Our Pricing Philosophy
The beginning of the Fixed Price Agreement and the end of hourly billing—
Why Fixed-Price Agreements?
It has come to my attention that the normal ways of billing in the accounting profession are false and to the detriment of fostering good relationships with customers. Essentially, you buy my knowledge, but time has nothing to do with it. If you buy my time, it’s in your best interest for me to hurry and if I sell time, it’s in my best interest to go slow. See the problem? We are at two different sides of the table. I am eliminating that!
What do Fixed-Price Agreements do?
It puts the focus on the results of a given task rather than the time spent doing it. You pay for the output or the results you want.
With no other product, or even service based profession, is the decision of price left completely in the hands of the seller. Plumbers, contractors, and consultants all agree to the work to be completed prior to it being started. In all types of business, a scope is agreed, a price is given and a contract is drawn.
Fixed Price Agreements put the decision into the hands of the customer – where it belongs, before the work is done.
What defines an end result and how do I know if we reached it?
A FPA has a very specific scope. Look, for instance, at an accounting problem in QuickBooks. We would discuss the specific issues and decide TOGETHER that we need to review the accounting records and then provide the list of suggestions to fix the specific problem. We would decide if you or we are going to fix it. The bottom-line outcome is a clean QuickBooks file.
A FPA defines the responsibilities and end result so that there is no confusion as to what you are purchasing.
We guarantee the value or we won’t do it!
After defining the scope (work to be performed) and the value (the price), we believe that a guarantee should be assigned to the service provided. This is nothing new to our firm. We always try to go above and beyond what’s expected and get it right – but there is a new twist.
If the value to the customer is less than 3 times our price we won’t do it!
Quantifying this is sometimes difficult but generally the security, reliability, and freedom that we hope to create in a business owner’s life speaks for itself. Whether it is tackling a difficult tax planning problem or freeing up a customer to run their business there is value that can be determined and quantified.
How do Fixed-Price Agreements work?
You get to choose what level of service you would like to have as well as the price you are willing to pay for it, up front.
These levels start with a serious discussion on the overall needs, goals and what you value. We talk about the human needs before the numbers which is the proper priority in our firm.
Each customer is very different and we will price the value received by the customer, not the hours spent. Value received is a joint decision by the customer and us.
FPAs typically include the accounting needs, cash management and business planning as well as regulatory compliance and reporting.
What if I need more services or additional needs arise?
It’s simple! We discuss it! We decide on the new needs and we issue a change order to the original Fixed Price Agreement. We leave the decision in your hands, with several options and pricings for each scenario.
Results so far?
So far our customers on fixed price agreements are very happy. They know the price, what the service is and that, no matter what, we will do the work at the stated price.
Most customers are able to relax and ask more questions, therefore allowing them to get better service and better advice because they aren’t tied to the time clock.
Lastly, our customers feel cared for because we can take the extra time to dive into their accounting and tax matters more deeply. We can ask the dumb questions which may not really be that dumb, meaning we can think outside the box and take our customers with us.
For us, it has simplified our internal processes. Capturing time and billing is a long and tedious process and the week after billing could be painful depending on how much time was needed to do a particular project and the expectations of what it took to accomplish.
For me, the most important benefit to all is the ability to truly be a trusted advisor. We are no longer working against the time constraints that truly limit our ability to be innovative, have fun and try new things. We are on the same side of the table, working together, united towards the same purpose.