Key ways to improve profitability

By | 2018-05-22T23:05:41+00:00 April 17th, 2018|Accountants, Inner Circle, Pricing, Productivity, sole practitioners|

At last week's meeting of The Inner Circle for Accountants our headline discussion topic was: "Improving the profitability of your practice" I offered an early observation that “If you don’t have profitable clients, you don’t have a profitable practice”. What I mean by this is that if your clients do not generate a profit for you,

10 ways to get paid for additional work

By | 2018-05-22T23:05:59+00:00 April 3rd, 2018|Accountants, Pricing, Servicing clients|

Here are ten approaches to getting paid for additional work and that may be worth considering in the right circumstances.  I should stress that I can't wave a magic wand and ensure your clients pay you for additional work that you haven't discussed or billed in a professional way.  The key, invariably is good communication.

Lessons for accountants from….. a childrens’ party entertainer

By | 2018-06-17T17:32:01+00:00 January 16th, 2018|Accountants, Business messaging and branding, Dependability and trust, Experience and expertise, Marketing and promotion, Pricing|

As a teenager, before I started studying to become an accountant, I was a children's party entertainer - and I continued doing this for about 25 years. When I look back I realise that I quickly learned 2 lessons that now, many years later, inform my thinking and advice to accountants. Specialisation I was

25 great answers to the question: How much do you charge?

By | 2017-08-22T09:30:17+00:00 August 22nd, 2017|Accountants, Pricing|

One of the questions Accountants don't like hearing, when approached by a prospective new client, is "How much do you charge?" All too often the question is asked, too early, out of context, and before you've established exactly what accountancy and related services you will be providing. And yet, if you blow the answer, your prospect is gone.

What can you do if your fees are too low?

By | 2016-04-27T10:13:02+00:00 April 27th, 2016|Accountants, Pricing|

Let’s start with a truism. No accountants complain that their clients are paying them too much. Conversely there are five main reasons why accountants think their clients are paying too little: 1. They haven’t put the basic fee up to a commercial level; 2. They don’t charge more during their busiest period; 3. They haven’t

Is it better to have lots of small clients or a smaller number of larger clients?

By | 2015-09-29T15:11:37+00:00 September 29th, 2015|Accountants, Pricing, Servicing clients|

The question I was recently asked by an accountant was actually: “Is it better to have 500 small clients paying me £500 pa or 50 larger clients paying £5,000 pa?” A little background from the accountant concerned: “The reason behind this question is that I have been running my practise for many years looking after

Can you choose your clients?

By | 2015-07-07T09:43:15+00:00 July 7th, 2015|Accountants, Pricing|

An accountant I know inherited his practice from his father and still acts for many of the same clients. He feels he owes them some loyalty and support even though they do not fit the profile of the practice he has been building. He described his ideal clients - of which he seems to have a

Lessons for accountants from…. hairdressers

By | 2015-06-23T14:51:33+00:00 June 23rd, 2015|Accountants, Pricing|

The question of how to set professional fees is an old one. I've talked before about EasyJet pricing and referenced the way that we pay upfront for most forms of transport and holidays.  But we are not used to doing this when we are engaging someone to provide a personal service - such as hairdressing. Nevertheless some

The end of accountants?

By | 2013-04-22T09:13:02+00:00 April 22nd, 2013|Business messaging and branding, Pricing|

In early 2013 Professor Richard Susskind published a new book, 'Tomorrow's lawyers'. This included some updated observations of the views expressed in his previous book, published in 2008: The End of Lawyers? Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services. As I share many of Professor Susskind's views I thought I would pick out one theme for this blog. He

Are your fees high enough?

By | 2013-03-04T10:05:44+00:00 March 4th, 2013|Pricing|

Let’s start with a truism. No accountants complain that their clients are paying them too much. Conversely there are four main reasons why accountants think their clients are paying too little: 1. They haven’t put the basic fee up to a commercial level; 2. They don’t charge more during their busiest period; 3. They haven’t

How do you bill for extras over a fixed fee?

By | 2013-02-18T11:13:30+00:00 February 18th, 2013|Pricing|

We’ve all done it haven’t we? Estimated a fee (or maybe even quoted a fixed fee) for a specific piece of work and then the scope of the work has changed slightly. And then a bit more. Perhaps we’ve delegated the work and have not kept in touch with how much extra time the ‘tweaks’

Apparently this is one of the Top 30 accounting and finance blogs

By | 2013-02-04T09:52:22+00:00 February 4th, 2013|Career development, Mark's other sites, Pricing, Uncategorized|

Last month I received what appears to be a genuine endorsement of all my work to make this blog useful, relevant, commercial and valuable to ambitious accountants. I was initially a tad cynical but this blog really is the fourth in a list of the Top 30 Accounting and Finance Blogs of 2012. The note I received last week from

The January tax return rush is your own fault

By | 2011-12-22T10:45:15+00:00 December 22nd, 2011|Accountants, Pricing, Productivity|

Chatting with an accountant recently he told me he was amazed why so many clients leave their tax returns to the last minute.  He told me he chases clients throughout the year. He sends reminders and prompts. He has recently asked around his business networks to clarify why small business owners and investors do this.

Seth Godin steps into the time vs value billing debate

By | 2011-05-04T09:15:03+00:00 May 4th, 2011|Pricing|

Seth Godin is renowned for his pithy and thought provoking blog posts and books.  His most recent post is a new (to me) way of looking at the age-old 'time vs value based' billing argument: "Long work is what the lawyer who bills 14 hours a day filling in forms does. Hard work is what

What is ‘Cheap accounting’ all about?

By | 2011-03-31T09:12:56+00:00 March 31st, 2011|Pricing, Tax related|

I wonder how many readers of this blog had heard of Elaine Clark before I awarded her the 'best overnight budget summary' last week? Elaine qualified as a chartered accountant in 1988 and now and runs one of the fastest growing online accountancy practices in the UK. She established it in 2007 and has a