts under one platform. Accountants of all ages should get used to working remotely under this business model.
Another issue facing accountants and the expectations of millennials is how multiple software systems may interfere with accounting technology. The payroll software may not integrate with accounts receivable. Sales modules and tools might be incompatible with everything else. How do clients resolve different programs under various departments that all affect a business's accounting? Many accounting programs attempt to rectify this issue by working with the common platforms companies use to track vital data. Investing in one of these is a way to prevent major issues later as accountants try to track where something went wrong on an audit.
One way to alleviate the concerns of employees is to give clients read-only access to financial statements. In this manner, someone from a company can log in to the system to view vital data analysis without changing any information. Again, this solves a problem of trying to track down a red flag during an audit alert. This keeps the expectations of millennials at the forefront by giving them access to information without changing the data remotely. As with any cloud software, accountants must ensure the access points to information have strong password protections and cybersecurity firewalls to prevent intrusions and data leaks.
Sometimes, the best way to solve a problem is to create your own tool. Some accounting firms may decide to meet the lofty expectations of millennials by creating their own software that unifies a company's books, gives everyone the remote access they need and provides a large measure of security. In this case, firms should consider a robust IT department or hire a programming team to create proprietary software from scratch.
In the end, each accounting firm must decide the most important course of action to exceed the expectations of millennials. As this younger generation takes over owning businesses, running financial departments and dealing with audits, firms should match the energy and innovation of these professionals by adopting high service standards.
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