If the lion’s share of your clientele are people over the age of forty, you’re not alone. Most taxpayers don’t begin to consider CPA services until they are pretty well-established. That means that today’s millennials are your future clients, and there are a lot of good reasons for connecting with them now in order to optimize your chances of adding them to your client base in the future.
You may think few millennials have current needs for CPA services: their taxes and other financials are simple and there are easy online programs that can meet their current needs. But a closer look at the U.S. labor force makes clear why you should work to cultivate them as future clients. They currently represent over one third of the workforce, and this largest generational group is going to represent an increasingly large share as an estimated 10,000 Baby Boomers retire each day.
With greater representation, experience, and maturity will come greater responsibility – and wealth and complex tax planning needs are likely to follow. In addition to increased earnings, this generation is expected to inherit a good portion of $68 trillion in wealth that will change hands over the next two-and-a-half decades. No wonder a recent Deloitte report indicated that between 2015 and 2030, Millennials’ assets would grow from $1.4 trillion to $11.3 trillion.
ONE-OFF SOLUTIONS CAN LEAD TO LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIPS
Millennials’ lives are changing rapidly. Some are starting new businesses and they have basic questions that a CPA can easily help answer. The birth of a child, the purchase of a home, a significant promotion or a new job often gives rise to the need for financial guidance. This is exactly the moment that CPA firms want to be there to offer solutions, even if the problem is singular and simple. By being helpful, available, and accommodating or offering interim products such as outsourced accounting today, you put yourself in a position of being the firm they will turn to — and stick with —tomorrow.
So, how do you make contact with these clients in the first place? You need to be the one that’s in front of them at the moment that they are trying to solve that simple singular problem – and you’re not going to be alone in the process. The economic potential of this audience is clear when you look at the many non-CPA service companies (like Software giant Intuit) that are vying for their attention and their business.
Understanding what millennials want from a CPA
If you want to establish yourself as the go-to-service for millennials seeking CPA solutions, you need to understand the way that this demographic thinks and how to position yourself so that they will find you and trust you.
Millennials appreciate proactive coaching
One of the biggest advantages of working with millennials is that they are well aware of what they don’t know, and they are open to help. That creates an opening to reach out with education and guidance, especially when they are first encountering a novel situation. Whether a younger client has just left an employer and needs information on the tax implications of rolling over a 401(k) or on tax planning for a business they’re about to start, they are hungry for information and usually have no qualms about admitting to their lack of information.
When you encounter a potential client with these types of questions, you will make the biggest impression and inspire the most trust by being proactive and informing them of possibilities and tools that they had not previously been aware of or known enough about. By mentioning a flexible spending account for childcare or a 529 college savings plan to new parents, you are presenting them with what they are hungry for.
Make things easy
Millennials have grown up with technology that makes their lives efficient and streamlined, so make sure that the services you offer match that experience. Now is the time to take a closer look at your website and your online user experience. How much work does it take for someone to sign on or learn more about your services? How hard is it for somebody to ask a question, submit a form, or even just to request a call back? Work with an experienced firm that can optimize your site so that everything flows seamlessly and delivers efficiently.
Be willing to go virtual
Even before the pandemic, millennials were often happier being able to avoid meetings in offices and replace them with virtual encounters. Not only are they more convenient, they’re also more casual and less intimidating. By offering the ability to communicate in many different ways, you match the needs of all of your clients, from those who prefer to discuss their taxes from the comfort of their couch to those who don’t want to trust any communication to anything but an in-person meeting. Make use of all of your options from email and text to video calls and phone calls, as well as in-office appointments.
Adjust your billing methods
Though many CPA firms have been billing by the hour since tax services began being offered, there are some clients for whom it is not a good fit. Many millennials want to look at a tab on your website that specifies exactly what a particular service is going to cost. This menu of services is a good alternative and allows you the flexibility to offer multiple options based on client preference. That way those who want to pay monthly, hourly, on a per-project basis, or even with an annual retainer, will all be happy.
MARKETING TO NEXT-GEN CLIENTS
Many firms have successfully attracted clients through social media and content marketing such as blogs, newsletters, your tax and accounting website, video content, and more.
However, social media and other marketing methods aren’t magic bullets. Getting results requires patience and commitment. When you start trying to attract clients via your website, you’ll need to commit to working on search engine optimization (SEO). SEO for accountants is all about high quality content using relevant keywords, submitting your firm information to directory and citation listings, utilizing Google My Business, and more.
Planting Seeds for Future Clients
A big part of any business’ success lies in planning for the future, and CPA firm futures will rely on millennials. By planning ahead, reaching out to younger people in your life, and revising some of your current practices you will position yourself to capture their business when they need you.