6 Ways to Attract and Retain Millennial CPAs
Millennials have a very different set of priorities when deciding where they want to work than previous generations. Employers need to ensure they are tailoring their organizations in order to find and keep millennial talent. Here are some suggestions from Henner Schliebs, VP and head of finance audience marketing at SAP.
In the digital era where communication is easily available 24/7, the lines can become blurred between work time and personal time. The traditional 9-5 is increasingly a rare occurrence. Millennials recognize this evolution and want greater flexibility when it comes to creating a balanced schedule. According to a recent survey by PwC, 95 percent of millennial respondents said work-life balance was important to them when evaluating job prospects. Whether it is offering options to work from home, generous vacation benefits or modified schedules that focus on productivity rather than meeting a certain number of hours worked, finance departments that will succeed in attracting millennial CPAs are ones that are willing to evolve when it comes to defining a typical “work day.”
In the finance industry, there is growing demand for businesses to be transparent about their financial reporting. This evolution can be largely attributed to the fact that information can be more easily accessed and disseminated. For CPAs and other finance professionals, this is a positive trend in that it means their expertise is in demand and likely to stay that way. As this demand for transparency increases, both from employees and customers, it is important that finance departments take steps to ensure financial data is always up to date and accurate, so it can be easily accessed. Additionally, this demand for transparency from the millennial CPA translates beyond the data to encompass transparency throughout the company. Millennial CPAs will be more receptive to finance departments that are open about the opportunities that lay ahead for their position and what their growth trajectory looks like within the company.
As discussed with work-life balance, millennials tend to see more value in their productivity rather than abiding by a time card. If there are processes that can be automated, why should an employee waste their time with them? While changing processes can be a challenge, it can ultimately be to the advantage of the entire company, not just in attracting and retaining new talent, but also in creating greater overall efficiency and potentially getting a leg up on the competition.
One side effect of the Internet age is the constant flow of new technology to help companies and individuals succeed. The “there’s an app for that” mentality is one that defines the millennial generation, who often rely on technology to do everything—from getting a lift with Uber to delivery their groceries on Instacart. According to PwC, 59 percent of millennials feel that having access to the latest, state-of-the-art technology is a key factor when assessing a potential employer. However, technology innovation is an area where most financial executives even feel their companies fall short, according to a recent study by SAP. For finance departments looking to hire millennial CPAs, a huge part of setting up employees for success is making sure they are armed with the latest and greatest when it comes to technology.
One of the driving motivators behind the need for the shiniest new technology is the fast-paced nature in which millennials expect decisions to be made and processes to be implemented. While technology can be a crucial asset in agility, this “faster” approach to business should be cohesive across all areas of the business. In financial services, young CPAs are often cautious if information takes more than a day to be delivered. It can appear that data wasn’t collected until it was requested. The best way to make sure new hires are happy, productive and invested in the company is to make sure the right infrastructure is in place to make sure information can be collected, interpreted and delivered in a fast, timely manner. The days of endless spreadsheets must come to an end.
With the millennial generation, not only have communication methods evolved, they have exponentially increased. When it comes to both recruiting new talent and holding on to existing talent, embracing modern methods of real-time communication, including social media and collaboration, is critical. Finance departments need to reach millennials where they are, and show they are evolving–not only in embracing new technologies and agile processes, but also adapting to and embracing new channels of communications. This provides millennials with supportive environments where they can learn and grow their financial careers.