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I watched Spain with Euro 2012 with ease and elegance last night.

It appears to me that Spain have proved beyond any doubt that their new model of no forwards is more effective. Their formation could be described as 4-6 or 2-8 and unless England fundamentally change I can not see us winning anything, ever!

I think we are moving ever closer towards a tipping point in the accounting profession as the new business model of Value Pricing proves to be more effective.

Are you going to wait until you are second or third league or start to develop your knowledge now so you can stay or become a premier league firm?

For those interested in a new business model (not just a new billing system) I'd highly recommend Implementing Value Pricing by Ron Baker. But, understand this changes everything including the way you manage yourself and your people.

Bob Harper

Crunchers Accountants


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02nd Jul 2012 08:50

Understanding is still important

Just because Spain are successful with a system it doesn't mean that other countries will be. Spain's movement off the ball and short interpassing combined with precise longer passes is what enables them to score goals without having a "target man".

Blindly trying to copy something will get you nowhere.

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02nd Jul 2012 09:21


.... as the new business model of Value Pricing proves to be more effective. 

Where is your proof, or is this just an opinion presented as fact?

I think Sage use this method, (or something similar) and it may work for a while, but once their customers realise they have been charged a lot more than others ... for the exact same software ... they feel ripped off and move on PDQ ... and I doubt they will ever return!

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By Flash Gordon
02nd Jul 2012 09:22

Down to the players

Spain have a squad full of good / great players, we don't. That's the difference.

But it was a good game last night (though Torres doesn't look old enough to have two little kids). Quality play. I'd rather watch Spain over England any day, they were playing to win the whole 90 minutes, we spend our time playing to draw - says it all.

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02nd Jul 2012 09:34

I have witnessed what ShirleyM has

suggested - i have no doubt not all clients will react the same, and whilst there is something exciting about being dealt with in a 'new' way (and being value priced) - once that has passed the client can often be left with the feeling that the services they are receiving are excessive for their requirements or do not represent value for money (that is not the same as expecting something for nothing).  


Of course care should be taken, because whilst it can look pretty damn good - it doesn't always produce the results (see Arsenal - pretty football, but never shoot therefore never score - also look at Barcelona - very successful but not dominant as seen this year).  



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02nd Jul 2012 09:56

Talent and development

@Peter - so do you suggest we stick to what we have done in the past and just get better?

For me it comes down to some fundamentals, specifically the way the nurture and develop  talent. The same for accountants.

@Shirley - there is proof and it is beyond any reasonable doubt

@Flash - yes, I think the quality of the players is key. The same for accountants; Value Pricing is not good for average players.

@JustSotax - how can a client be left feeling negative about anything when part of Value Pricing? The key is involving the client in the pricing and package options? 

Bob Harper

Crunchers Accountants

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02nd Jul 2012 10:02

"@Peter - so do you suggest

"@Peter - so do you suggest we stick to what we have done in the past and just get better?"

No, I think we should consider what clients want and deliver that at a fair price. A fair price would take into account what you are providing and what the competition is doing.

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02nd Jul 2012 10:04

thats probably better addressed to the accountant

involved.....but just because someone agrees to a price for specific services guess it doesn't mean they are guaranteed to like the outcome.    

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02nd Jul 2012 10:11


@Peter - I was actually talking about the football because it sounded like you don't think we should change.

Anyway, back to pricing - who do you think decides what fair is?

As regards the competition, the idea is to be different so you can't be compared.

Bob Harper

Crunchers Accountants

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Same difference

Bob Harper wrote:

As regards the competition, the idea is to be different so you can't be compared.

Bob Harper

Why would you not want to be compared? Odd.

It reminds me of a meeting I had some years ago with a senior partner of a large firm. He listened intently while I described how I was different. I had pitched well. There was a pause. 'So, you are selling smoke and mirrors,' he said. It took me a little time to appreciate that he was dead right.

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02nd Jul 2012 10:12


@JustSoTax - what is the price is linked to the outcome?

Bob Harper

Crunchers Accountants

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02nd Jul 2012 10:21

Systems, pricing and gimmicks


"@Peter - I was actually talking about the football because it sounded like you don't think we should change."

I don't know where you got that from. I think we should consider the players we have available and what system suits them best.

"Anyway, back to pricing - who do you think decides what fair is?"

The accountant and the client. If the accountant doesn't think the price is fair he wouldn't provide the service unless the price was too great. Most accountants would ask for a high fee because they think it isn't fair - and it would eventually get found out anyway. If the client doesn't think the price is fair after the accountant explains their reasoning and any alternative suggestions, the deal will not happen.

"As regards the competition, the idea is to be different so you can't be compared."

Why be different for the sake of it? It's better to strike a connection with the client so they trust you and appreciate you are doing the best for them. Gimmicks will be seen through.

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02nd Jul 2012 10:24

quite possibly but i guess it

is difficult when it comes to profits etc.  Do you guarantee money back/reduced fees if the marketing advice you give doesn't give the resultant increase in turnover/net profit?....


I suppose the other issue is that with guarantees (as with insurance) there are that many get out clauses that this in itself can have a negative impact on the agreement.

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02nd Jul 2012 10:38

Guaranteed fairness

@Peter - the client decides if a price is fair/right. But, the accountant can influence that with their branding/marketing/selling skills.

But, I agree, accountants can walk away.

Who said being different for the sake of being different and it being a gimmick? Volvo decided to produce a safer car and look at what they did click here. I don't call that a gimmick.

@JustSoTax - yes I do give guarantees and clauses/conditions set clear expectations. I would not agree to do a Website or a set of accounts for someone with them having some conditions.

By the way, I think we are the only franchise that has a success guarantee.

Bob Harper

Crunchers Accountants


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By Locutus
02nd Jul 2012 10:43

Trends and dogma
Spain's formation worked for their players in this particular era. However, the performance of one team does not constitute a trend. Spain's formation is not necessarily right for other top flight teams such as Brazil, Argentina and Germany, nor relative under-performers such as England. Having said that England would seem to have little to lose by experimenting.

I believe the same is true in the accountancy profession. I use fixed price agreements (to some extent adjusting for value pricing) for certain types of work that can be compartmentalised, such as annual accounts and tax compliance. For other types of work where the time to be spent is very uncertain (tax enquiries for instance) then hourly billing is more appropriate.

Whether you are talking about the performance of football teams or billing methods of the accountancy profession, I believe the key is not to get stuck in one particular dogma that one is absolutely right, resulting on all others being absolutely wrong.

You need to be flexible and adapt to whatever the situations are.

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02nd Jul 2012 10:55

One idea

@Tends and Dogma - one objective is good. With football the objective is to win in style for accountants is should be (in my opinion) to deliver value.

@Andy - if you are the same as every other accountant you are a commodity and that reduces your pricing power.

How did you explain your difference?

Bob Harper

Crunchers Accountants

PS - when I get asked who Crunchers is different I say in every way.


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Every way?

Bob Harper wrote:

PS - when I get asked who Crunchers is different I say in every way.

Forgive me, but if I were a prospect and you said that I'd run a mile

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02nd Jul 2012 11:07

Not a valid comparison

There is a debate to be had about whether Spain's success is down to their formation or whether it is their players.

Obviously, the answer is a bit of both and the real question is which contributed more and by how much.

The place for that debate, however, is on football forums and it tells us absolutely nothing about whether value pricing is the future for the accountancy profession.

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02nd Jul 2012 11:12


The wonderful thing about AWeb and it's members is that we are all different, with different values and ideas.

It would be a disaster if we all thought the same way, did the same things, and all competed for a very narrow band of clients that want one 'different' thing, and ignored all the other clients that want something else.

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Volvo & Spain ...

are actually a very good analogy with value pricing Bob. In all cases I can see that there might be much to be admired but at the end of the day they don't actually excite many people. 

Spain were successful last night as Italy tried to play an open expansive game and were punished for it. Had Italy, like most teams do, elected to play defensively against Spain then the result is the turgid '40 passes to go no where' display we have seen many times. If every team elects to 'become Spain' then football would be finished as a spectator sport in 5 years.

As far as I am aware none of my clients drive a Volvo, none of them support Spain and none of them would be remotely interested in my engaging them in a debate on value pricing. As we have 'discussed' so many times here, you are not in touch with the work and client base of the typical sole practitioner and I'm not sure why you keep banging the same drum on AWEB. So what if we don't all end up in the Premiership .... football in the lower leagues is thriving and is actually still exciting. 


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40 years how long it took Spain to win a major tournament.

If I decided to implement a new business model it would have to work a little quicker.


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02nd Jul 2012 11:41

very straightforward really

adapability is the best approach.

In football, and in other areas.

One system is not necessarily the best.

In accountancy, you should be tous les adaptable to the needs of your clientells.


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02nd Jul 2012 12:10

50% profit improvement

@Andy - good marketing turns off and turns-on so please keep running; you are probably not a good fit.

The accountants (and clients) that we want to speak with WANT something different.

@Kent - Value Pricing is a radical business model change,. Depending on the culture of the firm it can take a while or break it up.

@Steve - how do you know your clients would not be interested Value Pricing?

A McKinsey study showed that a 5% increase in price delivers 50% profit improvement. my guess is that most business owners would be interested in improving their profits, without spending any/much money because Pricing improvements can cost nothing/very little.

@Tony - you can focus on needs (like tax returns) I'll focus on wants (like profit).

Bob Harper

Crunchers Accountants

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King's new clothes

Bob Harper wrote:

@Andy - good marketing turns off and turns-on so please keep running; you are probably not a good fit.

Honestly, do you think marketing Crunchers as being different in every way is 'good marketing'? Does it mean anything or is it empty drivel? A rhetorical question as I think I know the answer. Come on Bob, you are usually better than this. You sound jaded.

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02nd Jul 2012 12:52


We've got to admire you Bob, you really do never give up.

Somewhat like a small child with a drum after Christmas, amusing but...


I think of you as 'Bouncing Bob' since you came back after the last time.

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02nd Jul 2012 13:18

I have to say (and this is not just aimed at

you Bob, but others who use study's to state the blindingly obvious) - that yes indeed it is not hard to believe that increasing your fees by 5% will have a disproportionate impact on net profits as it seems apparent there will be minimal overheads connected to the increase. And....!?


I have seen this 'trick' done before.....but it is not rocket science and i would certainly question being charged a hefty fee (value pricing)  for such 'advice' ....of course it goes deeper than that because you do have to consider the level of clients you will lose as a result....


I guess my query would be about the definition of 'profit improvement'....a slightly odd turn of phrase as i personally would be looking for the net profit increase....but presumably this term is used to increase the perceived benefit - afterall 50% is a lot bigger than 10%....


I always get the feeling that marketing (in its many forms) is all about style over substance....which i suspect benefits the guys getting paid to market the product more than the ones selling it.....



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02nd Jul 2012 13:32

Just started round one

@Chris - "it's hard to beat a man when he's got his mind made up that he's going to win" Muhammad Ali.

Crunchers Accountants


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02nd Jul 2012 13:46


@Andy - being different needs to be defined. We actually call is "Alternative" and here's where we are with it today click here. You could say that our aim is to be a difference that actually makes a difference.

@JustSoTax - I would not charge someone for just telling them that they can increase profit by increasing their price. I probably wouldn't charge for explaining the principle that they can afford to lose some clients and still increase profits. 

I may charge them for helping them model their business. I would also charge for helping them increase their prices in a way which reduced defections to a minimum.

Bob Harper

Crunchers Accountants



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Have you managed to get any work done today?

Not much value being added on this thread...

...I'm off to finish another fixed price quote...

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