Jamie Johns, CEO of Sky Accountants, has argued that firms are still stuck in the ways of old processes and are failing to reinvent themselves or question the current way of doing things.
“I’ve consulted to other accountants in our industry and I always ask the question: why are you doing it this way? The standard answer is, ‘That’s how I was taught’. The same thing has gone on for 100 years,” he said.
Mr Johns stated that partners have passed down processes for generations, and have failed to take a step back and evaluate a better way of operating within their business.
“It just goes on and on – they don’t question it,” he added.
Mr Johns noted that time-based billing is an ancient process, and one that confuses prospective customers. “If you have products but can’t put a price on them, how does your staff sell them?” he asked.
When asked whether time sheets are dead, Mr Johns said he believes they no longer have a place in the world of billing, but still provide valuable information regarding efficiency.
“Time sheets aren’t dead – you still need to measure staff – but they are not for billing clients. They measure speed – like a sprinter, time measurement is critical to performance,” he said.
Mr Johns currently incorporates fixed pricing within his firm, providing an upfront fee when consulting with clients and working on a 15-day turnaround. He is not “killing them [clients] with a thousand lashes” when issuing a bill, he adds.
“Fixed pricing drives efficiencies – it does in any industry," he said.