Managing the Millennial Accountant: Inspiring them to work (and not quit)

A lot has been written about the Millennial generation, and their approach to the workplace. Like it or not, more than 30% of the US workforce is now comprised of Millennials. And if calculations play out, by 2020 that number will be nearly half. Millennials are known for approaching their jobs very differently than their parents–they embrace different tools, they communicate in ways inherent to their generation, and they clearly have different professional goals and expectations.

Managing and motivating them has proven challenging for Baby Boomers and GenXers alike, including myself. The reality that the average Millennial will quit their job in just two years underscores that there’s got to be a better way to blend experience with innovation, and to leverage the strengths every skill set contributes ̶ regardless of generation ̶ to deliver added value and efficiency to our respective organizations.

Accounting and finance are no exception

For accounting and finance teams, the merger of differing work styles and preferences may feel like a dubious reality. It is, in fact, a great example of how with a little coaching and strategy, all the players can contribute to a winning and long-lived scenario.

Some challenges posed by the Millennial crowd

Work characteristics of the Millennial crowd have been debated and revisited in the press and by pundits. Let’s take some high-level assumptions as a starting point:

  • Egos rule the day- because everyone’s always been a winner, staff assignments are below, beneath and behind expectations
  • Face-based communications are not the norm- electronic mediums rule the day, with no exceptions needed
  • Fast-paced advancement is key- if upward professional mobility isn’t imminent, then see you later

And let’s not shortchange the benefits Millennials contribute

But equally valid is the goodness that some shakeup to the accounting status quo Millennials can deliver:

  • New technologies- unafraid, Millennials embrace new tools that can streamline outdated accounting and close processes
  • An eye for innovation- the philosophy of not being content “just to do as they are told” can lead to dramatic improvements in overall efficiency
  • An ambitious nature- wanting to progress in their careers, originality plays a key role that can benefit the employer and the team member

So, what should I do?

Some takeaways to help accentuate the positive and minimize the negative of a multi-generational accounting team:

  • Provide organizational and departmental transparency to ensure buy-in and participation
  • Always articulate the big picture and explain the “why” of tasks to improve a sense of ownership
  • Focus on the team, where all members are important
  • Reward and acknowledge great performance

For more great tips, listen to FloQast CEO, Co-Founder, CPA and Millennial, Mike Whitmire, as he shares with you even more strategies to better manage your entire accounting team in this on demand webinar Managing the Millennial Accountant: Inspiring them to work (and not quit).

Here you will learn:

  • Best practices to hire, train and retain Millennial accountants
  • Ways to avoid the pitfalls of team dissension when Millennial work styles conflict with traditional structures
  • Insights into Millennial accounting job and tool preferences

View now! 

Wynn White