Several years ago, and after much discussion, we decided that the traditional hourly-based billing model used by most accounting firms was a little outdated and incongruent with our vision of how a modern firm should operate. We decided that a “value-based” billing model better fit our philosophy, and we have been utilizing this type of billing policy ever since.
Value-based billing means that we are focusing on the value and results we can provide to all clients while working within a defined budget.
In practice, this fee arrangement requires that we spend more time with clients at the beginning of an engagement to determine what is desired and required on our part to provide great service. This helps us formulate a plan with each client, to which all parties can be held accountable. Your business or tax situation will likely change over the years, and we can adapt our services and fees to grow with you.
We feel that this billing policy most positively impacts communication, encouraging more regular interaction to deal with questions before they become issues. Put another way, knowing that a question is going to cost you money (under a strict hourly billing model), it’s easy to understand why you may wait until more questions have been accumulated, or to turn to other sources for advice. While the internet, friends, family, and co-workers may have good advice, it’s generally provided with incomplete context and insight into your financial situation.
We want to be your trusted adviser and that you feel comfortable to call us with questions when they arise. As such, we look at communication with each client on an annual/recurring basis, rather than starting the timer with each call we take or email we write. Communication takes place instantaneously, and “billing by the minute” didn’t seem practical or effective to us.
We do still track time internally, as it provides good internal data for us, as well as transparency should billing questions arise. Ultimately, our invoices still are based on time and staff rates, whether it’s time that has already been spent or is being reserved for later in the year.
If you are a potential new client, we have created a few questionnaires which help us provide quotes for services. Our work is divided into two primary sectors: income tax services and business accounting services. You are welcome to review and complete the forms which match your needs. It’s also nice to get a quick email or message to accompany the completed questionnaire.
Thank you for reading, and we are happy to answer any questions in detail. Feel free to call our office (206-420-2246) to learn more.