Millennial Accountants Don’t Want A Corner Office With A View


Earlier this week, Jody Padar wrote an article in Accounting Today about millennial accountants and I want to share a bit of it with you today.

And it raises the question:

What do young people and new hires to the profession want their career to look like?

I am always encouraging people who use my course or work with me on a resume to realize interviews work two ways.

The firm has to make a decision about you.

And YOU need to make a decision about the firm.

If you follow my steps through the recruiting process, you’ll almost certainly have multiple offers.

And that should be the goal, to have multiple choices. The more choice, the higher the quality.

The most basic analogy is the incredible human success that is the grocery store!


Lots of choices, incredible quality.

Your job search is the exact same.

When you have choices and options in your career, you’re negotiating and deciding from a position of strength.

Once you have options, then you have to make a decision of what’s important to you.

Here’s an excerpt from Jody’s article:

The other day, as I was browsing LinkedIn, I saw a job advertisement for a tax manager.  Now I can honestly say I know nothing about the firm or even the location, but the first three words in the ad made me stop dead in my tracks (and no, I’m not looking for a new job.)  

“Beautiful Downtown Office.”

I read those three words as stifling, painful, and horrifying.

But what shocked me the most is how “old school” firm management believes this is important. Important enough for it to be the first three words in an ad intended to catch a new hire. What is wrong with this picture, firm, and our profession?

Regular readers of my column know work is no longer a place you go. 

It’s what you do, who you are, and a lifestyle. 

A job is not “location based” – especially at the manager level. Yet, this “old school” firm believes that a downtown office is something a “tax manager” level professional would choose. 

(full article)

I remember when I worked at PwC, I thought the Big 4 was the entire accounting profession.

Let me tell you a little secret, it’s not.

There are well over $1.2M accountants and auditors in the US.

According to Accounting Today, in the top 25 firms, there are 217,000 employees.

That means over 80% of accountants don’t work for large firms.

They work for companies and firms that have all sorts of different company environments and cultures.

So what is important to young people?

When I went through the recruitment process, I chose the firm that paid the most attention to me.

The one that courted me.

They showed interest in me.

They believed in me and my potential.

That, more than the office, more than pay, more than prestige, is why I chose the firm.

Why did you choose your firm?

If you haven’t chosen a firm, what will you use to make your decision?

A few months ago we released 15 Things Bean Counter Readers Want From Firms (survey results):

  1. Great company culture
  2. Work life balance
  3. Advancement opportunities
  4. Great learning environment & training
  5. Care about me as a person, not just a “faceless employee”
  6. Enthusiastic employees who are excited about their job and the people they work with
  7. Ability to travel
  8. Stability
  9. Good benefits
  10. Good compensation
  11. Helps me to grow into the best professional I can be
  12. International assignments
  13. Staying current with technology
  14. Forensic accounting opportunities
  15. Community service

The first two are hitting on exactly what Jody is talking about.

The truth is, young people are becoming more and more valuable as technology continues to make accounting and auditing easier.

Young people increasingly want a firm that’s hip, allows flexible or remote work, and is in tune with what’s important to young people today.

A corner office, a nice pension, and office parties aren’t as relevant as there were in the “Mad Men” days.

So what about you? Do you work at a firm that really understands you? Or have you ever interviewed at a firm that was clueless about what’s important to our generation?

  • The Lifestyle Accountant

    Andrew – It’s great to have options and having a choice between working remotely or in the office should be allowed as long as you can produce results. I totally agree with the headline of your post. I don’t particularly care to ever have a corner office with a view. Especially when you can rent an Airbnb in a new city and do your work from there.

  • Leroy

    I admit I maybe somewhat of a hybrid. I would like a nice office and I love an office that likes to have fun together, I also would like the opportunity to travel or should I say leave out the office and interact with new and old clients. I interned with a big 4 and had a horrible experience. I recommend to all the graduates seeking employment to make sure the culture and environment of the organization is what toy are looking for.

  • walter pfannenstiel