Generation Y accountants step forward

The pace of change within the profession has accelerated and created an environment where ‘Generation Y’ accountants are best placed to respond to the changing role and demands, according to the latest Pulse research from Sage.

The research reveals that prolonged economic uncertainty, shifting client expectations and competition has created a new breed of accountants – those born between 1980 and 1993.

More than half of all accountants believe that their role has significantly changed over the past three years, an increase of nearly 20% since 2011.

Four out of five business owners have had to cut costs to protect their firms over the past 12 months and as a result clients are...

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Comments
elainec100's picture

basis for comment ..

elainec100 | | Permalink

I must be missing it but I can see nothing that supports the statement

 

"‘Generation Y’ accountants are best placed to respond to the changing role and demands, according to the latest Pulse research from Sage."

Can you point me to the research that supports this please

John Stokdyk's picture

Connecting the dots    1 thanks

John Stokdyk | | Permalink

Thank you for pointing out the apparent discrepancy, but the writer of this piece (Robert Lovell) pointed me to the section of the news report where it says, "Greater use of mobile devices and online technologies is leading to clients expecting more support outside of the traditional nine-to-five working hours.

"Clients now expect a prompt response to their enquiries and access to information whenever they need it, with online being the most popular method for business owners wanting to share data with their accountant for the first time."

The infographic also details: 27% increased client interaction via social media; 55% increased use of mobile applications; 53% working outside the traditional office environment.

The implication drawn by Sage is that all of these increases will be more prevalent among younger accountants who are more used to using smartphones than their older colleagues.

That said, "digital native" behaviour isn't solely dependant on age, as you, I and many of our AccountingWEB members are fully aware. But if you undertake a wide-ranging survey, as Sage has, the weight of statistics may well justify their claims. We look forward to hearing more from them about this.

elainec100's picture

Lies, damned lies, and statistics

elainec100 | | Permalink

John Stokdyk wrote:

 

The implication drawn by Sage is that all of these increases will be more prevalent among younger accountants who are more used to using smartphones than their older colleagues.

That said, "digital native" behaviour isn't solely dependant on age, as you, I and many of our AccountingWEB members are fully aware. But if you undertake a wide-ranging survey, as Sage has, the weight of statistics may well justify their claims. We look forward to hearing more from them about this.

 

Ah yes – “implication” so like “assume”.

I guess mark Twain was correct .... "Lies, damned lies, and statistics".

I look forward to seeing more evidence, facts or whatever you’d like to call it to justify their claims. :-)

Ageism?    1 thanks

eddybee | | Permalink

I can't see any evidence in the article that supports the statement - as it is written it strikes me as being ageist and baseless.

Hopefully Sage will at least PROPERLY justify the statement or post an apology.  At the time of writing my attempts to obtain a response from Sage have proved fruitless.   Ironically one of the changing demands of recent years is the growth of social media and the need to respond!   Particularly, when outcomes are not as desired!

David Lewis

www.camroseconsulting.co.uk

Out of hours support

Stuart Jones | | Permalink

And who is going to pay for this? The clients or the practice? I think the answer will be different depending which side of the fence you are.

In my simple but old fashioned way I believe that if the service is "better" then the price has to be higher.

DuaneJAckson's picture

Wow    1 thanks

DuaneJAckson | | Permalink

Wow, way to go Sage - insult your main channel to market why don't you!

I found this article via this tweet from Phil Hendy: 

"the irony of saying I am past it! Their software is so past it and are overtaking them"

I couldn't have put it better myself. Glass houses and stones anyone?

Sage were incredibly late to leverage the benefits of the internet and now finally have a very low-functionality product (compared to KashFlow, Xero, FreeAgent or many others I could name) they feel they can preach to those who have already left them and moved on to bigger and better things.

It's like someone who has just discovered MySpace cornering the Twitterati to lecture them about the benefits of social media.

John Stokdyk's picture

A little bit of perspective

John Stokdyk | | Permalink

Well, that's livened up the afternoon here on AccountingWEB! Any allegations of baseless ageism may have to sit at our door, but be assured we don't believe that older accountants are over the hill or unable to adapt to new technologies.

It's also somewhat unfair to lay too much vituperation at Sage's door on the basis of this article and the underlying research. Sage is very assiduous in its use of research to understand the markets it serves and uses this information to plan its product strategies. I am sure that it has a very clear understanding of the professions main technology behaviour types. If there is an error or shortcoming to address, it may be in how it has decided to "play" the findings in the media. Sage has so far not shared the full findings of its Pulse survey with us, and in trying to summarise the main themes covered, we may have compounded the apparent superficiality.

As a good spin doctor would say, it's all about presentation - and sometimes an infographic doesn't quite get across a nuanced view of intergenerational differences and general technology use.

Stuart also makes a very good point about the viability of access-all-hours support - if you apply the same logic to software suppliers, would you prefer Sage maintains a social media management team on tap (for which Sage users would ultimamtely pay), or devotes the resources to product support and development?

DuaneJAckson's picture

Social isn't optional    1 thanks

DuaneJAckson | | Permalink

John Stokdyk wrote:
Sage has so far not shared the full findings of its Pulse survey with us..

We're just delighted they still have a pulse. It's hard to tell sometimes.

 

John Stokdyk wrote:

would you prefer Sage maintains a social media management team on tap (for which Sage users would ultimamtely pay), or devotes the resources to product support and development?

It's not an either/or. A responsive social media presence is a must-have for any modern company.

Whatever they're doing with the money they're not spending on social media, it's certainly not going on R&D. They spend 11% of their revenue on R&D. Even Intuit spend double that percentage.

elainec100's picture

People try to put us d-down    1 thanks

elainec100 | | Permalink

People try to put us d-down (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Just because we get around (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Things they do look awful c-c-cold (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I hope I die before I get old (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

This is my generation
This is my generation, baby

Why don't you all f-fade away (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Don't try to dig what we all s-s-s-say (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I'm not trying to 'cause a big s-s-sensation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I'm just talkin' 'bout my g-g-g-generation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

My generation
This is my generation, baby

Why don't you all f-fade away (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
And don't try to d-dig what we all s-s-say (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I'm not trying to 'cause a b-big s-s-sensation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I'm just talkin' 'bout my g-g-generation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

This is my generation
This is my generation, baby
My my my generation

People try to put us d-down (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Just because we g-g-get around (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Things they do look awful c-c-cold (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Yeah, I hope I die before I get old (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

This is my generation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
My generation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
This is my generation, baby (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
This is my generation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
This is my generation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
This is my generation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
This is my generation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

Not so clear cut!!

eddybee | | Permalink

John

An interesting question you pose.  

Reputations take years to build and usually less time to be shattered (the News of the World being an extreme example).  

While short term profit pressures may suggest that social media management is a luxury, from a strategic perspective on line reputation management may be an imperative for some businesses. Once the genie is out of the bottle it can be difficult to put it back in! 

While I can't  say what the "right" perspective is from Sage's point of view, I am not sure that short term profits should be the only consideration.

 

 

 

 

open all hours

NH | | Permalink

Personally I think Stuart's comment highlights the difference between the generations, and supports the survey (although I do agree that one cannot generalise too much).

 

The typical "older generation" accountant wants to work 9 to 5, wants the client's to come to him, and probably still charges by the hour.  I have dealt with this kind of person a few times, the last time a couple of months ago I wanted to email him some info for his client and he said he didnt do email!  A year later the client came back to me when I found out he had been charged 3 times more than I had charged. 

 

The typical "y generation" accountant is willing to be contacted out of hours on his smart phone, is there for his client whenever and however his client wants to contact him, is easy to deal with and charges a fixed fee.  Whether you like it or not thats the world we live in, those who dont adapt will not survive.

 

I would add that I was born in 1976!  There you go pigeons scattered by the xy cat!

 

 

elainec100's picture

Typical - now there's a word

elainec100 | | Permalink

I don't know anyone who works 9 to 5

elainec100's picture

Generation Cool: Self-obsessed Millennials having so much fun

elainec100 | | Permalink

Generation Y a different take ....

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22915026

 

"We will not be a great generation," says Gray. "We are too self-absorbed, spending most of our time on frivolous things, like posting photos of ourselves. We are cool kids, we are the cool generation."

DuaneJAckson's picture

It's all about Generation DIY

DuaneJAckson | | Permalink

It's all about Generation DIY now.

elainec100's picture

"Youth is wasted on the young." - George Bernard Shaw    1 thanks

elainec100 | | Permalink

Putting people into boxes and attaching labels is IMO not conducive to obtaining best performance from a gifted talent pool.

A good article with very relevant & key messages ruined by mentioning age.

I guess the naivety of youth!

 

 

Admitting mistakes

eddybee | | Permalink

Yes we all make mistakes sometimes and I guess experience gives us the confidence to admit them!

elainec100's picture

Sage Blog

elainec100 | | Permalink

Just to add .. in response to the healthy twitter debate yesterday Sage published a blog ....

http://www.sage.co.uk/blog/index.php/2013/06/our-latest-accountants-puls...

They say ....

"The story isn’t about age"

 

which seems to rather contradict ....

 

The pace of change within the profession has accelerated and created an environment where ‘Generation Y’ accountants are best placed to respond to the changing role and demands, according to the latest Pulse research from Sage.

 

I expect we will all draw our own conclusions .....

 

 

 

 

kenfrost's picture

Sage Displays a Complete Lack of Sagacity    1 thanks

kenfrost | | Permalink

Based on Sage's "research" please could they explain to me where they think people can find a 20 year old (born in 1993) qualified "accountant" with enough real world experience to act as virtual FD, IT consultant, HR expert, marketer and payroll specialist?

I ask, because Sage itself is currently recruiting a Commercial Finance Manager Sage CRM Fixed Term Contract.

The qualifications required include "experienced in working in a multi-national environment Qualified ACA/ACCA/CIMA with at a minimum of 5 years' experience in industry".

Know any 20 year olds with that type of experience?

Whilst I think about it, given that 1980 seems to be a significant cut off date for Sage, Sage may care to worry about its own age given that it has been around since 1981.

On that point Brendan Flattery (CEO of Sage) needs to think about his position, as he is a qualified accountant born in 1964.

Ageism in business is an absolute disgrace, the fact that a "professional" company such as Sage appears to endorse ageism makes me wonder exactly whether these companies really understand the businesses which they claim to "serve".

http://stopthemerger.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/ageism-and-accountants-lack-of-sagacity.html

 

elainec100's picture

good marketing lessons here

elainec100 | | Permalink

Looking behind the article and posts, there are some damn good marketing lessons here

 

@bookmarklee would be envious of this case study on the power of social media

Risk management

eddybee | | Permalink

I wonder how their risk management deals with reputational;risk - certainly been underwhelmed with the response - do they think "no publicity is bad publicity"

Rachael_Power's picture

Just thought I'd add this to

Rachael_Power | | Permalink

Just thought I'd add this to an already very lively and stimulated debate; Sage has posted their response in a blog, available to read in full on their website

Here's a snippet:

The Pulse research also revealed that clients now expect a prompt response to their enquiries and access to information whenever they need it, with online (50%) being the most popular method for business owners wanting to share data with their accountant for the first time.

The story isn’t about age – it’s about the increasing prevalence of the social media savvy, connected accountant. While clearly there are some fantastic examples of accountants today who are leading the way in this area, it’s equally clear that the generation that grew up with Facebook and gmail and is used to saving their valuable music collection on iTunes or Spotify will know no different. As a result, just as the forward thinkers today are breaking new ground, we expect them to do the same.

BUT

We certainly don’t think that leading this tech revolution is the place for ‘Gen Y’ only – there are many well established professionals in this industry who have worked this way for some time now and led the way in terms of changing the industry and the way it operates. 80% of you already believe that you will use more services online over the next 3-5 years, and 17% of you already communicate with your clients via social media.

When we carry out research like this, we always give our opinion on it. However, it’s vital that we debate and listen, something we’ve been doing this afternoon as it’s certainly caused some discussion on Twitter.

Please carry on the discussion, we’re really interested to hear your thoughts and make sure we take them into account to help further our thinking on the direction of the industry.