The generational transition affects clients, too
Much has been written about firm succession issues and the effect of impending Baby Boomer retirements on the accounting profession as it relates to firm leadership and the financial sustainability of the practice. We’ve seen many firms examining the internal impact of this generational transition and creating plans to address the inevitable changes facing their firms in the next five years. But there is an overlooked aspect of the Baby Boomers’ departure from the workforce that will have as great a bearing on your firm’s future.
Your clients are going through the same transition.
It’s no secret that the effect of these retirements isn’t limited to the accounting profession. According to AARP, 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 every day. However, in my experience most accounting firms have given little thought to what this transitioning of client leaders means for the future of their relationship with those clients. One of the biggest mistakes accounting firm leaders can make in this area is to assume that what they deliver now — and how they deliver it — is what the next generation of client leaders wants. How do you evolve your firm to be the one that delivers what the next generation of business owners wants? And what does that look like?
The first thing to acknowledge is that the next generation of owners is not the millennials (defined as the generation of individuals born between 1981 and 1997). Because there has been so much publicized about the differences between boomers and millennials, and because millennials make up the largest segment of today’s workforce, people often think of “next generation” as the millennials. But in our surveys of CPA firm clients, the transition of ownership taking place is landing with Generation X – the group of leaders born between 1965 and 1980. There is fascination and fear about millennials taking over clients’ businesses, but the truth of the matter is that Generation X is next in line. Read more on Accounting Today.