Mark Wickersham, an English chartered accountant and best-selling author on accounting practice issues who is visiting Australia for Intuit’s Firm of the Future events, told AccountantsDaily that time-based billing is dead and must be phased out by Australian firms.
According to Mr Wickersham, cloud accounting has fundamentally changed the profession, meaning time-based pricing is no longer a valid form of billing.
"So much of the compliance work that accountants do will soon be automated and that has major implications for the profession," he said.
“The firm of the future has to recognise that the game has changed completely – it’s a paradigm shift,” he said.
“Not only do accountants need to focus on being more valuable to their clients, they also have to completely change the way they price because the old pricing models are completely redundant.”
According to Mr Wickersham, people want “certainty in this life”, adding that the old method of pricing is “commercially stupid, because people hate it”.
"Time as a way of billing has always been a completely stupid way of billing, commercially stupid, unethical and dangerously close to being negligent and yet the profession has always clung onto this for many years," he said.
Mr Wickersham added that clients do not buy time from their accountant, they buy solutions, and this should be reflected in pricing.
“Clients want certainty; they want a price that’s based on the benefits to them, the value."
“At the end of the day nobody buys time form an accounting firm, they’re buying solutions to their problems, they’re buying knowledge, they’re buying results, value ultimately and therefore we should price based on that value,” Mr Wickersham said.