«

»

Apr 14

How Millennials Are Changing The Accountant Of Tomorrow – Forbes

Last year, millennials (individuals born between 1981 and 1997) officially surpassed Generation Xers (individuals born between 1965 and 1980) as the largest generation in the U.S. workforce. With approximately 53.5 million millennials working today, businesses can’t afford to ignore the impact this group is having – and will continue to have – on the workplace. Jennifer Warawa, Global Vice President of Product Marketing at Sage, and I recently discussed the effect millennials are having on the accounting profession in particular, and the steps finance leaders should take to recruit, retain and integrate millennial talent.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Jeff Thomson: According to several recent surveys, one of the biggest perks millennials expect in a job is flexibility, which can greatly improve work-life balance. In your experience, does this hold true for millennials working in accounting, as well? If so, how should CFOs and other finance leaders incorporate these policies within the finance department?

Jennifer Warawa: A desire for flexibility is true for millennials in any field, and CFOs and finance leaders should definitely look to incorporate flexibility into any department policies they set to accommodate this need. The lines between personal time and work time continue to blur, and business can be conducted anywhere at any time, often from the palm of your hand. To stay competitive and get the best talent, businesses must recognize that flexibility is a critical part of maintaining work-life balance, and technology makes that possible. Finance leaders should embrace that flexibility and use it to their advantage.

 Thomson: In addition to work-life balance and flexibility, what other factors should businesses consider when recruiting and retaining millennial accounting talent?

Warawa: Most employees want to work for a company of which they can be proud, but millennials tend to take that a step further, and want to work with and for companies that prioritize community service and giving back. A few other attributes millennials prize include:

• Having a clear understanding of the company vision

• Opportunities for regular feedback and check-ins on performance

• Opportunities for mid-way step-ups and promotions, and opportunities for professional development. Not to generalize, but millennials are goal-oriented, so helping them with a path can only benefit your organization’s performance.

Thomson: How are millennials impacting the accounting profession as a whole, and in what ways are they contributing to the changing roles and expectations of the CFO?

Warawa: Like generations before them, millennials are driven to make an impact. They are ambitious and goal-oriented. Accounting as a profession has perhaps been a bit reluctant to embrace new technologies, such as the cloud. Millennials have no such hang-ups. They love the cloud and the flexibility it offers. So, if anything, I believe they will do more to increase widespread technology adoption, which will in turn contribute to the changing role of the CFO. CFOs and financial executives will need to be better versed on available technology and what makes sense for the size and scale of their organization, with an eye on potential growth and scale in the future.

Thomson: What steps can CFOs and other finance leaders take to ensure seamless integration and productive collaboration among their employees, whether millennials or baby boomers?

Warawa: Make sure that you promote a collaborative environment, first and foremost. Focus on a culture that values sharing, opinions and open dialogue. No matter the demographics of your workforce, employees succeed when they feel empowered and valued. Make sure you promote a culture that values your employees, their strengths and opinions.

Thomson: Looking ahead, it’s only a few years beforeGeneration Z enters the workforce. In what ways will they further disrupt the workplace, and how can the finance department prepare now for this new generation of employees?

Warawa: Generation Z is the first generation born into the internet; they’ve never known life without it. Tech continues to evolve at a breakneck pace. For example, voice recognition technology has come further in the past 18 months than in the past 15 years. That kind of pace will continue, and Generation Z is more comfortable with that pace than any previous generation.

There’s a Chinese proverb that says, “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The next best time is now.” The same can be said of solid policies and flexibility in an organization, particularly as it comes to tech. Finance departments should go ahead and start looking toward the cloud if they aren’t already doing so, and be prepared to be adaptable as things change. Beyond that, just be sure you are implementing policies and roadmaps with flexibility in mind. That will be just as important in the future as it is already.

Source: How Millennials Are Changing The Accountant Of Tomorrow – Forbes

Notice: This website is a repository for our posts that go out to the world, but is not used as out primary messaging medium. The absolute BEST way to reach us, and follow our posts, is on LinkedIn. We have a group there, entitled The Workforce Productivity and Compensation Institute, and you are welcome to visit and interact with us there. To visit the group, go to: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8567153/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>