The price of creative collaboration | AccountingWEB

The price of creative collaboration

Thanks to Olga Taylor for today's guest post. Olga is a freelance copywriter from Jamaica Plain, MA who enjoys sharing insights about her work. To reach her send mail to

Her post:

I am a people pleaser. This means that not only do I want  clients to be happy with work process & outcome, I also want them to feel good about my price. I've learned that it is often a challenge even with old clients who like and trust what I do. But more so with the segment of new clients who need original & creative work on a shoe string.

The problem, if it's there, is always the same. The client thinks it will take two revisions, when, in fact it takes seven. The reason for the problem is also pretty much the same from one client to the next. As the creative process gets under way, ideas flow and questions arise that could not have been anticipated. As questions come up, more people get drawn into the review cycle; and what had been agreed to at a previous stage has to come apart and be rebuilt.

I respect & admire creative collaborations. I will go as far as to say that nothing truly worthwhile can come out of a single source. A great new concept or product requires a "cross-breeding" of existing perspectives and ideas. Sometimes this occurs inside one person's head. More often, it is a result of collaboration: client-supplier, technical-creative, user-designer... or all of the above & more.

For that reason, I believe that the smartest thing a project leader can do is to remove all blocks to effective collaboration. Watch out that pricing structure does not become one of these blocks.

Let's say the vendor charges by the hour and the client is worried about running up a huge bill. The client might feel pressured to limit communication, creative options or review process. As a result, the project might suffer or end up costing even more, because changes aren't made early enough in the process.

A variation on the theme is a fixed budget with a limited number of reviews. What's one review? And what if the client thinks the vendor didn't get all the specs quite right?

Most clients today don't want to be billed by the hour. Being a pleaser, I give them what they want -- a fixed budget, but also what I believe they need -- unlimited revisions until the bitter end! Which means that the price that I quote "seems high". When all is said and done, I know it will end up being fair. However, being a people pleaser, I hope every time that the client will prove correct, the project "quick" -- and having finished way ahead of time, I will tell my client: "we came under the budget, so I am not going to charge you the full price."

The "Price of creative collaboration" originally appeared on the BB Marketing Plus blog.

Written by:

This blog

by Barbara Bix - In tough economic times, more and more clients are looking to their accountants to help them improve the bottom line. Often, the best way to do that is to start with the top line-since one can only decrease expenses so far. This blog discusses concrete actions you and your business-to-business clients can use to accelerate revenues.

More from this blog

Bloggers crew

Steve Knowles has spent 25 years in business and practice in the UK, but he also worked in the states and the years haven't dulled his way of seeing an alternative view to everyone else, and every day is a new adventure.


Joel M. Ungar, CPA is a lifelong resident of the Detroit area and a graduate of The University of Michigan. He is a principal with Silberstein Ungar, PLLC, a Top 15 auditor of SEC public reporting companies.


Allan Boress, CPA, with over 25 years as a practitioner and consultant to the accounting profession. Mr. Boress is the author of 12 published books in 6 different languages, including a best-seller, The "I-Hate-Selling" Book.


Larry Perry, CPA, CPA Firm Support Services, LLC, is the author of accounting and auditing manuals, author and presenter of live staff training seminars, and author of webcast and self-study CPE programs. He blogs about small audits, reviews, and compilations.

Sandra Wiley, COO and Shareholder, is ranked by Accounting Today as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Accounting as a result of her prominent role as an industry expert on HR and training as well as influence as a management and planning consultant. She is also a founding member of The CPA Consultant's Alliance. Sandra is a certified Kolbe™ trainer who advises firms on building balanced teams, managing employee conflict and hiring staff.

Maria Calabrese, CIR, Human Resources manager for Fazio, Mannuzza, Roche, Tankel, LaPilusa, LLC in Cranford, New Jersey, Maria's topics revolve around the world of: Mentoring, Performance management, and The "Y Generation," a.k.a. "The whY generation".


William Brighenti is a CPA, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified [Business] Valuation Analyst, operating an accounting, tax, and QuickBooks consulting firm in Hartford, Connecticut, Accountants CPA Hartford.


Ken Garen, CPA, is the co-founder and President of Universal Business Computing Company (, a software development firm of high-volume, high-productivity accounting and payroll technology.


Eva Rosenberg, MBA, EA, is the publisher of, and author of the weekly syndicated Ask TaxMama column. She provides answers to tax questions from taxpayers and tax professionals worldwide.


Amy Vetter, CPA, CITP is the CPA Programs Leader for Intacct Corporation responsible for leading the CPA/BPO Partners nationally.

Brian Strahle is the owner of LEVERAGE SALT, LLC where he provides state and local tax technical services to accounting firms, law firms and tax research organizations across the United States. He also writes a weekly column in Tax Analysts State tax Notes entitled, "The SALT Effect." For more info, visit his website:
Scott H. Cytron, ABC, is president of Cytron and Company, known for helping companies and organizations improve their bottom line through a hybrid of strategic public relations, communications, marketing programs and top-notch client service. An accredited consultant, Scott works with companies, organizations and individuals in professional services (accounting, finance, medical, legal, engineering), high-tech and B2B/B2C product/service sales.

Rita Keller is a nationally known CPA firm management consultant, speaker, author, mentor and blogger. She has over 30 years hands-on experience in CPA firm management, marketing, technology and administrative operations.

Stacy Kildal is the mom of two fantastic kids, an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Certified Enterprise Solutions ProAdvisor, Sleeter Group Certified Consultant, a nationally recognized member of the Intuit Trainer and Writer Network, and co-host of RadioFree QuickBooks.
Michael Alter's blog specializes in providing practical advice to those who seek greater profitability and practice management tactics that enhance deeper client relationships.

Sally Glick, CMO, Principal, Marketer of the Year in 2003 and AAM Hall of Famer in 2007, leads a lively discussion of the constantly expanding roles of marketing and the professional marketers that drive this initiative in accounting firms of all sizes.


The IMA Young Professionals Blog features the insights of IMA’s Young Professionals Committee. Committee members share advice and experiences on careers, continuing education, work/life balance, and other issues affecting young accounting and finance professionals.


FEI Financial Reporting Blog provides highlights from SEC, PCAOB, FASB, IASB, and other regulatory news, including reporting under Sarbanes-Oxley Sect 404. It is written by Edith Orenstein, Director of Technical Policy Analysis at FEI.


Sue Anderson has 30 years of experience in continuing education for accountants. Currently she is the program director for online CPE provider CPE Link.


Jim Fahey is COO of Apple Growth Partners, a regional CPA firm in Ohio. His focus is on the effective and efficient use of technology within the firm by all team members.

Caleb Newquist is the Editor-in-Chief of Sift Media US, overseeing content for both AccountingWEB and Going Concern.

Leita Hart-Fanta, CPA, CGFM, and CGAP is the author of "The Yellow Book Interpreted" and owner of a website devoted to training for governmental auditors.


AccountingWEB is more than just a U.S. team of journalists and financial and technology experts - we have an international side, too! Members of our British team who publish share their ideas, insights, and perspectives from across the pond.