Value Billing on the 19th Hole

Any billing method that relies on client ignorance is certain to fail.

By Frank Stitely, CPA
Stitely & Karstetter, PLLC

Value billing advocates exhort us to bill based on the benefit a client receives, but that’s just the demand side of the economic equation. Competition is the supply side. Here’s a little fable based on Ed Mendlowitz’s “Value Pricing: A Lesson in Applying Judgment,” where a CPA asks for billing advice and then bills a client $7,000 for three hours’ work.

“Great day, Al.  Have you ever shot an 80 before?”

“No, Jay.  This is my first.  This round of drinks is on me.”

Jay continued, “You’ve had quite a week.  First, you got your line of credit.  Now the best golf round of your life.”

Al had just finished a round of golf with his banker, Jay; a neighbor, John; and John’s CPA, Greg.

“Jay, I am blessed with having great friends and advisors.  You did a marvelous job.  But, I should give some credit to my CPA, Frank.  He put the entire package together for seven grand.  That seems like a great price.”

Al saw the puzzled look in Greg’s eyes. READ MORE →

The IRS and Big Data Gone Bad

Bookkeeping data is notoriously unreliable. So why is the IRS relying on it?

The Ten-Minute Bookkeeping Test (PDF)
Click to download

Get the INSTANT DOWNLOAD:
The 10-Minute Bookkeeping Test

By Frank Stitely
SK CPAs

“Please give me a copy of your 1099-MISC forms.”

The IRS agent was a 25-year-old woman, with only a couple of years of experience dealing with my client.

My client was the “How-dare-you-question-me?-I’m-a-taxpayin’,-God fearin’-American” type of client – one of those guys  who think the Marlboro Man is a wimp.

But he had a tax problem. He was being audited and he had thrown out all of his paper records when he moved his office.

Missing 1099-MISC

He didn’t have copies of his 1099-MISC forms.  So he had his bookkeeper reprint them from QuickBooks.  I gave them to the IRS agent.

“Mr. Stitely, these 1099 forms don’t match what we have in our records.” READ MORE →

Will Zero Data Entry End Your Tax Practice?

Five things you need to know and three things you need to do.

by Frank Stitely, CPA
Stitely and Karstetter 

Get ready for a transformation in the tax business unlike anything we have experienced since Turbotax.  The transformation will force many of your colleagues to sell, retire, or go out of business.  It will force many of your staff out of the profession.  It will change the way you serve clients.  And, it will either result in tremendous opportunity for you or end your practice.  This transformation is zero data entry.

More Stitely: Three Trends That Will Transform Your Tax Practice or Eliminate It  |  Value, Billem & Dunn: A Value Billing Case Study  |  Why Value Billing Won’t Transform Your Life  |  The Problem with Frank Stitely? We Need More Frank Stitelys!  |  The Problem with Timesheets? Not Enough Timesheets!   |  Who’s Missing in Action From Your Workflow Processing System?   |   How to Make an Extra $72,000 by Working Smarter READ MORE →

Value, Billem & Dunn: A Value Billing Case Study

Frank Stitely, CPA, CVA, and the Managing Member of Stitely & Karstetter CPAs, likes to stir things up – especially when it concerns the intersection of timesheets and value pricing. Here’s a piece of fiction (we assume) that he titles…

– The Editors

CPA Firm Nightmares

by Frank Stitely

In this week’s show, my brother and famed practice management consultant, Gordon Stitely, visits the venerable firm, Value, Billem, and Dunn.  VB&D managing partner Bob Cratchett took over the firm when founding partner Izzy Dunn died unexpectedly after jamming an RJ45 cable into an electrical socket.  Cratchett knew he had to modernize the firm, and he started by banishing timesheets.

RELATED:

Why Value Billing Won’t Transform Your Life

The Problem with Frank Stitely?

When he left his previous employer, Scrooge & Associates, P.C., he vowed never to sell time again.  He would sell knowledge.  He hired a value billing consultant to implement a new business model that eschewed timesheets in favor of trusting employees, since costs will always take care of themselves.

Here comes Gordon striding into Cratchett’s office. READ MORE →

Why Value Billing Won’t Transform Your Life

What do CPAs have in common with French fry cooks? Maybe more than you think.

by Frank Stitely, CPA
Stitely and Karstetter 

A French fry professional, who was employed by a national franchise with a creepy clown for a mascot, wondered how he could make more than his current $7.25 per hour.  So he attended a value billing seminar.  When he returned, he opened an Excel spreadsheet and calculated his worth to his employer.

More about pricing and billing:  The Problem with Timesheets? Not Enough Timesheets!   |   The Problem with Frank Stitely? We Need More Frank Stitelys!  |   Who’s Missing in Action From Your Workflow Processing System?  | How to Make an Extra $72,000 by Working Smarter  |  Seven Ways to Increase Fees in 2013  | The Big Issue for 2013: Fee Pressure   |   Five Ideas to Reduce Client Price-Sensitivity  |

He determined that he was personally responsible for the frying of 1,126,438 french fries in a year.  While he earned only $15,000 in a year, his employer sold his output for $30,000.  Using what he learned in the seminar, he scheduled a meeting with his boss to ask for a raise, because he wasn't making what he was worth. READ MORE →

The Problem with Timesheets? Not Enough Timesheets!

Time tracking and the V.B.T. (Value Billing Taliban)

by Frank Stitely, CPA
Stitely and Karstetter 

I have long been a true believer in value billing.  Five times a day I kneel towards the east and pray, “I am not selling time.  I am selling expertise.”  However, I just can't follow with the end of the prayer which goes, “Time trackers are evil.  We must stone them.”   Time tracking is essential to value billing, done profitably.

More unconventional wisdom from Frank Stitely, CPA: Who’s Missing in Action From Your Workflow Processing System?  | How to Make an Extra $72,000 by Working Smarter

Let's invite some people to leave our discussion.  If you are a coach, consultant, or some other type of CPA advisor, who has never owned an equity position in a CPA firm, please exit stage left.  Yes, I know you have decades of experience observing CPA firms.  I have decades of experience watching professional football.  That doesn't qualify me to coach the Redskins.  Veteran poker players know that playing someone else's hand is easier than playing your own when big money is on the table.  If you're a CPA firm employee, please stay.  Some day you'll need this information.  But sit there silently until we are done.

There are three reasons time tracking is important: READ MORE →