Timesheets: The Nuclear Option

Lamentations on the billable hour: Jamey Johnson’s “The Dollar.”

Nuke ’em: Kill timesheets before they kill the profession.

By Ed Kless

The litany of “challenges for the profession” repeats the narrative that has been well documented and continues to grow for over the last decade:

  • While there are more people graduating with degrees in accounting, fewer of them are sitting for the CPA exam. This is leading to fewer new hires for firms.
  • The new hires they do have are “millennials” who desire a challenge and think they should be made partner sooner rather than later.
  • Attrition, especially at the mid-career level, is over 10 percent and is mostly initiated by the professional, not the firm.
  • The loss of people in the middle and bottom of the pyramid is eroding the traditional economic model. Non-equity partners are increasing and funding for partner buyouts is disappearing.
  • Cries of “We must become more efficient,” and/or, “We must embrace new technology,” and/or “We must hold people more accountable,” reverberate in meetings.
  • Compliance work continues to flatline and while new offerings are growing revenue, they are not growing fast enough. Worse still those that do this work are often not even CPAs!

More Ed Kless at CPA Trendlines: Your Time Has No Inherent Value  |  Ed Kless: What Is Strategic Pricing?  |  Ed Kless on Factors Affecting Price Sensitivity  |  A Radical Close Look at Value Pricing  |  Billable Hour in the Extreme  |  The Four Factors for Fixed Pricing

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Presentation after presentation is viewed on the modern equivalent of the campfire, the conference room projector. “Our profession is sick, even dying. We might have cancer. We really don’t know, but it is bad.” It’s true, the profession does have cancer. The good news is, we know the cause and it is curable.

It is called “a timesheet.” It be must cut it out completely before it kills.