Millennials & Baby Boomers: Working Together in the Accounting Industry


The accounting industry has been around for a long time. And with any such entity that has seen its fair share of things under the sun, you have your veteran accountants and those who are brand new to the job.

Every long-standing entity goes through changes to adapt to the times. Whether those changes are internal to the industry itself such as updating regulating policies, or external such as recognizing the need for more diverse cultures and perspectives in the workplace, change is usually inevitable.

Hollywood likes to exaggerate the ways in which change can cause conflict between an older generation set in its ways and a younger generation looking to change those ways to better adapt and survive. And while word on the street has it that older generations can find it difficult to work with younger ones, the partnership between millennials (the tech-savvy, idealistic generation of today) and baby boomers (their worldly counterparts) is–or can be–a very healthy and beneficial one. Here’s how.

Millennials offer potential…

  • New to the working world, millennials can offer a fresh take on problem solving as well as initiatives that can help others work smarter; not harder.
  • Millennials are incredibly hard working when they’re motivated or are doing something they believe in. They can work long hours across a wide range of tasks and disciplines. 
  • Millennials want to see the world improve for themselves and their future families. They are willing to work harder if the result is rewarding, charitable, or goes toward a good cause.
  • Incredibly tech-savvy, millennials are known as “digital natives.” They were born/grew up in the digital age and understand how to use technology to maximize progress and goals.
  • Millennials are looking for a great boss/employee or peer/mentor relationship with their higher ups. They seek strong interactions and connections with their superiors to give them guidance and relate to them on a personal level.

While baby boomers offer experience…

  • Today, the oldest baby boomers are already in their 60s and have decades of both life and work experience under their belts.
  • As a result, baby boomers have honed their skills and abilities to find out what works and what doesn’t work.
  • Baby boomers have acquired plenty of knowledge/wisdom and can therefore offer great advice and mentorship to help others reach their potential and grow.
  • They have a strong grasp on how to do things manually, which is helpful in the event of technology’s sometimes usual tendency to crash or malfunction.
  • Baby boomers understand the process of change and adaptation as well as how to take initiatives in making such changes happen efficiently and effectively.

How millennials and baby boomers work together to adapt to changes in the accounting industry

In effect, both the baby boomer and millennial generations, while very different, actually complement one another very well. And as the accounting industry grows, inducting new employees as well as retiring older ones, this relationship between the two generations working together has proven to be quite productive and necessary as the accounting industry continues to change over time.

According to IFAC’s (International Federation of Accountants) “Future of Accounting Profession: Three Major Changes and Implications for Teaching and Research,” there are 3 major changes in the future of the accounting industry. 

  1. Advancing technology will change the accounting professional’s traditional way of working.
  2. Continued globalization will lead to new challenges and opportunities.
  3. Increased regulation will alter the landscape of the entire accounting profession.

In all of these predicted changes, there is a clear need for millennials and baby boomers to work together as older practices and services make way for better, newer, and more integrated ones.

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