How Gen X Can Keep Up with Gen Y in Accounting

How Generation X Can Keep Up with Generation Y in the Field of Accounting

Generation Xers, those born between 1966 and 1976, have some definite professional advantages over their Generation Y counterparts – those born between 1977 and 1994. Familiarity with modern computer technology is probably not one of them, though.  Gen X grew up using telephones attached to cords in the kitchen and walking across the living room to change television channels, while Generation Y was raised on computers, cell phones and digital cable. Most of this population is relatively comfortable navigating smart technology and keeping up the latest programs, tools and digital trends without much problem.  Using social media sites and adapting to their frequent changes are as ordinary as breathing to the majority of Generation Y. This difference is advantageous to Gen Y accountants and CPAs, and is exactly why Generation X needs to get caught up.

In the field of accounting, the older accountants have typically spent years building their professional network and are directly considered as experts in their area. These professionals are more accustomed to communicating face-to-face and by telephone.  These qualities are essential to a successful accounting career, but if a Gen X accountant is going to stay up-to-date on today’s changing technology trends, he or she needs to be willing to do what it takes not to get lapped by their Gen Y counterparts.  And in these times, this means technology and how it can be used to one's advantage as an accountant.

Here are some ways that Generation X accounants can keep pace with their Generation Y colleagues:

Consider Cloud Computing

Simply put, cloud computing can be viewed as conducting business and keeping all of your data on the web, thus reducing or even eliminating the need for an in-house technology operation.  Traditional software requires that it be distributed and used in-house, whereas any cloud applications are installed and ran on the Internet. Space and processing power is located remotely. It is shared by users and managed and maintained by the cloud vendor. Become familiar with Cloud Computing Services and consider using one or more of the services that fit well with your business.

Develop Smart Habits

Smart tools are used more and more frequently to communicate, compute, collaborate and create.  Instead of viewing these gadgets as a threat to traditional ways of “doing business,” Gen Xers should look at smart phones, tablets, and other devices as ways to enrich what they already have been doing so well.  For instance, instead of a conference call, try a Google+ hangout, which allows real time video chatting for up to ten participants.  Skype and are other user-friendly ways to meet digitally with colleagues and clients around the world.  Work-related travel is reduced, saving the firm time and money.

Smart phones and tablets allow for quick and simple scheduling and texting, meaning that any last minute updates and changes are delivered instantly to the people who need them.  Mobile credit card processors can streamline transactions in a safe and efficient manner.

Counting on Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites are all excellent ways to build networks, advertise your services, and develop professional relationships.  Many Generation Xers use these tools already, but it's Generation Y that really knows the ins and outs of how they can best be used professionally. In order to keep up, Gen X needs to jump on this social train and learn a few tricks from its younger counterparts. Consider taking a class in social media or finding an expert for some one-on-one teaching.

When it comes to accounting, there's no question it's worth teaching the old dog a few new tricks in order to stay at the head of the pack. Generation X’s entrenched pencil and paper accounting skills coupled with today’s technology can literally rocket them right past their Generation Y counterparts. On our site you can learn more about the benefits of becoming a CPA and earning a higher salary.

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