about pricing (or what lies ahead if we are a commodity)
My question is this: We know that a substantial portion of what we do is for work the law says people "have to have" (compliance). Consequently, not much appreciated (need, not want). This is why people think all accountants are "the same" (in other words we sell a commodity). So, why would people be prepared to pay premium prices for this? I believe this is the main reason prices go down (people see no difference for them). The same more or less happens with solicitors, but there are no unqualified solicitors to drive prices even lower (have nothing against unqualified accountants other than they are not qualified with all that goes with this-admittedly not all of them). One would argue of course that we also offer value added services people WANT, like tax investigations, tax strategy, financial planning etc and price those services on value. The question is what percentage of a practice's work those services take up and can a small practice rely purely on those? The bottom line is, if we are a commodity by enlarge and we cannot differentiate our practices on compliance, what is the future ahead (either drive prices further down or keep prices artificially high as much as can and hope to survive despite increased price-driven competition - why would people come to us if we offer no value and others can do it cheaper?) And in my opinion this calls for another bigger question about the future of the profession as a well-paid industry. Does anybody share my thinking?