Dean Marinac, managing director of consultancy group i-Generation, told AccountantsDaily that while most accountants have already identified the need to update their billing structures from the traditional time-based model, many fail to do so through lack of confidence.
“Accountants know that there is value in what they deliver, the problem often is they don’t have the confidence to have the conversation to position that value,” Mr Marinac said.
He said the first step to implementing a new billing system is actually to get better at asking questions and having conversations with your clients.
“One of the first steps we undertake is training people to have conversations, ask a lot of questions then follow a methodical process of articulating value in proposals, position the benefits that their services can provide.
“I often say the real value – on the back of some information you are providing a client, such as a report – is in the conversation you have with them.”
However, Mr Marinac acknowledged the conversation around switching billing methods is often not an easy one, and says accountants must go in prepared.
“There’s an old saying: don’t practice on clients,” he said. “But you do need to practice.”
Beginning with “good” clients with whom the accountant already has a strong relationship is a great place to start, according to Mr Marinac.
“The best way to prepare yourself and get into building confidence is to start with clients that you have a good relationship with. The great thing about accountants is that they have lots and lots of relationships with small- to medium-sized business owners and the client trusts them.
“They already have this relationship, they already know them, they already like them, they already trust them – so these are often the best targets to start with.”