Where Do I Start In Winning Higher End New Fees?

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Our previous article dealt with the relationship between existing clients and their fees. Now what about brand new clients?

Historically accounting firms have of course, grown by referrals which they are not in control of and yet still propose to be proactive business advisers in their marketing. Do you see any contradiction here?

This gives birth to the biggest question in accounting firm fee growth. If referrals are how we grow our firms and we do not know when they are coming in, at what level of fee they will be or indeed if we even want to service them when they do arrive; how does that increase our standing as a ‘proactive firm’ when the most important part of our future (our growth) is at the mercy of external factors?

I know, we don’t tend to think about it do we, because referrals always come in and they’ll come in this year just like they did last year, right?

And if they don’t….?

The path you need to find to proactive practice growth lies in having a contingent strategy for growth that you control, monitor and manage at your own pace.

This is known as a prospect pipeline. If I asked you to classify your clients in the following ways:

  1. Those that perceive they are paying you a lot of money and getting great value service.
  2. Those that perceive they are paying you a lot of money and NOT getting great value service
  3. Those that perceive they are NOT paying you a lot of money but STILL getting great value service
  4. Those that perceive they are NEITHER paying you a lot of money NOR getting great value service

How would your client base of right now be divided up? As I travel the world working with accounting firms, the most commonly seen ratios for #1 are 15-45%.

That’s somewhere between 15% and 45% of your client base as ‘Grade A’s.’ This means that somewhere between 55%-85% of your client base are NOT Grade A and are therefore either:

  • Unhappy because they feel they are overpaying (#2)
  • Getting away with paying less for more (#3)
  • A ‘Grade D’ client or worse (#4)

This is why we all need a pipeline. Not only is it an insurance policy against client loss but it is also a forecasting tool for manageable and incremental growth.

Where do you start in building a pipeline? On session 4 of the Practice Pathfinder series of course but beyond that we will be:

  • Grading and Valuing our Prospects
  • Looking at the seven avenues where new prospects can be found
  • Building your very own pipeline LIVE!
  • Be given all the tools necessary to start working on those prospects immediately after the session.
  • Prioritizing which ones to spend chargeable time pursuing as a priority.

Get ready to take control of your new business growth and become the TRULY proactive adviser.

See you online!

Entry to the 2017 Practice Pathfinder program is now closed.  Martin will be appearing at QB Connect in San Jose for a final special edition session.  We will be reopening the program for 2018 enrollment in the spring.


About Martin Bissett


Martin Bissett formed the Upward Spiral Partnership Ltd (USP) in 2012, specialising in Grade A Fee Growth and Preparing Senior Managers for Partnership within the Accounting Profession.

Clients for USP include:

Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA)

Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW)

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)

The Added Value Network (AVN)

The 2020 Group

BKR International

The IAPA Group

Russell Bedford International

The Alliott Group

Enterprise Worldwide

Chartered Accountants Ireland

MHA Monahans

CPA Trendlines

Morison KSi

Receipt Bank

Smart Vault

Additionally, Bissett has launched a speaking career that has taken him to 16 countries in the first 6 years of its existence.

Bissett has held a position as Board advisor at the Raft Foundation and has been a visiting lecturer at Bolton College, Accrington Rossendale College, Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School, Southport College, The Peter Jones Enterprise Academy North Manchester, The North West Society of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales.

Bissett has received the Powered Person of the year award from Business Link, the youngest ever winner of the award.

The Institute of Sales and Marketing Management has recognized him as a Fellow of The Institute.

The Business for Good Organisation has recognised him as a finalist for Global Impact Maker of the year.

Intellectual Property

Bissett currently has 4 recognised and registered trademarks which he uses in his consulting work. Amongst these are his A.C.C.O.U.N.T.S.(tm) mnemonic, employed in the accurate forecasting of proactive fee growth within an accounting firm.


As of May 2018, Bissett has published 11 books on practice development in the Accounting Profession. The most of any author.

His book ‘Passport to Partnership’ appeared on the curricula of the AAT Level 3 qualification at Bolton College.

He has the best-selling book in North America (Passport to Partnership) on leadership development in the accounting profession.





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