Doing business with the new generation of entrepreneurs

Millennials appear ready to take on the world. If they succeed, they could provide bookkeepers and accountants with a source of clients for years to come.

It is a well-known fact that start-ups are a crucial source of new business leads for accountancy. What is less appreciated is that the founders of new business are likely to spring from the millennial generation.

This is the conclusion to be drawn from new research funded by AAT for its business advice portal, Informi.

The survey shows:

  • 50% of millennials want to start a business.
  • For 35% of millennials it’s a life goal to start a new venture.
  • Great work life balance is the main motivation.

The survey sampled opinions 2002 adults, across four generations, comparing their attitudes towards starting a business. Millennials (those aged 23-38) emerged as much more likely to start a business than Generation X (38%) or so-called baby-boomers (20%).

And their favoured industries to start a new business are:

  • Retail sector – 35%.
  • Education – 12%.
  • Healthcare – 8%.

So, if millennials are likely to be an important source of future business, you should take steps to understand their needs and motivations and consider ways to align your business with them.

Here are 5 insights to get your started.

1. Millennials want to make a difference

Millennials want their work to have meaning. They are hopeful that businesses and business leaders can help to change the world. Accountants and bookkeepers need to show you are in tune with their thinking by talking about your own vision of working towards a better world.

Millennials don’t necessarily warm to brand authority. They are more likely to respond to firms that  reach out to them in a friendly manner and talk to them on a personal level. They like messages that are genuine, mature, humble and sociable.

2. Millennials rely on relationship

Millennials research purchases meticulously. 75% like to see opinions from others before they commit. So earning their trust and credibility is key.

Make sure you gather plenty of engaging testimonials from your customers. These don’t have to be full blown case studies. Sharing quotes and snippets on social media is likely to be just as effective.

As many as 13% of millennials turn to social media to find accounting services, as opposed to just 2% for older business leaders.

3. Millennials want technology

This generation was born with a mouse in its hand. It is a must that you are tech savvy. According to an annual survey of millennials by, 82% expect paperless accounting to be the norm.

Millennials are also three times more likely than older customers to want accountants to recommend technology and training as part of their service.

4. Millennials want to remove stress

Millennials are reckoned to be more susceptible to stress than their predecessor generations. So to speak effectively to them, your marketing message should communicate how you can remove worries,  save time and cut out stress.

You could go further.

A tax return or balance sheet document does not communicate that you care or add value. But if alongside standard services, you talk to your millennial customers about business coaching or a personal finance check, you will show you are on the same wave length.

5. Have a fast website

Finally Millennial customers will expect your business to be mobile friendly so they can access you anytime, anywhere. Informi’s research  found 88% think of work outside office hours and 74% monitor work such as emails outside of office hours – the highest of all generations.

Steven Drew, product manager for Informi, comments:

“Great businesses ultimately come in all shapes and sizes, and from all generations,” said Steven Drew, product manager for Informi. “But the rise of the millennials as entrepreneurial champions could help to encourage other adults from their generation to take the plunge into setting up their own business – something that over 550,000 people in the UK did during 2017.”

“Those considering setting up a business need to be aware of the risks involved and the need to gain support, but having a strong business plan and the means of financing a venture could give you a chance to turn your ideas and dreams into reality.”

Generation definitions:

  • Millennials (Generation Y): aged 23 – 38
  • Generation X: aged 39 – 53
  • Baby Boomers: aged 54 – 72

David Nunn is Content Manager at AAT.


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