Value Pricing: My Clients Don't Want to Change

In many of my earlier blog posts, I explored the reasons why, over the next few years, you will want to be migrating your clients’ accounting systems onto QuickBooks Online. But, what if your clients don't want to change? What if they're happy with their existing system, with their manual books and records, and with their Excel-based spreadsheet or desktop accounting system?

If that’s the case, then you have a number of options.

It’s Not Your Fault

The first, of course, is to remind clients that if Making Tax Digital goes ahead, pretty much every business will need to be on the cloud inside three years. So, they don't really have a choice.  And, it’s not your fault. It’s the government that is the one not giving businesses a choice.

King Canute Could Not Stop the Tide

A second argument you can use is to explain that software companies are completely committed to the cloud, which means that at some point in the not-too-distant future, they’ll stop supporting desktop accounting systems. We can't stop the advances in technology – in the same way that we can’t stop banks phasing out cheques.

Change is inevitable.

So, sooner or later, your clients will have no choice. They will have to move their accounting systems onto a cloud accounting system such as QuickBooks Online. And, they're better off doing it now, rather than waiting until the last minute when everyone is starting to panic and there's a rush.

The Power of a Demonstration

You can also encourage your clients to change by demonstrating the benefits of making that change. Walk them through some of the key features of QuickBooks Online – show them what their reporting could look like by producing some dummy reports so they can see their quality.

One accountant I know (who is moving all his clients onto the cloud) has his meetings with clients in the local coffee shop. He then uses his smart phone and the QuickBooks Online app to show the client how he takes a photo of the receipt, processes it immediately and can then dispose of the paper receipt. Clients love that.

The better you are at demonstrating the benefits, the more people will appreciate them.

You Set the Rules of the Game

And, here's a final thought: Some firms are simply not giving clients a choice. Instead, they’re saying, “This is the way things are going and this is the way our practice works. We’re moving everybody onto QuickBooks Online. If you don't want to, I’m afraid we'll have to refer you to another accountant.”

This strategy makes a huge amount of sense. If you think about it, if every single one of your clients is on QuickBooks Online, you and your team only have to be trained in one accounting system. It’s much easier to become an expert in it and to understand it inside out. As a result, you'll be able to create systems around processing accounts and bookkeeping that will create huge efficiencies. These efficiencies will make your services so much more profitable – particularly if you price based on value (please don’t price based on time … that would mean charging less because you are more efficient!).

Dealing with a few clients who use other systems creates unnecessary distraction. It creates extra work and inefficiency.

Keep life simple and set out your terms of doing business with you.