This year, the youngest members of the millennial generation (those born between 1980 and 2000) have reached adulthood, marking a new era for the economy in terms of their newfound purchasing power. By 2030, their aggregate annual income will exceed $4 trillion. Moreover, millennial entrepreneurs start their own companies at much younger ages compared to business owners of older generations (the average age is 27, compared to 35 for baby boomers). Sooner or later, then, you'll find yourself competing for millennial clients, and you should play to win.
Since millennials are the first digitally native generation, it's only logical that technology plays a major role in earning their business. Here are three essential ways to use the latest software to ensure you and your practice win millennial prospects.
1. Get on the Cloud
Preferences for digital records are on the rise, and millennials are at the forefront of this transformation.
When it comes to accounting, 78% of business owners aged 31 to 39 want to be paperless, compared to 66% of those aged 40 to 55. Legal clients are more hesitant about going fully digital, but the trend is still clear. 30% of millennials who've had a legal issue prefer to use technology to share documents with their lawyer, compared to 23% of older clients.
It’s understandable that clients of all generations have concerns about security when it comes to highly confidential information. However, cloud technologies are generally highly secure in comparison to keeping paper records or storing all of your files on a single machine. When you store and share information on the cloud, it’s automatically backed-up. When you add in factors like cloud software’s ease of use, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness, it’s no wonder that 56% of millennial business owners want their accounting firms to work with these technologies.
Cloud solutions also enable quick turnarounds, which are an even more urgent demand from millennial clients.
2. Be Mobile and Operate On-Demand
72% of millennial business owners believe that instant response rates from their accountants are a non-negotiable part of service. While many professional firms—whether they’re in the business of accounting, law, engineering, architecture, or anything else—already have response time policies in place, this expectation on behalf of millennials underscores just how important it is to work on-demand.
Naturally, mobility plays a huge role in the ability to respond to client requests whenever they come in. Mobility in general is growing at an immense pace. By 2022, 42.5% of the total global workforce—that’s 1.87 billion people—will be mobile. This means that both your employees and your business clients (not to mention the individuals who use your services) are increasingly viewing mobile work as the new normal. 25% of millennial business owners are already using mobile apps for accounting, and 76% of millennials more generally are interested in legal services apps. These prospective clients want fast and flexible access to services and information—it’s up to you to offer it.
3. Provide Strategic Insights
Millennials, generally speaking, have a collaborative mindset. They view the professionals they hire as part of their team.
52% of millennial business owners require their accounting firms to give them strategic insights, reporting, and guidance, and 40% want their accountant to have in-depth knowledge of their specific industry. They’re looking for full-service offerings and holistic advice, and consequently seek out accountants who will truly add value to their businesses.
Legal clients are making similar demands, as they expect services to be personalized to their needs. Analysts assert that with these new clients, the legal industry is transforming “from a dormant, low-tech, individualistic system to a dynamic, high-tech, collaborative one.” They expect legal services for their companies to “encompass the needs and priorities of the entire business.”
These preferences highlight the importance of technology in terms of reporting, analytics, and general advisory and consulting work. If you're going to be a partner to a millennial client, you need to leverage technology to give them the insights and attention they want.
If you implement these three recommendations, you won’t just win more clients in the short-term. You’ll also cultivate relationships that will last for decades. As millennials grow to become the dominant segment of the workforce, you’ll be positioned for success and ahead of the competition.
The onset of the millennial generation doesn't just affect your client base--it's also happening in your workforce. Read our white paper, "The Shifting Tide: Predictions for Professional Services in 2020 and Beyond," for actionable tips about recruiting and working with this new wave of employees.