Episode 23

Published on:

18th Feb 2022

Pricing: Moving to Fixed Pricing

This is our second episode on pricing. If you missed the first episode, check out Pricing: Don't trash the time sheet...Yet.

This episode focuses on fixed pricing - where it makes sense in your firm, and how to go about creating a fixed price. Probably no surprises, but it does start with a time sheet. We cover off on cost accounting of accounting and bookkeeping with simple time motion studies and then simply applying an appropriate rate for the transaction, the team meetings, the client meetings and even the training required. It's relatively simple, but a great place to start. To be successful with fixed pricing, this cost accounting is critical. Equally important is the discovery process that takes place prior to quoting and so we spend some time discussing how to develop a robust discovery process. Fixed pricing can easily fail without this robust discovery, and you're set up to fail from the outset, so make sure you spend time on the front end getting to know as much as possible about the business - and don't worry you can realize that time in your pricing model.

As we've said, we're not experts in pricing, but we've made enough mistakes along the way, and have built confidence in the methodology, but we're always interested in your feedback. And if you'd like any consulting help on the pricing front, please get in touch.

Penny Breslin - LinkedIn | @PennyB57

Damien Greathead - LinkedIn | @Damien_GH



Timestamp Speaker Transcript

00:07.27 satvcpodcast And we're back with another episode of strategy and the virtual controller. My name is daen grayhead I'm sitting in Sydney it's it's a gray and gloomy day here. My co-host penny braslin she's sitting in San diego penny. How's ah, how's your day going.

00:22.20 penny Um, so far so good. It's beautiful, sunny and nice seventy 1 degrees perfect.

00:28.17 satvcpodcast Lovely Did you get out and have a sur for or has the water.

00:32.29 penny Ah, the water. Um, right now in Southern california is not something I want to jump into.

00:40.42 satvcpodcast Fair enough fair enough. Well folks, we're back today on our strategy in the virtual controller. Our websites satvc dot co head over there and find all the latest episodes and any articles that we link to etc, etc. Um, so hopefully everyone knows the drill there last episode penny. We were talking about pricing. It was our first conversation about pricing I think there's a couple of episodes there's a few more episodes to come and and as as we said before. Um, we're not the experts necessarily in pricing but we've got ah enough bruises and we've been beaten up and made enough mistakes along the way and so the idea over the next couple of episodes is to share our insights into pricing um particularly around that back office support services and how to price those. So. Check out the last episode because we talked about um, billing by the hour both penny and I are fans of time sheets. They they play a role in in the firm and understanding how long it takes to do tasks is a really important part. Ah, the next phase of your pricing journey where we talk about fixed pricing. So check out that last episode because I think there'll be some. It might give you some confidence and and be okay with the idea of those scenarios where billing by the hour makes sense catch up discovery I mean penny you even said. You charge by the hour for some clients for the first 3 months because you don't know what you don't know.

02:10.22 penny Exactly Um, sometimes they don't know and and ah lately um, it's been businesses that are startups that are in flux that you're you you become part of. Defining the process going forward and so things change and and so you don't you know, not that everything gets smooth ever. But you can smooth some things out. Um, and.

02:34.39 satvcpodcast Yeah, yeah.

02:49.16 penny Those things that you can smooth out those things that you can make repetitive those are the things you can bundle into a flat rate.

02:55.62 satvcpodcast And and we actually touched on change orders as well and I think we'll probably dig in dig deeper into that today because if the if if the transaction. But if as you said last week you've got to have someone keeping their eye on the on the gate on the ball in terms of What's actually going through the accounts and and as this traffic cop how much traffic is flowing because if we see an increase in traffic more transactions more employees and we don't speak to the client about that. That's only going to to erode your margin as we're doing more. For the same amount so keeping an eye on the ball is is incredibly important. Ah yeah, yeah, so let's let's um, let's keep going on the on the pricing journey and let's jump into fixed pricing because I think as you said that the.

03:28.23 penny Are you going to surprise them with a bill and they're gonna go what the was that Oh yeah.

03:47.27 satvcpodcast Time and billing is is prone to surprises and clients actually none of us like surprises and and particularly none of us like a surprising bill that we weren't expecting so fixed pricing helps overcome that and and it allows you and the client to sit down and actually decide on what it is exactly you are. And are not going to do for the client but let's just sort of skip forward and say that we have come to agreement of certain accounting bookkeeping back office tasks Penny How do you approach the actual.. How do you price?? um price your activities. How do you know how to fix a price. Um, for for your client's bookkeeping.

04:28.42 penny No well stand now. It's it's kind of like labor intensive because I think you have to when I when I originally wrote this book somebody asked me this once I remember I was doing a panel discussion a cpa was next to me goes so when can I outs us to you because he was on the panel with me and ago. Wait a minute did didn't you hear me tell you that before you can even do this. You have to be able to hind social clients and you have to go through these steps to get to that point. So 1 of the first steps we talked about way back in the beginning is deciding what you want to do so if what you want to do is Bookkeeping. You have to break the bookkeeping process down for a given client or vertical I would say go vertical First you know, just say this because now you've got these kind of clients. You can expect every day every week every month and every quarter this is the work that needs to get done for this type of business. So when you know what it is. We're doing accounts payable. We do in payroll we do in bank reconciliations allocations and you you define out each of those as a task and I do I take reconciliation as a separate task from allocation. Because ai can help me with allocation um ai will eventually get to reconciliation no doubt. But it's not quite there yet. Um, but just like what do we need to do sales tax returns for you if we do are you a monthly sales tax return person. Are you a quarterly size sales day. Do we need to deal with the fact that you are selling online through other states. Then do we have to deal with Salt. Do we have do we have a ah threshold Nexus do I have to bring in another app so you have to kind of look at that. So you might say I can do bookkeeping flat rate at these 3 prices. But I think you can only justify that if you have a vertical business that you're going after to where you know that these are the things they're going to have to deal with certainly what you would flat rate price somebody with 2 employees is completely different than what you would flatten rate somebody with 5 employees and has to deal with inventory whether or not the inventory is in the accounting program or not. It's an asset that you have to deal with at the end at least at the end of the year so just you have to look at what are the tasks so I write out every single flipping bookkeeping task I can think of and I look at what is the average time to manually do.

06:49.85 satvcpodcast Um.

06:57.70 penny Ah, transaction within that particular function and.

07:00.66 satvcpodcast Okay, so you're so you're getting down to that level of granularity. So let's say processing Ap how how do you do that stack of bills on the left hand side.

07:08.94 penny So I know that if I know that it manually takes a human to take a invoice type it into an accounting program set it up for a bill and then set it off a payment. It takes them 3 Minutes. Human to do it right? So depending on this. They might get a little bit quicker once they know the program but you have to go you always go with the worst case scenario. So it takes 3 minutes to do 1 bill I can add in an app that would probably cut that. Down to maybe at best forty five seconds and I'd still have to have somebody kind of review it click on it approve it pay it so add that in. So now we're in a minute forty five. So it's minute forty five to do a bill in a base. Best case scenario using ai ai means I've got a third party app. Over on top of it. So sometimes that app's going to cost me money sometimes it's not but um, so now how many average bills. Do you send out Miss Mr. Or mrs business owner or Miss business owner or whatever it is the pronoun wants to be. How many bills? Do you send out on average every month and that's what I'm going to have to touch I'm gonna have to deal with that. So I multiplied that I don't multiply it by the 1 point four five I hope to get I multiply it by the 3 minutes because.

08:40.40 satvcpodcast Ah.

08:43.98 penny There's always a little time before and after you complete a task that's is thinking time. But.

08:50.97 satvcpodcast And and penny before we go on can I just sort of how did you get to 3 minutes and and if if sort of listeners are thinking. So so basically get it. Yeah, get a stack of bills and and pay it pay them and then divide by the total number of bills.

08:56.35 penny So time it I time them. So.

09:04.40 penny I I I sat down and put timers I would I did time motion studies you know and I did it based on worst case, scenario you're going to get a paper bill. You're gonna have to open the envelope and you're gonna have to key it in because I don't have a guarantee.

09:09.64 satvcpodcast Um, yeah.

09:16.73 satvcpodcast The.

09:23.69 penny That you the business owner are going to do 1 hundred percent. What I want with the technology or that the technology's always going to work perfectly or that even all your vendors are going to send you stuff via I mean it's it's surprising. But. Still get people who want to deal with paper and I'm going sorry I don't have a place for you to send that paper. But um, but still worst case scenario three minutes

09:43.46 satvcpodcast The.

09:51.32 satvcpodcast But that time and motion study is an important part and and to your point about it being. It can be a bit labor intensive early on it's better to have ah ah a good understanding and complete visibility into that time and motion.

09:57.78 penny Yeah.

10:07.98 satvcpodcast Because that's going to dramatically impact your your realization and your margin and at the end of the day. Got it. Thank you.

10:11.19 penny Yeah, sure and and so I've got ap the word the the most difficult thing to I think outsource is ar um, but the basics you know, accounts payable allocation reconciliation. Payroll. You know you you got a third party payroll system I mean even with the third party payroll system you're still having to manage some and there are some out there that I just will rock you I mean they they're just perfect but you still having to negotiate especially with smaller businesses. Large of the business. It's a little bit easier. It's a little bit more fully functional for you? Um, um, organizing source documents takes time and if you are a bookkeeper if you're doing bookkeeping for any business you need to put in time to organize the. Documents that you receive whether they're electronic or paper probably ninety percent electronic now. Um, and then the time it takes for somebody also to create the task to to put the documents where they need to be named the certain way. You know that takes time because when you get a client's document. You know, hopefully you're attaching it if you can into an online accounting program. But you still are storing it somewhere in some cloud storage whether you share it with the client or not and it has to have a naming convention to it.

11:28.37 satvcpodcast And.

11:46.87 penny And you have to develop that naming convention because otherwise it just gets outrageously ridiculous and you have too much duplication and um, so there's time involved in.

11:53.82 satvcpodcast And you'll never be able to find anything yeah and and and actually as we're sort of as you're talking about um the the different functions and the different technology you've you've got the ap you've got the payroll I sort of go back to our little black dress episode a couple of weeks ago where. This is where that standardization is so important isn't it and and and proving those tools because you you don't want the team to have to be masters of 3 and four different payroll systems and and 3 and four different ap systems because that's going to bring variability. Into the business which again is going to impact that margin and and the amount of time associated with the various tasks. So um, bit of a shout out to the little black. Yeah.

12:39.88 penny And I bought that and I live I live in that world right? because the cpa is that outsource to us. They all have their own little black dress if they don't they so they certainly get 1 certainly after that they stop working with. And in fact I just I just had a really great.

12:49.44 satvcpodcast Um, ah hurt.

12:58.94 penny Posum email this morning from feely News Cpa firm that said, okay now now we're gonna pay you through build a com I'm going Yay you at least got it for your own firm like you. Ah.

13:07.24 satvcpodcast The little steps penny. It's the little winds isn't it.

13:13.60 penny I know it's a little it. It was a little whib but I was so grateful for it. But so if you can verticalize it. It's great like I don't get to live in that world. So I had to build vertical teams to go with ah with a firm that would come in because you know basically. You know our clients. They're all in the same apps. Ah the same apps sell to zero and qio and to accounting sweet andage and all that so we have we go? Okay, you're using gusto payroll you're over on this team. You're using intuit payroll you're over on this team. You're using patriot. Okay, we got that. So yeah because I I I want to cross-train my teams but I want the ones who are working in this stuff day in and day out to be extremely efficient and understand that the program that they're in very deeply I might have superficial knowledge of it. In fact I tell people that I go I only know so much my team. That's all the rest. They do all the deep dive and stuff. But so we have specialist teams built on vertical text x so you want to you don't want to have that in your office. So if somebody comes to you and they're using a different. App then you have to really think about you know is it ah they using that app because it's real critical to their business and because it works so well all right? But if it takes you out of your comfort zone. You need to add a little bit onto that because now you're going to be keeping abreast. Of 2 technologies that do the same thing.

14:52.33 satvcpodcast And nine times out of 10 Penny. Ah clients very few clients are ah tied to the application of the accounting applications that they typically come to you with unless of course it is a very specific vertical with a very specific need. Um, but most people come to, um, come to their accountant with with whatever their last accountant recommended or whoever set up their books Initially. So I don't think I haven't heard too many um cases where clients are so in love and enamored with their payroll or with their ap. That they're not willing to change to what the accountant the expert is recommending for their back office. So just because that was 1 of the traps that we saw with receipt bank is that practitioners and and with thought that they had to know every single expense management app because their clients were coming with with. All different types of expense management apps but actually the clients were looking for their accountant to advise them on the best tools for the Job. So I think that's a really important opportunity for accountants to add value to help streamline their clients back office. So don't feel as though you have to take on a new app. Because my goodness you will um you will You will be overwhelmed very quickly if you take on any app that comes through the door so head back to that little black dress episode and and check that 1 out.

16:21.58 penny The other thing that I that you want to put into this is you know analysis time. So what I do on my my worksheet with all my formulas is go okay. My team. My team consists of maybe 2 cpas and we have maybe five bookkeepers and we have 3 admin staff and we schedule if we're gonna do this back office work and we're gonna do it and for our clients. And we're not I'm not talking about somebody who's doing maybe tax work I'm taking tax work off the table. Yeah because that's it. That's a that's a hos of another color this is reoccurring you would touch in the client stuff all the time. So you're gonna have meetings about that client and you need to add. Roll that up into your pricing. So say you have a weekly meeting you all get together for lunch and you discuss the client you're dealing with so maybe 1 client takes up the whole hour of the meeting. Maybe five minutes for each client. But then I take okay, what's the hourly price that I break down to pay somebody during that meeting. To be in that meeting to give me the information I need to do the work for the client as like maybe the cfo. Okay, so what's my time what's their time um so I kind of break it down I go okay, any given team can handle this many clients. So I'm gonna I'm gonna charge. Every client a percentage of that hour onto their flat monthly bookkeeping.

18:00.10 satvcpodcast and and I think that's that's an important 1 I've seen your analysis sheet but you've got training in there. You've got meetings I mean discovery should be in there as well discoveries hourly. Ah.

18:10.45 penny Um, Discovery is hourly I'm sorry Discovery's always out like yeah.

18:19.24 satvcpodcast I have seen some firms where they just put in a flat five hundred dollars or a thousand dollars or something along those lines for the for the for the for those meetings that are apparently initial consultations which are which are free initial consultations.

18:32.16 penny Yeah, yeah.

18:34.77 satvcpodcast The actual cost of that is factored into the the overall billing so it might not be discovery. But it's certainly those extra meetings in the lead up. It's the team. It's the training to make sure that the the price that you give is inclusive of all these of all these um.

18:38.56 penny Yeah, yeah.

18:52.91 satvcpodcast Um, I was going to say extracurricula but all of the activities around the actual bookkeeping function.

18:57.93 penny Well, yeah I mean if you look at all the articles if you just look at that at the at the at the way this industry is changing and the focus that's being put on what it is people want from the business. Finance Manager Cfo Bookkeeper I don't care what your terminology is if you are handling somebody's money and your you're you're taking an asset of this and you're breaking it down. So that 1 they understand how much money they've got coming in how much profit they have what they have to pay in taxes you're doing all of that stuff for Them. You are going to be seen as the person that they're going to call up at a drop of the hat whenever there's a money question. And so you've got to make sure that you're available to do that. You got to make sure that when you're doing it. You don't feel like you're getting taken advantage of and you don't want your client to feel like I'm afraid to ask you these questions because you're going to build me so you've got to take into a fact that that stuff actually goes on every single. That stuff goes on all the time and it's not just you and the client talk and it's you and even if it's in your office your bookkeeper dealing with the client your bookkeeper may be dealing with an employee of your client So when figure in organization time figure in how long does it take to set up the tasking. And I have to manage the tasking. You know 1 of the things I find with that with workflows is 1 of the things we do we do in I think I I talked about this before is we go in and we close out and complete tasks that somebody else already did but they did it months ago and they never completed it because you know but that takes time that takes time and then people don't. Do that because they think they got to get to the next chaos critical moment where as if you if you actually gave yourself the breathing space. Be honest with your client. Be honest with yourself about really what it takes for you to work. Do a good job and breathe at the same time.

21:06.42 satvcpodcast And what do you do there? Penny do you sort of just for the q and a in the back and forth. Do you just sort of is that a gut thing based on the transaction volume. The number of employees. It's probably going to be about 5 hours a month or or do you act and and and and do you say to the client. I've facted in 5 hours because there's gonna there's always going to be some back and forth and sometimes it'll be 6 hours sometimes it'll be four hours across the course of the month but I don't want you to feel as though you can't talk to me like how do you.

21:40.18 penny Yeah, ah, that's that that's a good question. That's when I think verticalization comes in and and and that's not just comes in but that's another reason for it is because.

21:41.10 satvcpodcast How do you do that on your analysis sheet and then how do you talk about that with your client.

21:50.62 satvcpodcast There's a.

21:56.31 penny The same types of businesses are gonna have the same types of issues. They're gonna have the same types of hours that it's going to take to do their work. Um, but you know after you've done your discovery and I think that after 3 months you go back and and in a service level agreement I would write in in 3 months. We're goingnna come back and we're going to revisit what we're doing once we get to that reoccurring stuff. We've got discovery. We got everything done. We've gut flow. Weve got. We've got you guys in the apps. We want you in. We've got information flowing every week we're we're doing a soft close if that's what it is that you want and that's what you're paying for. Now I've got 3 months of that under my belt because even like with a bank saying I'll look at a bank's fee I'll take 3 months in in in that best part of the year because some business is a seasonal and I'll go okay, how many transactions are in those 3 months how many bank accounts how many credit cut accounts how many transactions so I know. Got 3 months under my bell with you and in the service level agreement. They sign off with we're going to reevaluate this at the end of 3 months and I'll tell you what if it's costing me a little bit less than I expect and I can give the client that benny and it's a good client and they've been very cooperative. Might go back to them and say look at you know something we can do this a little bit cheaper. Do you think that I'm going to lose a client. Do you think um, the client's Goingnna go? Oh no, usually you know I'll tell you what happens they go well wait a minute. Can you do this now said you got the time just thinking.

23:27.26 satvcpodcast Um, yeah, yeah, and.

23:34.31 penny So so you but but you can also go back to them and say you know like we did with that client and spain going do 3 hundred and fifty transactions on a daily basis a little bit more than what you told this was gonna happen. It was ah.

23:38.60 satvcpodcast Ah.

23:47.40 satvcpodcast And yeah, well hang on. You told us this but you're actually doing.

23:51.56 penny Well no it. It wasn't it wasn't that his business went from zero to like overnight so it was just 1 of those things had 3 of them do that just this year and I think I'm going to give up I mean this this go have to be my last book because I can't do these and anymore of these experiments burning me up.

23:58.22 satvcpodcast The.

24:08.71 satvcpodcast But so penny if we're if we're on the fixed prices. We've we've done our time and motion studies we've we've gone in and done good discovery. We've got the bank 3 months worth of transactions. We've got 3 months worth of ap to to guessimmate that.

24:11.24 penny Yeah.

24:23.23 penny You do? well. So there's some other things I add in there though I have apps that a client facing that are in there like if you got you know Bill Dot Com Auguststo Bero Ah Ameiomeio doesn't you know, really cost you anything So that's cool, but but if if you've got these costs.

24:28.20 satvcpodcast Yeah.

24:42.67 penny You break them up those go directly to the client you can say you can either take the bill yourself like quickbooks online or zero pay yourself and then build a client for whatever it is I do whatever it intuit charges me whatever zero charges me. That's what I charge a client other people. Do it a different way.

24:45.30 satvcpodcast Earth.

25:02.68 penny That's totally up to them. Um, but there's also other apps that you're using in your office like workflow workflows question fifty dollars a month per user. No, it's not cheap. It's not cheap and we got to talk about that. It is not cheap.

25:09.79 satvcpodcast Um, actually workflow is not cheap. Is it or document management.

25:22.41 penny For god damn good reason because it does if you use it I don't care which 1 you use as long as you use it? Well you will live a better life but that fifty dollars a month take a piece of that and add that into the bill too.

25:34.55 satvcpodcast Um, yeah.

25:40.15 penny You know, just figure that cost into it. So what's your overhead cost to manage all of your clients and try to meet a little piece of it. So maybe it's an extra dollar a month because you're paying for workflow that's tracking 20 of their tasks every month right

25:57.37 satvcpodcast Yeah, you you sort of across across a across a client across your own team Workflow can add up. But also if you spread it across your client base. It can. It can be easily.

25:59.90 penny It's workflow that you have to pay for you have to maintain and you have to train somebody on.

26:09.37 penny Here. Sure.

26:16.40 satvcpodcast Easily captured now if okay so I've got I've got my transactions I've got my meeting time I've got my training time I've got my software if I'm looking at yep now I Guess my question is.

26:16.55 penny Just thought yeah.

26:24.00 penny And then I add an hour of my time and period my falling full improvement.

26:32.71 satvcpodcast So I've got 1 column of the the spreadsheet or the analysis worksheet. What do I put in in the rate am I putting in a blended rate or am I putting pennies time for that 1 hour that's 500 dollars an hour. My reconciliation team is is.

26:46.50 penny Yes, the blended rate on those tasks where it takes 2 or 3 people you have to break it down. So like if I'm going to have my meeting who's in the meeting I'm going to have the bookkeeper myself and ma me an admin person so I'm putting in I take an hour meeting for a client. An hour of my time an hour of the bookkeepers basic payroll hourly rate and the admin's hourly rate. Okay I'm going to have ah in that 1 hour meeting I'm going to discuss these five clients and we have that scheduled to do it every month okay that's what I'm going to charge those 5 clients that broken up within that hour of those 3 hourly rates. But if it's just my hour time my consulting hour that I give them every month where we spend an hour discussing their kpis whatever it is that they want to discuss whatever is you. You can great create a schedule. This's really good mock wikishi has it ron baker has it that where you can say you know these are the compliance things you have to deal with every all year long the united states is really good at this. We have lots of compliance states it compared to other countries and.

27:53.80 satvcpodcast Yes.

27:59.38 penny But it doesn't mean that that's the way the conversations going to happen and it may mean that your your 1 owl with your client for one month is only five minutes but 2 months later down the line that hour is used up and you still have to talk to the Client. You're not going to stop nick 1 down and because you got away with five minutes on a p prior 1 so it kind of gives you a whip based the low low. So that hourly rate is just my hourly rate added into that spreadsheet.

28:23.59 satvcpodcast And and then basically at the end of it once you've done your discovery you've plugged it into the the worksheet with your time and motion studies you blended rates, etc. A monthly price should be spat out is that right? yep.

28:39.42 penny Yep, it's a month or whoa whoa. It's a monthly cost. It's your cost. It's your cost that you're figuring out then you can look in now I can tell you this, you've been in the room when I've presented this to accountants right.

28:42.79 satvcpodcast Ah, okay, monthly cost.

28:55.00 penny And they'll go So what did you charge him and I'll go Well, what would you charge him.

28:58.45 satvcpodcast Yeah.

his and this is this is dated:

30:37.18 satvcpodcast And so what did you charge him or what did it So at yeah.

30:48.90 satvcpodcast Yeah I would have said at least triple it because that that's sort of that's 1 of the rules is sort of 3 times your cost is 1 of the general rules in in that sort of same as last year approach but but I mean that's sort of interesting like.

30:54.62 penny I.

31:03.11 penny No, even my cbo client say that I underch charge. So I know you know.

31:04.92 satvcpodcast That was a long laundry list. Yes, but but that was a long laundry list of of what you're doing for them a bit.

31:12.55 penny but but but I've got it broken down like you know the payables total hour of time needed for the month to do their payables I've got to broke it and I just you know the multipliers are all there and so.

31:22.31 satvcpodcast Um, yeah, yeah, yeah.

was telling you were based on:

32:07.95 satvcpodcast 2013 and also your your labor force which is in Chenna. Yeah, yeah, so so I think that's 2 caveats that that are important 2013 where your labor's based, but but I mean I think it's and and maybe this is.

32:09.74 penny Pricing. India. Yeah, yeah.

32:20.23 penny Yeah.

ust say you were doing it for:

32:57.24 penny And not only that you've got the data you get the data that's real to do a tax return Slam donk so you're not like you're not like you've already collected all the documents you've got control of everything so there's no more. Last minute. They're bringing me the tax stuff so you can load level your tax return work. It's going to be faster and easier to do the tax return and in some cases you may want to even just throw it in because if you want to you know, get a little bit more on the month to month but there are other things that accountants are doing.

33:25.90 satvcpodcast Ahead.

33:35.00 penny Can help their clients and you've you've got an opportunity because you've got control of all that data you get you got that information and and if you use your team properly. You've got the space in your own life to have the to look at the clients work and actually help them make good decisions going. Forward Not Backward I can use historical data to make conscious variable moves into the future to make effective changes.

34:05.29 satvcpodcast And I think that's why client accounting services and I've actually seen it extended now to client accounting and advisory services I think are 1 of the fastest growing service lines in an accounting firm because the technology and is is there that enables you to do it, but it just unlocks an enormous amount of. Potential within your client base and and I think again another topic. How do we? price? those advisory services We we can discuss that um in 1 of the next episodes the value ad which is actually you which is your gravy isn't it because um, yeah, that's where you're gonna make.

34:32.94 penny Um, that's value added now isn't it. Yeah, that's gravy. Yeah, this is all you lost This is this is your overhead management. How do I keep the doors open everything else becomes gravy. So.

34:44.17 satvcpodcast Yes.

34:48.65 satvcpodcast So I think we've got a couple of episodes there. We've got how do we actually talk about this with our clients for them to see us as the the ideal partner to provide this back office support services. And then how do we? How do we step into that advisory role and charge for those services because as you said penny you're in this data day in day out. Um, that's what gives you the ability to bring insight into the client's business. That's what gives you the ability to to. Do that slam dunk tax return to do proper tax planning and business planning which I think is where the money is where the value is and it's it's where the client relationship and that trust is is really built isn't it.

35:29.90 penny When you do the verticals you can do verticals and once you get solid with 1 vertical. You can you can if you want to expand your business and go I'm going to hire another team and I'm going to start another vertical but the thing is when you're in that vertical too. Is you? You're collecting data across Across. Same kind of businesses across a geographic area and that gives you a much more in-depth view into how that business overall that business type is moving Along. What's the future of It. Where's it going to go. We're all worried about where we're all going to go.

36:03.62 satvcpodcast Yeah, in the and ah and and maybe ah, maybe on that note penny. That's where where we where we we we we finish up today's episode so um

36:05.29 penny We're all going to go to the same place but but makes for.

36:19.25 satvcpodcast Couple more episode. Well there's probably a few more episodes on on pricing and and sharing some of our insights as we move into the value ad as we move into the actual talking to our clients about it. The objection handling because I know a client's always going to come back and and say well if we do this is that going to make it cheaper but let's hold. Hold off on that until um, until the next episode so penny. Um, any final thoughts on the fixed pricing side of things other than develop that worksheet get back into the spreadsheet.

36:48.81 penny Develop the worksheet watch everything and you know what make it clear to your client that this is something we're going to reevaluate in 3 months and then again in six months and pay attention because hopefully your client's business due to your wonderful advisory services is growing. And therefore they need more work and that's more available to more time.

37:10.16 satvcpodcast Fantastic ladies and gentlemen um satv c dot co s a t vc dot co is where you can find all the episodes for strategy in the virtual controller a couple new couple of reviews came in Pennies. So. Um, short and sharp 1 from db account just said helpful guidance helpful guidance for seamless automation. Five stars there and then another 1 good insights to help me grow five stars from Jedda really useful tips and insights from damien and penny on how to run an accounting firm. As they say themselves. It's not Rocket science but good reminders to help me stay focused on what's important to my business. Um, so folks if you are enjoying what you're listening to do us a favor write a review for us. Give us a rating that's going to help us bump up our bump up our position on on the various podcast platforms and and help. Get the word out and attract more listeners but until next time penny. It's always a pleasure. Look forward to talking to you on our next episode.

38:08.87 penny Have a good 1 damien.

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About the Podcast

Strategy and the Virtual Controller
Helping accounts and bookkeepers build the firm they want, their way
Your hosts Penny Breslin and Damien Greathead have more than 30 years of combined experience in the accounting industry. This podcast is to share their experiences of working in, and consulting to accounting and bookkeeping firms of all sizes, helping them grow.

Nothing discussed will be rocket science, instead they'll be discussing 'how' firms have successfully, and not so successfully, pursued growth. Penny and Damien will be sharing their insights on how firms can be successful by focusing on their people (clients included), their technology, and their processes and systems.

Ultimately how successful an accounting business will be depends largely on how the owners manage change, which alongside taxes appears to be the only constant.

We do want to acknowledge David Maister's great read Strategy and the Fat Smoker: Doing what's obvious but not easy as the inspiration for our title. Buy it on Amazon - https://amzn.to/3dhcUFC

Subscribe today for an upbeat and practical conversation about what's working and what's not in accounting businesses around the world.

About your hosts

Penny Breslin

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Penny Breslin is the founder of MoneyPenny, a consulting firm specializing in helping accounting firms and other businesses embrace the power of technology to simplify their operations and increase their profit margins.

Drawing on her years of experience and her knowledge of what it takes to run a successful business, Penny oversees the development of back office processes for her client firms. From the initial evaluation of the firm’s workflow, to technology selection, and assisting in the on-boarding of the firm’s clients, Penny works with her clients to maximize the benefits of a paperless and cloud-based firm.

Damien Greathead

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Damien has been working in the accounting industry for more than 15 years. In addition to getting his hands dirty preparing tax returns and doing bookkeeping, but the bulk of his experience comes from consulting to both accounting firms and the technology companies that serve the industry.

He set up 2020 Group USA which was a membership group for small and medium sized accounting firms and then went on to set up Receipt Bank (now Dext) in North America.

He regularly speaks to industry bodies on technology, marketing and change management.