Many firms are focused on efficiency — doing more in less time — because it’s one of the fastest ways to grow. But, in order to truly grow and thrive, they need to look beyond basic tax compliance. With the right tools and processes, firms can provide services that clients want to pay for, so they can be more successful at battling fee pressure and overcoming commoditization.
To help firms become more profitable without simply churning out more tax returns, Shari Dodgen, Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting’s director of strategic relationships and product marketing, called upon the experience of Christopher M. Salisbury, CPA/PFS, CFP, SCEP, Partner at Smith & Salisbury, PLLC, and Robin Gensler, a Solution Architect with Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting. The resulting webinar, “Overcoming Commoditization & Adding Value,” is the fifth in The Evolving Accountant Series hosted by CPA Practice Advisor.
A digital tax workflow that automates steps, such as data collection and scanning, is closer than ever. But some firms fear that less time spent means fewer billable hours. To counter that change, some firms are charging technology fees to help defray the cost. Others are simply realizing that the time savings opens up their talent pool to focus on planning, advisory, and other higher value tasks for their clients—which actually adds value instead of taking it away.
Plus, the technology resource can help your firm streamline and grow. Thanks to the CCH Axcess suite, Salisbury’s firm was able to save an average of 15 minutes per return. When multiplied by more than 1,200 returns, they were able to complete 20% more tax returns, without hiring any additional staff. In addition, the staff had more time to spend with clients, giving feedback on their returns and planning for the future.
Getting Paid for High-Quality Work
Many accountants never expected to see the day when they wouldn’t have to fill out timesheets. But with value pricing, clients are charged a fixed fee for a defined product.
As firms think about implementing a value pricing model, they can leverage “the 4 Ps,” a popular marketing concept for developing and marketing products. The four Ps are:
- Product: What do you do best? What do you want to do more or less of?
- Promotion: How are you communicating with clients and potential clients? What are you telling them about your services?
- Place: How can you position your firm to differentiate what you provide from other firms?
- Price: Why is your service more valuable? What are your clients paying for?
CCH Axcess Practice can help you handle some less traditional approaches to billing, such as capturing time as a way to check in on efficiency and distribute workload (rather than for hourly billing). The technology also can automatically generate invoices and progress billing, and deliver them electronically through the client portal.
Creating Value for Clients
According to Accounting Today, compliance services account for approximately 90% of the accounting industry, but business advisory type services will account for 80% of revenue in the future. What does that mean for your firm?
Clients are willing to pay more for services that help them grow and protect their wealth. They also expect you, as their trusted advisor, to always be thinking about them and any changes that may impact them. Predictive intelligence solutions like CCH Axcess iQ can help firms find opportunities to create value for clients by automatically identifying if they’re affected by tax changes and proactively communicating with them.
Add Value with a New Approach
The Evolving Accountant Series webinar “Overcoming Commoditization & Adding Value” is available online. Watch now.