For most tax and accounting professionals, COVID-19 has significantly changed how your firm operated and served its clients. While your firm was forced to move to a virtual model overnight with your team working remotely, one of the biggest changes you had to make probably had more to do with your services than anything else. The kicker? Some of these services could be totally new to you and your firm.
Whether helping your clients navigate loan programs or advising on other matters, all of us have been helping clients however we can. Yet, while providing these new services, are you making any money? Now is the time to consider how you can monetize these services for the long term. Here are three ways to make that happen.
#1: Identify the new services
It has not been business as usual working with clients. While you may have been engaged to just do compliance activities, clients are now asking for help in a multitude of ways. It’s important that you look at this work, and identify the kinds of advisory services you can continue to provide going forward.
These services can include cash flow forecasting and planning, business continuity, human resources advisory, strategic planning, and business model transitioning. If you are struggling with coming up with these services, Practice Ignition has come up with detailed service offerings you can use with your clients. Make sure you identify the workflow and action steps with those services. You will also want to gather feedback from your clients so you can understand what is valuable to them. Once you have identified and determined how your firm can offer these services, share them with your clients.
#2: Educate now, earn later
With the advisory services you jumped into doing with your clients as they grapple with COVID-19 in their businesses, you might not be able to charge for these services or could be struggling with how to bill for your value. How you think about charging for this work will depend on your current service relationship with your clients.
At Lance CPA Group, for clients billed on a monthly recurring basis, we are including these services for free or substituting them in for other services we might have provided. For tax-only clients or new clients to our firm, we are coming up with a price. While this means we are providing lots of free services, we are seeing this as a way to support our clients and educating them on the value we can bring through these services. In the future, we can continue to provide these services and get compensated for our value we are providing.
#3: Find the best way to bill
In our firm, the best way to collect money is to bill a fixed fee on a monthly basis, either on a standalone basis or bundled in with other monthly recurring services such as client accounting services or tax planning. We also automatically draw those fees via ACH to better manage our cash.
Identifying your pricing can be difficult, particularly if you price via fixed fee or value pricing. One way to figure out how you can price this is to look at the work you are doing now, understand how much capacity it takes to complete this work, and how much value it brings to your client. Your pricing can evolve over time, and you can experiment on how you price as you move along.
Value is most important
As you look to provide advisory services in the long term based on what you are doing now, the important thing is to provide value for your clients. Identify those services that are valuable that you are doing now, help your clients and educate on the value you are bringing, and then capture that value. Serving your clients in this way now will help you impact their businesses for long-term success.
Editor’s note: This article first appeared on the Intuit® Tax Pro Center.