June 23, 2018

Accounting Firms Need to Change Their Approach to Managing Millennials, Or Else

accounting firms management millennials cpa

With so many articles written about how to manage millennials, what’s wrong with millennials, etc., it’s easy to assume that there is something difficult about the millennial generation. Some say it’s the millennials’ fault for being so damn entitled and not showing respect for the “way things are done” while others say it is a problem with myopic management skills. I see something bigger happening.

While firms tout how accommodating they are to millennials with their “work-life balance” and their “work hard, play hard” culture, there’s something important missing. Firms are focusing too much on a “fun culture” with their fully-stocked open bar and making the office “modern” with their colorful beanbags all the while they are drastically missing the point.

Millennial tax staff are spending all of their time hand-keying numbers into a tax return and hand-writing on the tax processing sheet. Even if they are sitting in a fancy beanbag chair, do you know what the millennial tax staff are thinking? “A computer could be doing this. I should be worried. I should be doing something else.” And honestly, nothing kills employee engagement more than an employee thinking, “I should be doing something else.”

Maybe you’ve noticed, but there’s a bit of a technology wave going on. And millennials are riding it. Hell, we grew up with it. We grew up with new technologies being built and expanded at a pace of change that can be difficult to grasp at times. So while firms spend their time and energy stocking their open bar and buying fancy beanbags, their best, brightest, and most creative employees are leaving.

Enter the millennial management paradigm.

This millennial management paradigm is the idea that most millennial employees (including the older millennials that are now becoming managers themselves) are still being shoved into a status quo box. A box filled with:

All the while, firms say that their culture is progressive, modern, and innovative. It’s time to see the forest for the trees, people. It’s time for a millennial management paradigm shift.

This millennial management paradigm shift involves a 3-part process:

  1. Adopting a culture of flexibility This bases billable hour compliance requirements on each employee’s goals and strengths to allow for more consulting, more business development, and more innovation overall.
  2. Focusing on leadership training that cultivates the skills needed to be successful outside of traditional compliance work.
  3. Creating a culture of “SPACE” for innovative employees to develop new initiatives and technological advances.

If we stop stifling our best and brightest millennial minds through endless billable hours and compliance work, then we can start giving these minds the space to innovate and the space to create progress.

Because here’s the thing. If we don’t start thinking about the change that needs to happen and allowing employees the resources to develop it, then the startup down the street will.

Image: iStock/jgroup

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Job of the Week: Do You Have a Preternatural Ability for GAAP Disclosures?

hire me2.jpgSince there seems to be some unhappy campers out there we’ll take a moment of your day to tell you about a position that might make you less miserable or hopefully better compensated:
Company: Morgan Stanley
Location: New York
Title: Associate/Manager
Description: Associate or Manager for our Legal Entity Accounting & Disclosure Group. Responsibilities will include gaining an understanding of the firm’s equity financing products, derivatives and securities lending business in order to assist in producing and analyzing many of the division’s financial accounting disclosures.
Skills Required: BS or BA in Finance and/or Accounting, CPA preferred; 3-5 years of experience in Public Accounting and/or financial services industry; Must have thorough understanding of FAS 133, FAS 140, FIN 46, FAS 157 and FAS 161 FASB pronouncements
See the full description at the GC Career Center and if this position doesn’t tickle your get your ass off the couch/ship-jumping bone, go to the main page and find your next temporary dream job.

Recruiting: Considering the Non-Big 4 Employers

BelushiCollege.jpgAs recruiting continues this week, we’ll put out the idea of opting to starting your career with a firm or company as opposed to starting at a Big 4 firm. Regardless of the Big 4’s dominance of the BW list, there are several smaller firms that make good offers and all businesses need number crunchers to track all the bloody money.
And this year, since many of the Big 4 don’t appear to be making as many offers, going with a national or regional firm or private company becomes a serious option for many recruits.
For the recruits out there, are you giving serious consideration to taking a position with a non-Big 4 firm? For the rest of you, is starting your career at a Big 4 the only way to go or can relative happiness and success be found elsewhere?
Discuss in the comments.