The twenty-first century has seen unprecedented growth in technology (smart phones, social media, peer-to-peer businesses, etc.), prompting major shifts in the way that we live and work—and laying the foundation for a booming gig economy. As communications technology has exploded, we have transformed into a hyper-connected, data-driven world in which finding work (or landing a “gig”) is literally at our fingertips. The gig economy represents an ever-expanding, diverse population of workers and business owners who value their autonomy; to be an accountant for the gig economy means earning their trust and providing expertise and services that are relevant to their unique needs. Here is an overview of providing accounting services for the gig economy.
Who are Gig Workers?
“Gig workers” is the latest buzz word to describe the growing number of workers who have chosen to leave behind conventional employment in favor of work as independent contractors, freelancers or part-time employees. The technology explosion has ushered in new ways to make money that are outside the bounds of the traditional workforce. More and more workers are flocking to gig work to explore the freedoms that it offers: taking charge of their income and future-planning, escaping the physical and mental confines of the corporate culture, feeding their entrepreneurial spirits and achieving work-life balance, to name a few.
To understand gig workers, it’s important to throw out any preconceived notions about a specific generation or cluster of occupations associated with this economy. With more than one-third of American workers representing the gig economy (baby boomers and millennials alike), you can count on diversity in your client base. Be prepared to encounter a wide range of ages, skill sets, education levels and income expectations.
Gig Workers are Anything but Traditional
Having forgone both the restrictions and benefits of a traditional job, many gig workers must be incredibly disciplined to ensure that they remain productive and profitable. They are driven by creativity and a DIY approach toward every aspect of their work, including their finances. As a result, gig workers are often resistant to paying for accounting services. Accountants must not only compete with other accountants for their business but also with a variety of accounting software products and apps that seem to offer affordable solutions for gig workers. But the need for quality accounting services in the gig economy is very real, and there is great potential for growing your client base in this realm.
Know Your Gig
The gig economy represents a wide demographic range, and successful accountants narrow the scope of their services to meet the needs of particular segments of the gig workforce. Example gig economy segments include independent contractors working for companies (Uber, Lyft), freelance workers with their own client base (Amazon sellers) and people with part-time freelance gigs (writing, editing, data entry) to supplement their income.
Make Your Online Presence Known
Gaining the attention and trust of your target audience in the gig economy requires that you meet them where they are (online), deliver quality user experiences and demonstrate your expertise. Investing in compelling online content and solid marketing tools (websites, social media, SEO) will help potential clients find you as they search for financial guidance and resources.
With a rapidly growing gig economy comes the demand for accounting services that can adapt to the digital culture and meet the unique needs of gig workers. Accountants are required to demonstrate the same level of ingenuity, agility and knowledge that drives their clients’ work.
Need more information? Contact Pinnacle Accounting and Finance for expert guidance as you navigate the new landscape of the gig economy.
Note: Some information in this article was adapted from articles for adp.com and forbes.com. Links to these articles can be accessed below.