Demographic Determination

Last week we talked about six demographic trends impacting the U.S.

  1. The South rises again
  2. The browning of America
  3. Marrying out is in
  4. The Silver Tsunami is about to hit
  5. The end of men (?)
  6. Cooling water from grandma’s well

So what are we to do to react to or even better turn these trends into advantages for the accounting profession? Here are a few thoughts from Dr. Johnson with my own thoughts as well.

  • Embrace immigrants and immigration – immigrants are much more likely to be young, and young people who do not strain our social services are exactly what we need to sustain Social Security, Medicare and even all of the local programs because the Silver Tsunami is going to hit. The problem with immigration is that it quickly comes to a debate on illegal immigration. The demographic facts are that if we are to thrive as a country we need to greatly expand legal immigration and in so doing we will probably solve a lot of the illegal immigration problem.
  • Recognize that consumer markets and new businesses are going to be far more diverse – not only are immigrants usually young, but they are also much more entrepreneurial than the average non-immigrant. After all, they are risk takers simply by being immigrants. These entrepreneurs are the life blood of many businesses including growing CPA practices, so we are going to have to be able to relate to them if we are to be successful.
  • Prepare for change in low-growth regions – While the South will continue with “growth as usual,” that won’t necessarily apply to the rest of the country. Our colleagues outside of the South will need to prepare for a significantly more difficult path to growth and all the problems that entails for a business scorecard where what you are going to do next year counts more than what you have done lately.
  • Look for talent where no one else is looking – talented minority candidates at elite schools are in such high demand that they can work almost anywhere they want. If you want to make your workforce more diverse, then you need to look at schools without the big names. They are local schools you may have ignored for years, but you can’t afford to ignore any source of talent in the competitive future.
  • Listen to the Millennials – Younger workers have made different lifestyle and workstyle choices from the older generations. Many people point out we were saying the same things about the baby boomers in the ’60’s and ’70’s, but unlike the baby boomers today’s generation knows their talent is in demand and they aren’t afraid to take it somewhere else to work; maybe even your competitor. You better figure out a way to make them a part of your business’ future or your business won’t have a future.

I know many of you will not agree with everything I have said and that is what is great about this country. We are allowed to disagree and do our own thing (as long as it isn’t illegal). If you don’t agree with my answers, that’s fine, but what are your answers, because ignoring the issues won’t make them go away.

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