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In preparation for our May Executive Team Conference (ETC), I connected with my good friend, Michelle River with Fore LLC. Michelle is presenting on Advanced Pricing Methods®, plus a bonus session as a panelist with Brian Blaha of Wipfli LLP and Dave Stonesifer of Herbein + Company, Inc. This panel discussion is on why pricing differently can be a good first step toward changing your business model. Of course, the real first step is to realize you need to change your business model. Fortunately, there’ll be plenty of other sessions that will address that topic as well.

As Michelle and I were discussing the questions to ask, and the ultimate results we were looking for, it brought me back to the many conversations I had with member firms when I first joined Allinial Global. At the time, I invited every member firm to meet with me one-on-one so I could learn more about their business and see how we could help. One area that kept coming up was Client Accounting & Advisory Services (CAAS), and the inability to grow because of challenges finding and attracting staff to that group. But you should not allow human capital to inhibit growth. We have plenty of solutions to help with this problem, and we’re currently talking to Botkeeper, in addition to other companies that produce automation tools. There’s also a huge opportunity to outsource services to any of our member firms that provide outsourcing in India, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and other markets.

This is where I think Michelle’s theory about fixing pricing holds true. Part of the issue with using non-humans to provide client solutions is how to get paid for it. We’ve believed for so long that hourly rates have some sense of value, but I don’t believe the inputs were ever the true value to the client. I don’t believe the client cares if the work is done by a local human, a human on the other side of the world, or even a bot. The client just wants to know that you, as the service provider, will make sure the work is done on time and correctly.

Pricing strategies of today are taking on different names: pricing in advance, value pricing, and subscription pricing. All are very relevant, and many member firms believe they’ve already tackled the issue of pricing in this way. But they haven’t. They’ll provide a fixed price when they have to, but then when pricing gets difficult, or the client appears to have an open checkbook, many firms revert back to the old ways. There’s never really been a firmwide strategy that says they’re going to price differently to fix all of their other issues.

I can’t wait for this session. Please register for the 2021 Executive Team Conference on May 16 if you haven’t done so yet.  You may want to have several join in for this session alone. If you’re not an Allinial Global member firm and you’d like to see this session, let me know and we can try to make that happen.

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