Business Services - Fees
Our Approach To Fees
Traditionally, accountants have sold time, and based their fees on set hourly rates. As the work was performed, each accountant within the office would record their time via a daily timesheet in six minute intervals or ‘units’ (which are the bane of most accounting staff’s existence). When the work was complete, the boss would review all the time and usually bill the total accumulated. Fees were always uncertain as it was impossible to determine the price of the job until the work was complete. Sometimes there was a nasty surprise at the end when the fee was higher than expected. Invoices were generally issued at large and infrequent intervals and caused cashflow issues for both the client and the accountant.
We believe this approach has a number of drawbacks:
It rewards inefficiency. If an accountant is being paid by the hour, what incentive is there to become more efficient?
It is burdensome on staff and measures more on volume than value and results;
It creates uncertainty around fees and diminishes the strength of the relationship;
It discourages proactive communication. Clients are less inclined to pick up the phone if they believe are being billed by the hour. This makes the accountant much less relevant and ineffective in providing quality advice.
We take a different approach here and provide upfront fees to our business clients.
Fees are quoted 12 months in advance and cover all tax and accounting items required for the coming year. We then break these fees down into monthly installments. Our fees cover all meetings, phone calls, emails etc. required to deliver these services. Our business clients never receive a fee for a single phone call or meeting! We also don’t charge for day to day out of pocket disbursements such as printing, postage, photocopying etc.
Taking this one step further, we can mostly provide an upfront quote before we even see the work. Like most businesses, there are different attributes which make a client’s work more or less complex. For example, a builder may quote different prices based on things like access to the building site, the quality of finishes required, the size of the build etc. We quote based a number of attributes including the type of legal entity used, the size of the business, are we preparing quarterly and annual, or annual only, does the business have employees etc.
The following schedule details our standard fees for different business clients.