How to Command a Higher Fee as an Accountant According to Four Top CPAs
As an accountant what strategy do you use to command a higher fee from clients?
This is the question that we asked four CPAs who are experts in communicating value before price. Let's jump right in.
What's your strategy for charging a higher fee as an accountant?
"I advise clients on how they can increase the profits in their business and manage their cash in a way so they pay themselves first," according to Ann Lobos of North Star Consulting & Tax.
"The question about what strategy I use is so important because it tells clients that my focus in on increasing their profitability - which is usually what is most at the forefront of their minds too."
"I tell clients that if they want someone to reactively help them with their business, they should go somewhere else. But if they want a guide to help them reach their freedom in their business, I'm their gal!"
"Value, value, value," says Cathleen Volk of Accountable Business Solutions. "Provide that by asking the right questions to discover what will really help the client. Dig deep to find that pain point that the client can't articulate, and help them solve the pain point. Position yourself to provide the answers that other accountants don't have."
"First, there is the basic premise of supply and demand. If you want better, you will need to pay that premium. But with that premium, you get responsiveness, and you get guidance that can either save you money or help you make more money."
"But you must realize you are then paying for more than just compliance work. What price do you put on peace of mind, security knowing you are building your nest egg, knowing that someone has your back, and above all, ultimately bettering your life?"
"My expertise, along with over two decades of experience, allow me to provide high quality services," according to Lisa Millman of Millman CPA Strategic Solutions, PC.
"Clients are willing to pay for work that is correct and for prompt service. I explain that while my hourly rate may be higher than someone else I provide services a lot more efficiently and effectively. They get more of an overall value for their money."
"I go with results achieved for clients, years in business, certification and client benefits." according to Cherie Williams of FIRM1040.
"It’s important, I usually leave it at, “you get what you pay for.” Typically if a client complains before I meet them, they’re usually not my target client."
When is it time to raise your rates? A checklist for raising your rates.
Raising rates is more of an art than science. Here are the top indications of when it may be time to increase your service pricing:
- You are consistently getting great reviews
- Cost of doing business increases
- More work than you can handle
- Improved skills or recent certifications
- Rate reflects your total value over hourly output (see value based pricing)
- Increases to align with the competition
- Moving away from nit-picky clients who value price over quality
- You have a new or very niche service offering
How to tell clients that you're raising your rates
Here is a sample letter based on the dozens of templates that BizPayO uses to help accountants get paid:
I’m so pleased to hear how happy you were with our outsourced CFO service. We’re getting some great results on streamlining your business and it looks to be driving growth.
It really means a lot to us to be achieving such great results for our clients. To make sure that we can consistency continue to provide exceptional service, we’ll be increasing the rates on all our packages effective January 1st. Some of our services will also be adjusted to reflect the services our clients most need.
You can see the new packages and pricing here [link]. We’ll be rolling this out to new clients from January 1st, however, we wanted to give you the first month on your new package at the current rate [offer for your best clients] as a thank you for being such an amazing client!
This increase will enable us to continue to provide the quality and breadth of service you love. If you have any questions about the price increase or our new packages, don’t hesitate to let me know.
Jane & Joe CPA LLC
Don't be afraid to let your rates reflect your value
At the end of the day its all about knowing your worth and clearly communicating that to clients. Don't be afraid to get rid of old clients that do not recognize your worth.
Remember that even though it will make a huge difference to your bottom line revenue, your clients may barely even notice the increase as long as you continue to provide value.
Start charging what you're worth and rest assured that your clients will respect you more for it. You get what you pay for.