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,
How many of your clients only do things at the last minute? Too many, I'd bet. You're not alone though as "Clients' last minute-itus" is a common complaint I hear about from accountants all over the UK. The question then is how to avoid this? Before we can determine the key change to reduce the
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.
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
What does ‘closing the sale’ mean in the context of accountancy services? None of us like to think that we are in ‘sales’, so perish the thought that we might ever come across as a pushy sales person. In our world I suggest that 'closing the sale' means advancing the sales process to secure absolute
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.
One of my sole practitioner mentoring clients asked me this recently. I thought it would be helpful to share my advice here as the last time I did so was in 2007! Back then it was quite rare for accountants to include specific reference to their fee rates on their websites. Now it is much
I have lost track of the number of accountants who tell me that they don't get good quality leads from their website. They generally either say that their website is a waste of space or that the people who come via their website are just looking for a low price. This then leads the same
Twice in the last week I have been asked my view on fee quotes sent out by accountants I am mentoring. They are not alone. I know from my webinars and round table meetings that plenty of sole practitioners are frustrated by the same issue. In each of the most recent cases I noted that
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
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
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
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
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
Over the years I have addressed this topic many times in training sessions that explained how to make more profits from your smaller clients (without fancy schemes)*. It seems that I have yet to include on this blog the opening summary in which I share what seem to me to be the only six ways in
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
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’
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
We've all done it haven't we. Estimated (or maybe even quoted a fixed) fee for a specific piece of work and then allowed the scope of the work to evolve 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' have
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 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
I love a blog post written by Paul Simister on his 'Differentiate your business' blog. He explains that Yellow Pages Bingo is a game for checking that your marketing hasn’t fallen into the trap of being too similar to your competitors. And he then reveals the results of playing the game with accountants in central
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
Let me be clear I'm not saying that everyone should or can do this. Simply that some accountants do it. I was prompted to write this blog post after engaging with a couple of accountants on twitter. Here are their tweets: Standing order mandates delivered to the bank. Get the customers paying in advance on