All businesses now are like data beacons and through embracing data accountants can become a more proactive adviser. "By monitoring [clients' business data] remotely, you can spot an issue and address it before the client notices it." Or as Lark put it, "Phone your client and say, 'Hey, your cash flow sucks and payroll is next week, we need to make a few phone calls'."
Seventy percent of the 600,000 start ups launched in The UK in 2015 were millennials in the 18-34 demographic, according to Xero's chief marketing officer Andy Lark.
"Sixty percent of them are growers - they want to conquer the world - and importantly, 76% rely on their accountant," said Lark, in his adventurously named Xerocon session, "How to make love".
How these millennial entrepreneurs expected their accountant to behave has changed, added Lark. These clients are extremely impatient. Paul Bulpitt, founder of The Wow Company and Xero UK's head of accounting, also noted the change in how clients interact and want to be interacted with. "With something like auto enrolment, for instance, they just want the pain taken away - they don't want to talk about it, they just want it fixed."
Unsurprisingly, how an accountant deployed tech also formed a critical part of appealing to the start up generation. "The accountant's role when dealing with this new generation of client is to be a technology leader, to be iconic in IT, so clients look at how you work and say 'How did you do that?'," said Jessica Pillow, managing director at the Practice Excellence Award winning firm Pillow may."
The key to understanding this new millennial client's needs, said Lark, is data. Lark spoke at length about how sensors have transformed how data is transmitted. Fifty percent of all data is now created through automatic sensors, picking up information and remotely transmitting it.
How clients find their accountants has also changed dramatically, according to Lark. "Searches for accounting services on Google increased 47% last year and one in three will do that search on mobile. This is categorically the last generation that fundamentally associates computing with a keyboard and a mouse."