Anyone who has heard me speak recently will recall my encouragement to review the way in which fees are set. I’ve also posted numerous previous items on this subject. A summary and link to them all is included in this one: Negotiating fees when times are tough.
I’ve just had a call from an accountant who was telling me how successfully he has found what he calls the ‘Easyjet approach to pricing’ his services.
Simply stated he quotes a low fee for completing a tax return in April or May and the fee increases as the year progresses. The fee charged for preparing tax returns in Dcemeber or January is more then five times the fee he quoted for doing the work in April or May.
He doesn’t feel himself constrained by time costs. After all his time and that of his staff are largely fixed costs. Business clients pay a fee by reference to their turnover – the bigger the client grows the bigger the fee he charges. he spends no time analysing time sheets, worrying about write-offs or under-recoveries. The accountant’s focus is on the aggregate fees he needs to generate to cover all his costs and make a profit. Anything over and above that is pure profit.
Now I know that such systems are not as simple to operate in practice as they are to summarise in a telephone conversation (or on a blog). But the point is that traditional time costing for recurring accounting services is not going to help ambitious accountants to win new clients in a recession.
What other examples do you have of innovative approaches to pricing by accountants?