As waves of retiring Baby Boomers begin their planned exits from CPA firms, the newer accountants will employ very different skill sets and tools than did their predecessors as the succession planning torch is passed to the next generation.

With 75 percent of the American Institute of CPAs' membership set to retire over the next 15 years, Gen Y accounting professionals will capitalize on such technologies as collaboration tools, online applications and social networking sites, and CPA firms that want to recruit and retain the younger generation of accounting professionals and ensure a succession strategy must provide that forum.

"Sixty-two percent of all companies use social networking sites like LinkedIn and MySpace as part of their recruitment process," explained Tommy Stephens of K2 Enterprises. Stephens opened the third annual Accountants Technology Conference here with a keynote presentation entitled, "Tools to Accommodate a New Generation of Accountants."

"Training is one of the most important things to the Millennials," he added. "They look for a constant learning process and challenging work."

Stephens also pointed to the rise of collaboration tools such as Google Apps and SharePoint that are familiar to younger accountants, as well as the rise of online applications or software as a service.

"We need to make sure we understand their priorities," he said.

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