These days it has become difficult for accountants to discuss the topic of advisory work without first mentioning client accounting services (CAS).
For many CPAs client accounting is nothing new, but having a plan to make money at it, especially given the combination of evolving business needs and technology offering real-time data, is something else altogether.
In fact, the idea of formally offering CAS, planning for it, pricing it out and marketing it causes much consternation among accounting professionals, to the point of them not doing much with CAS at all. Sage and Boomer Consulting would like to change that perception.
For those unaware, Sage is offering a new CAS program to help accounting professionals navigate the waters of offering these services with confidence, with learning developed in conjunction with Boomer Consulting. It’s a free program based on eight pillars ranging from business development and pricing through to client engagement and developing talent.
Our discussion with Gary Boomer and Sage’s Senior Accountant Advocate Thomas Casey about all of these points should help get you on the right path. We conclude our six-part series here with Boomer and Casey, who continue discussing packaging and pricing of CAS:
AW: Thinking about the transition between pricing structures - is there any advice to avoid unsettling long standing clients?
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Boomer: It’s not [usually] the client that resists, it’s partners or people who have been around the firm a long time because this is a whole different way of thinking. The clients are more than willing to do this because they know what to budget under this scenario. There are going to be exceptions but you should not avoid doing what’s right just because one person’s going to tell you they don’t want to do it.
Casey: Firms moving towards value pricing are verifying they are a trusted advisor and, for the most part, clients will understand the value if you position it right. Based on the fact that you are developing a client advisory services practice, you actually have a greater ability to let clients go who don’t see the value in what you are going to provide.
AW: What resources within the CAS Program would you point to as most useful?
Boomer: The fact that you have tool box doesn’t mean you use every tool every day. Some of the ones are a sample menu and each firm’s menu is going to be a little different in service niches. The fact that you don’t have to start with a blank sheet of paper is one of the most valuable things we have [in the Program].
Casey: You can do some exercises in the tool kit which will be valuable to getting you on the journey to setting better pricing and packaging. But the workshop itself and being able to share those best practices is really critical in packaging and pricing.
See more of our Q&A in this video below: