The bookkeeping software company Xero recently released a report, available here, which shows that “millennial” business owners are unhappy with their accountants — 50% are unhappy and are looking to switch to someone else, 33% say they only “receive insights” twice a year at most, and 20% say they would NOT recommend their advisor to someone else.
My initial reaction when I saw this survey was, “here we go again with accountant bashing.”
It’s great for a client to say how unhappy they are with the accountant, and how they don’t get “proactive” help from the accountant … and yet this same client gripes about fees and thinks that paying the tax-prep bill should get them access for anything all year long.
Page 7 of the survey toned down my inner cynic (a little bit anyway). According to page 7, a large number of millennial business owners say they would pay more for better service.
It’s about damned time a survey actually addressed this issue!
The Xero Survey is Refreshing
This survey was refreshing when I read it, because it addresses the part about PAYING FOR THE SERVICE.
Most of the other surveys out there just criticize accountants for “not being proactive,” while not taking into consideration the fact that few clients are actually willing to PAY FOR BETTER SERVICE — they pay to have the tax return slapped together at tax time.
Why doesn’t the accountant talk to you outside of tax time? Because most clients are only paying for the tax return to be prepared.
So the fact that millennial business owners are willing to pay for a higher level of service is great.
Millennial Business Owners are Not Price Shoppers
Regarding shopping for the rock-bottom price, according to the survey: “41% of those over 35 will only pay less than $500 for their advisor, compared to 23% of millennials.”
So it looks like millennials (at least among business owners) are not only willing to pay for better service but they actively do NOT want the cheapest price.
I will say, letting my cynic come back on the scene again, it is easy to say these things on a survey. How do they react in real-life to an accountant wanting to charge for being more proactive?
But still, this is a refreshing survey because it addresses the part about actually paying for the higher level of service.