The move toward value pricing marks the dawning of a new era for accountants and accounting firms, where financial and professional advancement opportunities abound. No longer constrained by the billable hour, earning potential for accountants is limited only by their own efficiency. And that’s awesome—for those who can find ways to make every minute of their workday count.
The timesheet isn’t dead, but it may well be on life support. According to a 2018 study from the AICPA, firms of all sizes are increasing their use of value pricing. The smallest subset of firms in the study reported that value pricing accounts for 50% of their total fees, indicating a particular attraction to value pricing models among smaller businesses and individual accountants.
In the value pricing era, accountants who spend less time on administrative tasks and more time knocking out projects for clients will win the day. So let’s look at some ways you can get through the tedious stuff faster—and make the value pricing era truly awesome for your accounting career or firm.
1. Spend less time billing (and more time earning)
Every minute spent handling payments is a minute you could be spending executing paid work for your clients. Today’s accountants need to find ways to accelerate their clients’ billing—so they can get back to creating awesome results.
Such was the case at Latitude Bookkeeping, a firm in Plattsburgh, NY. With many of its clients’ vendors insisting on the use of paper checks, Latitude and its clients were spending too much time handling payments. The company found the perfect solution in Melio, an online payment solution that allows its customers to send and receive payments in any form, all from one unified online platform.
“With Melio, a client can use a credit card to pay rent (and utilities) and Melio will send a check or ACH,” said David Perry, founder of Latitude. “It’s great to have all these payment options available to us not only on the payable side, but also for whoever is receiving the payment, and we can tailor it to their preference.”
Since partnering with Melio, Latitude has decreased their payment handling time by as much as 90%, saving an average of eight minutes on each bill payment.
“Once a week we go into Melio, we pay the bill. The client gets an email, approves, and that’s it,” Perry said.
2. Onboard clients faster
Congratulations, you just signed a new client! You made the winning pitch, shook all the right hands (virtually, of course), and the ink on the contracts has dried. Now it’s time for the awesomeness to begin, right?
Hold up there, cowboy. First, you need to onboard the new client, teaching them how to work with you and use your services. Onboarding can take as long as 60 days, creating lead time between signing a new client and completing paid projects for them.
Fast onboarding has always been the goal, but it’s even more essential in the value pricing era. Without billable hours, you can no longer take your time getting a client set up—you need to move quickly so you can start working on projects. Plus, you can’t afford to take too much time away from other paying clients.
Houston-based accounting firm Walker Agency got fed up onboarding its clients to use multiple clunky bank bill pay platforms. The firm turned to Melio to help increase efficiency and fill the accounts payable “hole” in its tech stack. Melio enabled Walker Agency to reduce onboarding and training time by three to four hours per client and decrease overall payment handling time by 40%.
“(Melio) takes very little time to set up,” said Amy Walker, founder of Walker Agency. “You hook up your bank account, put some approval levels in place, and you just start using it. On top of that, it’s free, so it saves our clients money and makes them very happy.”
3. React to surprises with agility
Raise your hand if the phrase “in these uncertain times” makes you want to smash your TV with a sledgehammer, light it on fire, and write a passive-aggressive email to the manufacturer for creating a product that seems to utter that phrase roughly every 16 seconds. No, that’s just us? We’ll get help.
It might be annoying, but there’s a reason everyone’s talking about uncertainty. Even before COVID-19, sudden change was a hot topic in accounting, with nimble startups, cloud-based tools, and a move toward remote work creating disruption and unexpected results. The pandemic accelerated the pace of many of these disruptors while delivering a seemingly endless string of its own surprises—many of which have been costly for accounting firms and their clients.
More changes are coming, to be sure, and it’s impossible to be fully prepared for what the future might hold. But the accountants and firms that take this time to rethink their ability to react to surprises will position themselves for the best results moving forward.
Let’s venture outside the world of accounting for a moment and take a look at Regency, a supply company that saw demand for its products radically shift in response to COVID-19. Demand for certain products went down (like customized apparel and promotional items), while other products, like janitorial supplies, became vital for Regency’s onsite customers to stay in business.
Regency’s ability to pivot quickly and secure in-demand products was crucial to keeping its clients in business. The company needed to find ways to streamline administrative work, like bill paying and receiving payments, to improve its customers’ experience and increase their buying power.
By embracing value pricing and time-saving services like Melio, accountants and accounting firms can now offer their clients this kind of agility. You’ll have the time and resources to provide higher-quality service, helping your clients move where the market takes them and gain an advantage over their competitors.
Today, Regency uses Melio to automate check writing, onboard suppliers, and stock new supplies faster and with greater ease. With Melio helping it save time and quickly pivot to new supply demands, Regency has increased its overall revenue by 30%.
“I estimate that we save at least two hours a day just on the manual input of invoices details,” said Mason Sagan, founder of Regency.
Similarly, accountants have seen demand for various services change in response to COVID-19 and other disruptors. Solutions like Melio allow you to react to these changes swiftly, helping you continue to deliver awesome results for your clients—no matter how much their needs evolve.
Accounting awesomeness made easy
Make the value pricing era awesome for your accounting career or firm by putting time back in the day, onboarding clients faster, and improving business agility. Learn how unified digital payment solutions from Melio help you create more value for clients at Melio Accountants.