3 proven strategies for driving your billings up... | AccountingWEB

3 proven strategies for driving your billings up...

Several conversations since the start of the year have pointed to one thorny issue.

A thorny issue which either slows down or prevents the fee growth of some (all?) firms.

What do you make of the offending issue?

"We are struggling to hit our monthly billings targets and we use the first week of the new month just to catch up on last month's billings target (sometimes the second week too!)"

Without boring you with the details three things then prompt a resolution (in part) of this sticky and financially draining issue.

1. Why on earth allow monthly billings targets? It sponsors larger peaks and troughs which are hard to manage. Simply change to weekly billings targets, weekly work schedules for team members (within a 3 month rolling workflow programme) and you create smaller peaks. Smaller weekly peaks then make it easier to respond to shortfalls week by week so you can get closer or surpass your monthly targets. Naturally you need to install weekly performance processes and KPI's to support your weekly targets but it pays to get out of the monthly billing culture and kick start a weekly culture. 52 opportunities to correct performance are better than 12 don't you think?

Firms then expand on the reasons behind their monthly billings shortfalls and tell me...

"It's getting harder to get books and records off of clients because they don't want to be billed!"

I respond with the following:

2. What's the weekly target for getting complete books and records into the firm?

This then sponsors a discussion about the processes for getting books and records in from clients. This often revolves around the frustrations they have with clients on this issue and eventually moves to building two three or four processes for sponsoring a more predictable flow of books and records so the team always have enough work to go at.

It also sponsors a discussion around the third question I ask:

3. And how do you feel about setting up either standing order or direct debit arrangements with these clients?

Thankfully most of the firms I work with have wholeheartedly accepted the concept of fixed price arrangements and the concept of standing orders (or direct debits). And so creating a process or two to expand standing order processes  specifically for those clients delaying books and records is a short leap.

How does this thorny billings issue and three 'fixes' compare with your experiences and successes?

Paul Shrimpling


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