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Fees benchmarking for sole-practitioners

Yep, that time of year and my thoughts start to turn to 2011 fees. Quite often a thread appears on AWEB concerning fee levels for a specific job and (a) It attracts lots of opinion and (b) gets lots of hits. So, I wonder if any of you would like to do something a bit more formal? I have been posting on AWEB without Pseudonym for about 7 or 8 years now so most of you will be aware that I have no marketing or commercial interest in you (or your clients!).

My thoughts were that I would guage interest and you could email that to me by hitting my name/avatar above. You can be entirely anonymous as far as I am concerned (apart from your on-line persona). If there is some interest, I would then benchmark some key client groupings (6 -10), distribute them to those interested and request typical fees charged. I would then collate the replies in to an anonymous matrix for all those who submitted data. You could then cut the data however is of interest or benefit to you.

I appreciate that there is a huge cross section of people who use AWEB and therefore I would like to limit the data set to:

Non franchised sole-practitioners

Not based in a major city

Engaged in general practice

AWEB - I suspect this should be in discussion groups or something but I wanted people to be aware of it before you move it!

Thanks   Steve

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27th Jan 2011 14:08

Cheap!

Well I fit all of those criteria and am a SOLE practitioner and charge £35 per hour. Excellent value I always tell my clients.

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27th Jan 2011 15:07

I'd be interested

Unfortunately I am based in London - although not the centre.

I also think that working from home or from offices would affect the fees charged.

Maybe you could have categories such as city, town or country and home or office?

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27th Jan 2011 15:10

OK

Count me in.

-- Kind regards Andy

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By thacca
27th Jan 2011 15:48

Me too

Count me in.

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27th Jan 2011 15:54

I fear I will be seen as a cheapskate

But happy to join in too.

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27th Jan 2011 16:14

Me too.

I would be happy to take part in this too.

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@ Peter

I might be wrong about excluding cities but if you are happy to submit then we will see if there is a difference. I seem to recall from previous posts that your fees were not disimilar to mine so perhaps that answers the question as I am a country bumpkin!

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By GeeBee
27th Jan 2011 16:41

I'm in.

Count me in as well.

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By Tosie
27th Jan 2011 16:42

yes please

Count me in, most interesting thread.

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27th Jan 2011 16:43

@ Dougscott

Cheap?

Maybe, maybe not. Depends how long you take.

-- Kind regards Andy

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By Monsoon
27th Jan 2011 16:51

I'm in

As I'm now a sole practitioner again, I can join in the fun too :)

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By ruben
27th Jan 2011 17:57

Fees benchmarking

Very happy to join

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By peta1
27th Jan 2011 18:07

Fees

 Count me in.  Happy to share - and to learn!

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27th Jan 2011 20:11

OK then

I'd be interested in a bit of pricefixing :-)

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27th Jan 2011 21:27

And me

Count me in as well. Be interesting to see the results.

 

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27th Jan 2011 21:27

And me

Count me in as well. Be interesting to see the results.

 

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27th Jan 2011 22:36

And me

Please count me in too.

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28th Jan 2011 08:52

Interesting - count me in

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28th Jan 2011 10:17

Moi aussi

Just to be slightly different

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By Luke
28th Jan 2011 10:17

I'll do it too

Let me know when you've got the list of criteria.

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Thanks everyone ....

we have about 25 so far. I will put some thought to criteria and send a private message to those who have asked to join in. If your settings on AWEB prevent member sending you an PM then you might want to change them or send me an email directly to accshop (at) aol.com.

Steve

 

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By perry23
28th Jan 2011 13:26

Me Too

Count me in as well

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28th Jan 2011 17:11

Am I too late?

If not then count me in too.

Dave

 

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28th Jan 2011 17:35

Me too

Count me in too!

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28th Jan 2011 18:33

I'd be very interested too!

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28th Jan 2011 21:55

Would Be Very Interested

if not too late.

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29th Jan 2011 08:34

Me too

I may be too late.  Please count me in as well. Though will not be able to respond till Tue next week.

Great idea- I wish I had thought of this!

 

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Nobody is too late!

Like most of you I suspect, I have a few things (and clients) that I have put off during January so I will be clearing those early next week. I will then get back to you with the benchmarks towards the end of the week.

Thanks again ... looks like 40+ which should give us a very useable sample.

 

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By murphy1
29th Jan 2011 18:23

Me to please?

Steve,

Count me in-thanks!

 

Murphy

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By amco
29th Jan 2011 19:32

count me in

can you count me in to please

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30th Jan 2011 10:36

And me as well please

Thanks!
S

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By B Adder
30th Jan 2011 10:41

And

One more

 

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Next steps?

Hi Steve and other participants in this thread - just wanted to let you all know that this is a fine pretext for an Any Answers thread and our objective is try to and support members rather than policing the exchanges too heavily.

The level of interest in small practice benchmarking makes me wonder if there are other issues that would appeal to participants in this thread? The issue you have raised obviously strikes a chord with fellow members, Steve. Do you think fee levels are the main topic that you share, or might there be others?

If participants think there might be a quorum to continue elsewhere, we could set up a dedicated discussion group either around fee benchmarking itself, or a small firm intersest group - or somewhere in between (eg Small prcactice finance and management). A discussion group can be a little freer than any answers and has extra survey tools that could be helpful. If necessary, you can police who joins to prevent unwanted marketing intrusions..

Let us know if you'd like to take the thead forward beyond the benchmark information-collecting exercise you've started here. I'd even go so far as to nominate Steve to be the group manager!

 

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By morgani
30th Jan 2011 20:34

And still one more

Would be interested as well. 

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30th Jan 2011 21:04

Nominate Steve

I would second Steve nomination as the person who manages the group.

Just something to consider Steve  - include franchise accountants? The way they are springing everywhere and looking at their fee levels, I think it would be good to include them. I think they are serious comptetion.  

Please let me know if I can help in anyway.

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30th Jan 2011 21:18

Results

I think Steve doesn't want to include them because they would skew the results.

What Steve has to consider is the information that is needed to make the results useful to the individual.

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30th Jan 2011 23:26

Its not that simple

An interesting idea - but there are a lot of variables that need to be considered.

The area of the country - the poor souls "down south" have to charge more than those "up north" because of cost of living (mainly housing) differences.

What competition you have on your doorstep is another factor. The client mix is another factor - there's a world of difference between having 200 sub contractors as clients, and having say 10-20 larger clients.  

I dont think franchises are a huge factor as they operate in a different market, sort of the "Pound Shop" of the accountancy world, and they largly attract a different kind of client. 

You might want to also sub divide by those with a small practice - and those working from home (with reduced overheads as a result).

 

  

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30th Jan 2011 23:37

Categories

Maybe it would be good to split by area: South East, Other cities, towns and country.

I’m not sure if you can effectively take into account competition.

Client mix shouldn’t matter as Steve suggested that it would give an indication of the work required and we would say what our charge would be. We won’t be giving an average fee for a client.

I think it’s sensible to split between home and office.

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31st Jan 2011 08:00

Me too

I'd like to be in as well please 

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@ John re a separate group

.. although I understand the point you are making, I am not sure that 'any answers' is not already the forum of choice for the sole practitioner. Looking at the members who have responded to this thread, PM's me or emailed direct ... the vast majority are regular contributors on this section already. As for other benchmarking areas; I am sure there are many but as far as I am concerned I think I'll see how this goes first.

Re the geographic differences ... I am happy to build in a broad SE,SW,Midlands,NW,NE,SCO,WAL field if that is helpful although I suspect the differences will not be material. I think the town and country distinction has even more anomolies as it depends on what type of country and town we are talking! Within my own area I have Aldershot and Farnham within 5 miles of each other ... might as well be different planets pricing wise and I am sure you all have similar examples. Ditto office and home based accountants ... there are some very expensive home based accountants and equally some very cheap offices.

 

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31st Jan 2011 09:16

Prices alone

"Re the geographic differences ... I am happy to build in a broad SE,SW,Midlands,NW,NE,SCO,WAL field if that is helpful although I suspect the differences will not be material. I think the town and country distinction has even more anomolies as it depends on what type of country and town we are talking! Within my own area I have Aldershot and Farnham within 5 miles of each other ... might as well be different planets pricing wise and I am sure you all have similar examples. Ditto office and home based accountants ... there are some very expensive home based accountants and equally some very cheap offices."

I wouldn't think it's worth bothering about broad areas and I take your point about similar towns nearby.

I suppose home and office isn't all that important seeing as potential clients will more likely focus on price than setup.

Just getting prices will certainly cut down on the work involved.

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01st Feb 2011 15:11

Include me as well please

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Keep the results coming!

I have the first 15 respondents all spreadsheeted up ... very useful already but more will help smooth the data.

Just as a tempter ..... fees for a standard tax return ....

MeanMedianLower QuartileUpper Quartile

£109.29£112.50£85.00£125.00

return your data and you can have the other 19 fee points as well.

 

 

 

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06th Feb 2011 18:30

please include me too

if I'm not too late! 

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By nick
08th Feb 2011 11:21

Only just found this thread...

But would be interested if it's not too late!

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11th Feb 2011 10:23

Pricing survey

A few months ago I surveyed 180 accountancy practices and wrote a research report based upon the findings.  Many of the questions asked were pricing related and so the research report contains a substantial amount of benchmarking information on pricing.

Although the report - called "Your blueprint for a better tax practice" - normally sells for £250 you can get a completely FREE copy here, www.FreeTaxResearch.co.uk/acc.

I also wrote a book a few months ago on practical pricing for accountants.  Again I am happy for any of the readers of this thread to claim a free copy, which you can do so by going to www.FreePricingBook.co.uk/acc.

Finally, I have just written another pricing book for accountants which is currently with the publishers and is due out in a couple of months.  And later on in 2011 I will be organising some events for accountants that want to learn more about effective pricing and learn from what other practitioners are doing.  When you download my free book using the link above, I'll make sure that I tell you when my new book is published and about the priicing events I will be running.

I hope this helps.

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11th Feb 2011 11:01

Another one

Can I be included too, please?

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By Luke
14th Feb 2011 19:36

Thanks Steve

Thanks very much Steve for the interesting info.  I definitely found it useful, I am not that cheap after all!!

What was most interesting is how it's not the same people who are expensive throughout, but that all of our charges vary massively.  I know on some items I was one of the cheapest, yet on others one of the most expensive.  I suppose it proves that a lot of our pricing is sticking a finger in the air time, or maybe some of us are just very quick/slow at particular jobs.

Anyway, thanks very much for putting it altogether.  It is much appreciated.

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14th Feb 2011 20:29

waiting for mine

I was late in submitting the info. Looking forward to it.

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15th Feb 2011 09:13

Thanks Steve

Agree with the above - it has been very interesting.  I am not a total cheapskate!  Although it appears I have my moments.

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