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Have any clients asked you to reduce your fees?

Have any clients asked you to reduce your fees?

At various events in recent weeks the same theme has cropped up several times: “Clients are asking us to reduce our fees and do more work for less.”

At the recent CCH Conference, for example, Philip Woodgate from Goodman Jones commented: “We’re getting lots of pressure on price, just because our clients’ margins are going down. Clients are coming forward and asking for fee reductions, but they want to continue with the firm.”

The firm’s response was to review many of its processes and wherever possible move clients on to Twinfield cloud accounting software.

I also heard a similar story at the Accountex event in June from Mark Hil of Woking-based Ashfield Accounting. He’s using BankLink to help reduce fees and says pulling in bookkeeping data from clients’ bank accounts “helps reduce their fees” and supports both client retention and acquisition.

Have any other AccountingWEB members experienced similar pressure from clients to reduce your fees? And if so, what have you done about it?

We’ve picked up a lot of anecdotal evidence from comments like these and previous posts on AccountingWEB, such as the member who posted in January that “80% of clients are constantly asking for reduced fees and taking 60+ days to pay”.

In the circumstances, we thought it might be helpful to collect a bit of data to assess how widespread this trend might be and discuss how firms are dealing with it. Are you likely to follow the examples of Goodman Jones and Ashfield Accounting and use technology to make savings in-house, or are their other things you can do to preserve your margins?

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08th Jul 2013 16:26

None so far

 

We've not had so much as a grumble about fees since 2005 when a client moved to a non qualified firm because they thought £600 p.a. was too much for a 3 person partnership accounts prep and tax returns from poor records!!!

Since then, nothing, nada, etc.  But I'm prepared.

If anyone brings it up, I'm more than happy to talk about how they can reduce our fees, i.e. do more themselves, improve the standard of their record keeping, etc.  

What isn't going to happen is any kind of fee reduction for like-for-like work.  I charge fairly and I think the clients respect that, hence why they don't raise fees as an issue.

Perhaps the firms that get a lot of complaints are charging too much or not giving the top quality service that higher fee levels justify?

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08th Jul 2013 17:28

Yes - one particular client

and we had a very sensible conversation with them in identifying areas that could be changed and thus save them money.This basically meant aprt from them taking on more of the 'grunt' work that the the venue for the annual meeting was changed from their offices to ours.

However we are about to attempt to cull the D clients and these are going to be given a hike in fees and told that is the fee from now

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08th Jul 2013 22:07

No, but...

I have not had clients who have asked for a fee reduction. Though I had one client who left me because he managed to find someone who reduced his fees by less than half. 

What I am also finding is that my sign up rate has reduced dramatically. This is because my fees are no longer competitive.

I receive emails enquires from clients who just want to compare fees to what  their existing accountant is charging.

It is bad out there!  

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08th Jul 2013 18:53

Ken, you must be ...

... far too cheap!

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08th Jul 2013 19:58

I've had the discussion certainly...

I've had the discussion certainly, but for the vast majority point out that my fees relate to the preparation of statutory filings which cannot be ignored, deferred, avoided or evaded without penalties which rapidly exceed their annual accounts preparation costs.

I am more than happy to show them how proper organization, preparation and electronic record keeping can reduce the hours required in preparing an annual return and point clients in the direction of good bookkeepers for this purpose.

What I am not prepared to do is reduce my hourly charge purely because of a desire to cut costs. For those clients, I ask them to consider their position and for some (who are already a pain in the arse[***]), simply print out a copy of the client disengagement letter and ask them to sign at the bottom.

It is surprising how few are prepared to sign.

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08th Jul 2013 23:15

Why does anyone shop around?

As already mentioned, we should discount D graded relationships (relationships rather than the clients because, sometimes it was me who was unwilling or unable to match the client's expectations or who treated them as a conveyor belt item).  In these cases the discussions or disagreements often descend to the issue of fees and are not representative.

For the remaining, valuable, client base I think it unrealistic to try and discuss them as an amorphous mass of people & businesses, they are not, they are like us and, in certain circumstances, they will shop around.

There are certain services & facilities I buy where I see price as a key differentiating factor, and so shop around, and if clients see us and our services in the same way then they will do the same. So, for example, if all we do for a client is a set of accounts and a tax return, send them a bill and yawn once a year, can you blame them?

For me as a buyer, what regularly pushes price down the priority list is recommendation and I will stay with a service provider who was recommended to me, whilst they continue to give me a good service, even if I know I can get it cheaper elsewhere.

The only price pressure therefore that I've faced in the past few years is from the 2% to 3% of new prospects who have not been recommended.  My guess therefore is that with more people using the web. and more firms attempting to trawl it, price will become a key factor.

As far as existing clients are concerned, why do we have to wait until a client complains about the price to give them better value for money by, say, sharing the work better or using more efficient practices and technology?  

For the majority of our clients we've instigated such changes, because it made sense, and consequently many have benefitted from significant fee reductions in the past couple of years, in particular, in cases where they have switched to online accounting.

 

 

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09th Jul 2013 00:34

Depends where you are pitched in the market and if you are ripping clients off. I haven't but I have picked up a lot of clients from largeish practices in a small town lately. Ie charging £4k for a service that a competent accountant who is happy to earn £40k per year could readily service for less than £2k. Practices offering average service to small businesses at £50+ per hour will (and should) feel the squeeze.

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to CW2012
09th Jul 2013 17:02

Set your sights higher

young ronaldo wrote:
Depends where you are pitched in the market and if you are ripping clients off. I haven't but I have picked up a lot of clients from largeish practices in a small town lately. Ie charging £4k for a service that a competent accountant who is happy to earn £40k per year could readily service for less than £2k. Practices offering average service to small businesses at £50+ per hour will (and should) feel the squeeze.

 

It saddens me a bit that someone should spend years passing professional exams and gaining appropriate  experience to set up a business where they earn £40K per annum.

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09th Jul 2013 15:41

Not had my own clients ask for fee drops

But have been used by a few potential prospects to beat their existing agents down on fees. They came to me stating how fed up with the agents they were, got a quote off me and then stayed where they were when they dropped a few quid off his bill. I'm new back in the game so prices are  probably lower than my competition (main competition are two, 4 partner firms who are quite expensive). But I am happy at the fee levels I am getting for cost structure I have. I am picking up work but maybe not as competitive up North compared with some of you lads down South.

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09th Jul 2013 07:19

Classifying clients

I have read all about classifying clients but it seemed too complicated.If you don't like a client you either get rid of them or put up your price until it brings a smile to your face.

You might have clients who are slow payers, slow at providing information, accounting records are a mess, or they are irritating. They may also be the opposite.

Rather than come up with a grade why not just note what the pros and cons are? Sure, you need a bit more space in your practice management software but it's a lot more useful.

 

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to lionofludesch
09th Jul 2013 10:07

Hmmm...

petersaxton wrote:
If you don't like a client you either get rid of them or put up your price until it brings a smile to your face.

I think Peter wins the thread with this one.

 

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09th Jul 2013 08:47

Land of opportunity for sole practioners ...

we are generally much cheaper than average (let alone high end) high street practices and therefore the natural home for the clients looking to cut costs. We can often offer a more personal, less formula driven level of service and won't try and sell them products they don't need or want. This is a great time to be Johnny no mates accountant!

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By morgani
09th Jul 2013 09:31

Not many
Our fees are very fair for the region we are in. I have had a couple of clients moan and am happy to discuss with them the usual points about reducing our workload and therefore reducing the fees.
The only one major one is one of our biggest clients and they really are going through a tough time. The business has scaled back somewhat and the workload has reduced so we agreed a reduction on this basis. However I then talked to them about coming in monthly to identify areas that may be improved in the business and we are back to the fees before. Yes a little more work than before but still at a decent hourly rate.

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09th Jul 2013 10:07

Quality

@Peter re Grading, I agree with you, 10 years ago, we'd go through our client lists once a year and grade clients A-D and, for someone who has never attempted anything like it before, or in a firm with more than one director/partner, it is still a good way to take stock and get your head out of your.....spreadsheet.

In a sole practice, or when you've done the exercise a few times, it becomes something you tend to do as you go along and spotting Ds (or better Cs going to Ds) becomes as natural as recognising extra opportunities and future developments with the As & Bs.

If the relationship with the client is good, on both sides, even if you are just doing the compliance stuff, then neither you nor the client will wish to move around and, at times when the client is struggling (like morgani says) it makes sense to help them out with your own investment time, how about a year at half or even £0 fees?

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09th Jul 2013 13:16

Yes many clients have asked for fee reductions in the past 18 months just a sign of the tough times we are in. If the clients are struggling to maintain turnover levels with little or no chance of significant change in the foreseeable  best advice must be to tell the client to keep their costs under controll.

Many much bigger firms in this area (Devon & Cornwall) are desperate for work and quoting ridiculously low fees and engaging with relatively small fee clients that they would never have touched a few years ago. Having worked in larger practices previously I know that many mid fee level clients are often squeezed into paying higher fees and as a consequence start looking at smaller practices who often provide a better service and are certainly less expensive. This fortunatley has been happening down here and as a consequence we have picked up a number of these types of clients.

Frankly i'm amazed at some of the comments above but then each to his own and of course all our circumstances and aspirations will be different.

I still remeber many years ago when I first had a client list being told that if I had no complanits then I was not charging enough - commen sense really but I think it still holds good today.

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09th Jul 2013 14:28

Common sense?

"I still remeber many years ago when I first had a client list being told that if I had no complanits then I was not charging enough - commen sense really but I think it still holds good today."

Is it common sense? Maybe you are charging the right amount and clients appreciate the service.

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to pauljohnston
09th Jul 2013 15:54

Common sense

petersaxton wrote:

"I still remeber many years ago when I first had a client list being told that if I had no complanits then I was not charging enough - commen sense really but I think it still holds good today."

Is it common sense? Maybe you are charging the right amount and clients appreciate the service.

 

Totally agree with Peter. If I thought a supplier was adopting the approach of putting my fees up until I squeek then I would dump them without a second thought. Great service at a price which is fair to both sides is the very best defence against losing clients in my experience.

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09th Jul 2013 15:13

No harm in asking ?

Based on what I have read on this forum recently, why wouldn't a client ask for a fee reduction ? - what is the worst that can happen, the accountant says no !

Given the number of questions on this site along the lines of "how much should I charge for ...." it appears that many accountants in practice do not understand / know how or what to charge in the first place.

When you add in the fact that many appear to believe that clients are won or lost on price alone and are willing to negotiate fees as they are terrified of losing clients, then no wonder clients are asking for reductions.

 

 

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09th Jul 2013 17:21

Just lost a long standing client this week

I was charging, £1500+vat (125 per month by s/o)for doing  every thing. Ltd company annual accounts, ct600, vat returns, monthy payroll, P11d, personal tax return plus any ad-hoc consultancy.  My oldest client since 1995 and I was prepared to make a loss. Her business is struggling and has been quoted £500+vat for the same tasks . She is sad to be leaving but as she said, can not afford the 'Roylls Royce service' . I have today received a clearence/ handover letter which is a complete joke. New accountants has missed requesting half the relevant information.  

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09th Jul 2013 16:29

@Martin B

Your price was more than reasonable, and I would have thought £1500 was hard to beat.

I don't see how it could be done for £500, and if someone can do all that AND make a profit then I am doing something very wrong (or doing it right, as the case may be).

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to Carolineplumb
09th Jul 2013 18:21

It can be done

ShirleyM wrote:

Your price was more than reasonable, and I would have thought £1500 was hard to beat.

I don't see how it could be done for £500, and if someone can do all that AND make a profit then I am doing something very wrong (or doing it right, as the case may be).

If they spent a week on the job and worked from home and didn't have a family to support they could get by. The problem will happen when they want more money and they have to change their pricing.

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to leshoward
10th Jul 2013 16:21

Yes but are they preparing the accounts properly?

petersaxton wrote:

ShirleyM wrote:

Your price was more than reasonable, and I would have thought £1500 was hard to beat.

I don't see how it could be done for £500, and if someone can do all that AND make a profit then I am doing something very wrong (or doing it right, as the case may be).

If they spent a week on the job and worked from home and didn't have a family to support they could get by. The problem will happen when they want more money and they have to change their pricing.

 

We have accountants write their professional clearance letters to us and,as an earlier contributor wrote, have no idea what they are asking for so how well are they going to prepare the client's accounts? We advised another accountant recently that we were still getting correspondence from HMRC about the client of ours which they had taken on and asked them if they had submitted a 64-8 to HMRC and they said that they would let the client know that they needed to do it!!! That's the problem at the moment the untrained 'cowboys' are going to take our trade for a while we just need to hang in there until they naturally fall by the wayside as it will become evident in the end that they are incompetent but until then we just need to ride the storm and no longer take losing clients remotely personally.

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09th Jul 2013 17:06

I agree totally

with zarathustra. I get absolutely furious when people under sell themselves.

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to stepurhan
09th Jul 2013 18:24

What's the point?

The Innkeeper wrote:

with zarathustra. I get absolutely furious when people under sell themselves.

People make their own decisions in life and it's a free market.

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to stepurhan
10th Jul 2013 09:49

Why?

The Innkeeper wrote:

with zarathustra. I get absolutely furious when people under sell themselves.

 

We are all free to make our own decisions based on our own circumstances surely. £40k is at least 50% higher than the national average income ... if you could do that working from home with hours to suit then it doesn't sound too shoddy at all. As for wasting your qualification ... quite frankly that is an academic exercise that most of us completed 20+ years ago and not really relevant to where you might find yourself later in life.

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09th Jul 2013 18:10

reduce the workload

Hi 

Yes we have had clients who have reduced our workload considerably at times because times are hard .  There not expecting us to do the work for less as they are a pretty good bunch.  The fact is though they cannot print money either and they have to make cuts all round , including a lot of directors who have cut their salaries so not to let anyone go.  I have actually seen this a lot were the directors are very loyal to their staff.

They are also pretty good as letting us know in advance so that we do not lose on other work or new clients.  

The fact is some clients situations can change within 6 months by winning a big contract and when things get better they are always quick to increase our time for them.  

Yes I do have sympathy for business owners as not all are out to screw everyone over.  A lot of businesses are trying to stay alive at the minute.

Its pretty easy to tell the ones that are just at it.  For me its always the ones that won,t give up their fancy car but expect you to drop your fees while their claiming poverty as they say in Scotland Aye right or from were I am from find the next mug.

I have to say I disagree with the comment about someone setting up a business , passing exams and earning 40K and feeling sad for them.   I know plenty of people in that situation and they are certainly not sad. They happen to enjoy life a lot and enjoy employing others.  There  would be a lot of businesses shut and more unemployed if everyone took that attitude.  It completely depends what part of the country you are in .  For example London and the rest of the UK. Not every in the UK is a mortgage and the latest car slave. 

 

Sarah Douglas. Douglas Accountancy and Bookkeeping Services 

 

 

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09th Jul 2013 23:01

No requests from my clients

I'm probably too cheap. But then I am a bit of "Morris Minor" Service to other accountant's "Rolls Royce".

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10th Jul 2013 09:27

Sir Digby - Gets you from A to B sorted

£40K pa ! luxury, I'm destined to hit £38K this year, compared to £70K+ 3 years ago and it suits me down to the ground, how on earth can people talk in such absolutes, you need to get out a bit and experience what's important, the word again is quality for me and the clients.

Also, as with Peter & others (another absolute) judging the fee levels by how many complain... commonsense? How about, let's see how much we can get out of this Rolls before we hit something, brilliant thinking. 

Again, this is treating clients as one mass, they are not, you can get 2 clients needing identical services who will be happy to pay significantly different fee rates.

I reduce and increase rates to match clients' circumstances each year, but I've always done that and I can't remember the last time I had a complaint about fees.  I also know I charge a lot more for some work and a lot less for ther work compared to the competition, but as I say, if the client and you are happy with the fee, it's academic.

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to AtA
10th Jul 2013 09:45

From Hell, Hull, and Halifax, Good Lord, deliver us!

Paul Scholes wrote:
£40K pa ! luxury, I'm destined to hit £38K this year, compared to £70K+ 3 years ago and it suits me down to the ground, how on earth can people talk in such absolutes, you need to get out a bit and experience what's important, the word again is quality for me and the clients.

Equally £38K in London might be a barely viable business, but in Hull or Halifax would be pretty comfortable.

Not too sure what UBR or rents are like in hell, so can't advise on that one...

 

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10th Jul 2013 10:15

I wonder

I can understand the nervousness of accountants when they hear about low fees. It increases the pressure on them to reduce theirs to be competitive, when one of the chief purposes coming into the industry might have been a 'guaranteed' high income for 'life'.

 

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to Mr_awol
10th Jul 2013 10:28

I think this is a post-Thatcher perspective

andy.partridge wrote:
I can understand the nervousness of accountants when they hear about low fees. It increases the pressure on them to reduce theirs to be competitive, when one of the chief purposes coming into the industry might have been a 'guaranteed' high income for 'life'.

I joined the accountancy profession to avoid the mines, mills and dole queue.

To his dying day my Da' referred to me as "Nothing but a glorified typist".

Earning a 'guaranteed' high income for life was the last thing on my mind...

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10th Jul 2013 10:25

reading zarathustra again

Whilst I don't agree that £40K pa should be seen as failure I am also saddened by the thought of all that hard work, studying, exams and then gaining experience to be able to do what most of us could do, with just the last bit. 

Out-of-date public attitudes and the vested interests of the regulatory bodies would still have us believe that gaining the qualification is essential to reap the full benefits of accountancy. It reminds me of all those companies telling you you need their expertise to fill out a PPI claim.

There was a time when the qualification entitled you to do stuff others couldn't but, unless you are auditing or preparing an Independent Exam of a charity (or signing a mortgage enquiry letter) those days are gone and so it's sold to the wannabe reapers as something which will guarantee  quality & integrity in the eyes of punters.

So yes, I am sad for anyone who has recently entered the treadmill of qualification without first having read AccountingWeb.

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10th Jul 2013 11:03

40K per year not to be sniffed at

depending on your location. In North East its a good income and you would certainly be classed in the better half of society. I left school at 16 and worked and studied as hard as anybody to get to where I am today. I recently gave up working 50-60 hours per week for £60k making other people rich. If I get my company up to a level where I can earn 40k working maybe 35-40 hours per week I will see that as a success and certainly wont feel I have under performed or not reached my full potential. The main problem with accountancy is that you are selling your time only, so that big earnings usually require massive drains on your own time at the detriment of family life. Obtaining a more realistic work/life balance was my main driver to stepping out from the rat race, so far its working out, I am a lot happier, so is my family, we have done some belt tightening but no more. I certainly don't feel like a failure when I woke up this morning.

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10th Jul 2013 11:11

Glennzy

I dont agree with you that we are  only selling time. What you are ( or should be selling) is your accumualated expertise and experience gained over x years. It is the old plumber joke who charges you £100 to hit a pipe to stop it making a noise. Its £1 for hitting the pipe and £99 for knowing where to hit

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to Duggimon
10th Jul 2013 11:23

I disagree

Glenzy is quite right that we are all just trading hours for money.

The Innkeeper seems to be only objecting to the make-up of the rate.

 

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10th Jul 2013 11:45

@Innkeeper

Most of the work most of us do day to day is compliance based work etc which does not involve "knowing where to hit the pipe". Obviously tax investigation work, trouble shooting etc attracts a higher hourly rate but its still an hourly rate.

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10th Jul 2013 12:26

@Glennzy

I think that even the day to day work will involve 'knowing where to hit the pipe' for example does certain expenditure qualify as revenue ,capital allowances,aia, or is totally disallowable. Moving on the rules for AIA are now complicated . This surely must all be taken into account. What I am actually saying is that all fees need an element of 'value billing'

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10th Jul 2013 13:01

@Innkeeper

The items of knowledge you mention, you are expected to have whilst trading as an accountant. when someone agrees to pay you say £1000 for his accounts he would expect you to make the correct claim for his CA's & AIA. The £1000 fee is based on how long the job will take you to complete and not what you think the guy can afford to pay. Your skill set or knowledge, training dictates your hourly rate. The client shouldn't be able to go and pay £2000 down the road to someone who will claim more CA's or AIA or prepare accounts which show a lower CT liability than you. Value pricing has its place but not on all bills, and is not that relevant to my client base (general practice 80% standard compliance work).

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10th Jul 2013 16:30

What's the correlation

between ability and price?

I know plenty of qualified and trained accountants who are offering to do work for cheap fees because they are just starting their own practice.

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10th Jul 2013 16:36

That's weird, Peter

Why would your 'associates' want to compete at the cheap end of the market if they are capable of doing better? Sounds like a flawed strategy to me. Assuming, of course, they are capable!

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to Tax Dragon
12th Jul 2013 11:25

To pick up work

andy.partridge wrote:

Why would your 'associates' want to compete at the cheap end of the market if they are capable of doing better? Sounds like a flawed strategy to me. Assuming, of course, they are capable!

For example. I had a client who was losing money. They found somebody who was just starting to work for themselves and they were desperate to get some income - they quoted £300 a month for a job I was getting £500 a month for.

This was an association who had a management board and I only really dealt with the chief executive and they had just changed due to the old chief executive leaving to have a baby.

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10th Jul 2013 16:46

touch wood I think I am doing ok on fees

Since starting I have quoted for a fair bit of work and probably signing up 70% of prospects I meet. I am getting around £1500 for a 1 man company + CT & SA return which I think is ok for time involved. I am not really in a position to turn work away but wont work for buttons. 1 job I have quoted on is more involved than expected but I am working with him to reduce my involvement. Its just a bit extra volume I need as although I am receiving monthly payments into bank I am not going to be that busy until September/October so have some time to kill across the summer.

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11th Jul 2013 03:25

@Glennzy

You say that:  "The main problem with accountancy is that you are selling your time only"

Also: "The £1000 fee is based on how long the job will take you to complete and not what you think the guy can afford to pay. Your skill set or knowledge, training dictates your hourly rate". 

But there are many of us who don't keep timesheets and so this problem only really applies to those of you who do.

Yes, any service provision takes time, but, as an example, if I get someone in to decorate our front room, I don't ask the decorator to give me an hourly rate, I just ask for a quote for the work and, depending on any past experience, recommendation, urgency, the current state of the place, how capable/willing (or rather incapable/unwilling) I am to do it myself, and perhaps what others have quoted, I'll judge whether the price quoted is OK. 

Note also that, unless I'm daft or desperate, it's very unlikely that being charged according to what I can afford to pay, will come into it.....and I don't have many daft or desperate clients.

So, in my case, each client is quoted upfront based on the above criteria meaning that even some of the most basic compliance work will generate above average fees, it all depends on what the client and I need and want (whether it takes me 5 hours or 10 hours).

You say you charge £1,500 for the one person band company, which is a nice fee and I'm guessing that this for mainly compliance work.  This is what I would have charged 2-3 years ago but, as has been mentioned regularly on accountingweb, the market for those sort of fee rates, for bog standard work, are fast dimnishing and I'd guess my average today would be £1,100.  Even so, if I was to be looking at time spent, it's probably still around £100 ph and so, if I need to, I still have room to reduce the rates further

Finally, with regard to our skill set, knowledge and training dictating rates, this might be the case for the add-on work but, for most compliance work these days, I (and I would suspect many others) don't even break a sweat, it's no longer rocket science, which is why so many businesses do it themselves.

Sorry I went on longer than I intended but I just wanted to point out that the problem is with relying on a clock, in that it can't speed up or slow down to match the work and client in front of you who, for the most part, doesn't give a monkeys how long it takes you to do the tax return as long as it's ready in time for 31 January.

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11th Jul 2013 04:54

Time

"if I get someone in to decorate our front room, I don't ask the decorator to give me an hourly rate, I just ask for a quote for the work"

That seems sensible if they are able to see the room first and it's agreed exactly what work is going to be done.

I don't think any accountant would object to quoting for a job if they know what work is required.

If an accountant is not able to ascertain what work is needed then it is reasonable to quote with caveates.

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11th Jul 2013 08:52

£40K should be newly qualified employee money

Not profits of someone running their own business.

Its pointless trying to tell me otherwise.

@Glenzy @Steve Holloway -

I don't aspire to be in the "top half" of earners as one of you puts it  - I want to be in the top 2% - 5% of earners - and I guess I just dont understand anyone who's chosen the route of doing pretty difficult exams to think otherwise.

I suppose we must just agree to differ. There must be plenty of people who think like you, otherwise, as paul scholes has noted above, there wouldn't be a general depression in fees.

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11th Jul 2013 09:48

Not Profits of someone running their own business

Hi

"Not Profits of someone running their own business" 

There are 1000's of directors and employers in the country who earn this and are trying to keep business alive. They are also very successful in their life.  I just glad everyone in the UK does not have that attitude as I said above there would be large amount of unemployment.  

Accountants are not rock stars.  I will only get out of bed if I earn this.  I personally think the comment is really insulting to men and women who work hard in this country.  But I guess " Its pointless trying to tell me otherwise".  We are accountants and no better then anyone else who is trying to earn a living.

Sorry but I really admire anyone who has the guts to go out on their own or eventually employ people, and in my book it is wrong to judge 4Ok as not being successful.  A lot of people in this country are struggling at the minute and would give their right arm to earn 40K which is way above the average wage.

Sarah Douglas. Douglas Accountancy and Bookkeeping Services Glasgow

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11th Jul 2013 09:50

Each to our own

I prefer a modest, but enjoyable, lifestyle. Some people aren't happy unless they have a stable of flash sports cars. Each to our own, so long as you earn your money and don't get it illegally.

The problem arises when people want everything but can't afford it, and have no guilty conscience about helping themselves to other people's money.

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11th Jul 2013 10:05

@Zara

You need to maybe step outside the M25 once in a while. In North East England a newly qualified earns maybe £25k. Someone earning £40-£50k is doing well. The depression in fees is not down to people like me, but people who overcharge for basic work, which has led to better software developments which allow clients to do more and save on professional fees. I took a step back from striving for cash in order to spend more time with my family, I tried chasing the cash and to be honest its not all that. I am confident I can earn as much as I did in employment whilst working about half the hours. There is also a difference being the best and simply being the highest earner.

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11th Jul 2013 10:13

@Paul Scholes

I don't use a time sheet and have never said I do. I use the same method of quoting as your painter does. Although he doesn't disclose his hourly rate he will be working to one in his head. (2 days Work £300 + Paint £50 = £350 for room). So whether or not your quote shows 10 hours @ £75 or just £750 your cost is based on how many hours the job will take otherwise what is It based on.

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11th Jul 2013 10:30

Loads of money!!!

This has morphed a bit.

Firstly to answer the OP - no.

On the discussion about income, lets be honest, no-one spent their time studying to qualify as an accountant to be restricted to earning £40k a year.

If there are accountants out there working for themselves who are working full time, flat out and not earning more than £40k a year then there is something seriously wrong with their business model.

That said, I can completely understand that not everyone wants to earn loads of money.

Some are happy to earn sufficient to fund their lifestyles and that could be £20k a year but in achieving that I wouldn't expect them to be working more than 2 full days a week.

On the other hand, regardless of where you are in the country, if you're prepared to put in the effort you should be able to earn £60k+.

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