So you know that time in conversation when you meet somebody and they ask what you do?
If you’re a policeman, some might be humming that “Bad boys” song and ask about the craziest arrest you ever made. If you’re a fireman, they may be thinking Backdraft circa 1991 and ask about that time you saved a family from the window of a three story building. If you’re in high tech, they may be thinking social media start-up and ask about your most creative idea in the hopes of sneaking into the next Mark Zucherberg Hollywood remake. But if you’re an accountant, you’re probably used to that half-second awkward pause where the person simply nods and turns to the next guy in the room.
Way back when, if you were into computers, you may have been considered a nerd. Today, everyone wants to be a nerd. It’s the nerds with the creative ideas, the guys that are going to make millions. Twenty years ago, if you told someone you were a programmer, they would picture you with suspenders and black-framed glasses parked in front of an over-sized monitor eating a peanut butter sandwich with the crusts cut off.
Today, the programmer is sitting in a Google office eating Ben and Jerry’s ice cream while playing foosball in order to unleash their creative mind for the next brain storming session.
How is it in our ever-changing world that accountants seem to have the same drab reputation as they had 20 years ago?
Gen Y has been considered the most entrepreneurial generation in history. There are more entrepreneurship programs than ever before in U.S. colleges and universities. Naturally, very few of these entrepreneurial spirited Gen Y-ers end up going into accounting programs. Unfortunately, most people have a certain picture of the type of person that goes into accounting and it’s certainly not your charismatic self-starter.
So if you’re one of today’s many dynamic entrepreneurs, how do you relate to your accountant?
Accountants need to shift their strategies to appeal to Gen Y business owners. If you’re a business owner who uses electronic invoicing, why shouldn’t your accountant? If you use Skype, Dropbox, or digital signatures in your business, why not use the same applications with your accountant? If you’ve got an e-commerce business and you want to automate your billing who else should you contact but your accountant? Your accountant should be on the same wave-length as you are.
Despite its reputation for being static, the accounting world has changed significantly over the last ten years.
Sophisticated accounting software has been developed to cut out much of the tedious work and allow both you and your accountant to talk about the issues that matter to you as a business owner.
Even the CRA has an online payment system and allows (even requires at times) most tax returns to be electronically filed. That being the case, you should demand an accountant who stays on top of technological trends so that you can get the most efficient and effective service possible that meets your needs.
Your accountant doesn’t have to be hidden behind piles of paper on a mahogany desk speaking about sections of the income tax act making you count the seconds until you’re out of there.
As a Gen Y entrepreneur, look for an accountant who matches your lifestyle and speaks your language.
They’re out there.
The higher the demand for tech-savvy accountants that can speak entrepreneur, the reputation of the accountant will begin to evolve. It may be a long-shot, but together we can make sure that accountants are invited to more dinner parties.