Owner and founder Prime Entry
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The strangest secret behind pricing confidence

How you feel about yourself affects virtually every aspect of your life, and when it comes to how much you should charge for your services, this is a critical element.

14th Oct 2019
Owner and founder Prime Entry
Columnist
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Who and what you think you are, shapes all your communication directly or indirectly. Self-esteem and self-image, therefore, becomes an important key to success or failure.

It is also the key to understanding yourself and others. How you perceive yourself and how you allow others to perceive you will have a direct impact on your fee levels.

The author of ‘The Strangest Secret’ Earl Nightingale talks about self-image as our own perception of the sort of person we are. It is becoming all too common when speaking to other accountants how many are clearly struggling with their own self-image, and I can understand some of the reasons why.

Over the last few years, there have been some significant changes in legislation, reporting and processing. From iXBRL, to GDPR, MTD and plenty of other technology, it’s meant for many some long days of head-down trying desperately to figure it all out.

All around us, our clients’ behaviour is changing. They are now seeking out their own solutions, finding apps and communicating faster and faster. It’s no wonder so many feel a little beaten up.

Technology is having a huge impact, and this is going to continue whether we like it or not. For some, they see it as a negative impact, whilst others see it as a positive.

This negative or positive attitude is probably an indication of how someone responds to most other changes in life. A positive mental attitude is an important factor in helping your own self-esteem and self-image.

To test this theory, ask yourself, how would you score your own services out of 10? 10 being you offer the very best service possible and zero being you are pretty rubbish and should seriously consider taking up another career.

Whatever score you give yourself should give you a clue as to why you charge the fees you do, because these scores and your fees should be in alignment.

Scoring 10 for your services surely should suggest the highest fees, right? But, what if you are not scoring yourself that high?

Your self-esteem and self-image is not something you can fix overnight. There are some simple and easy techniques that can have a big, immediate impact, but consistency is always a work in progress, and it is not always easy to do it on your own.

Reading books, attending seminars and finding a mentor or coach in your life are all important factors, but it can be a real chicken and egg situation.

Mentoring and coaching will help you significantly increase your profits from where you are now, but currently, you might not be able to afford these services, because you are not charging enough.

So, what’s the solution?

Firstly, take some time out and read some books. Simply study. I started by listening and reading anything by Earl Nightingale.

When you are ready, find someone who can help. You might start with some online courses, or join an online group or programme. Sometimes you just have to be bold and push through your fears. So when you meet your next prospective client, present them an option for a better service and, of course, a higher fee.

Take a look at your current fees and increase them by 10% today. If there is no resistance, do it again in a few months, and keep doing it until you get resistance, but don’t let the resistance or any rejection damage your self-esteem.

It’s usually your own fear of raising prices that hinders your profitability, rather than what your clients are prepared to pay.

Replies (5)

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7om
By Tom 7000
15th Oct 2019 11:13

I had that exact thing happen today.
A chap turned up. My old accountant hasn't completed my Companies HCompliance statement and my company has been dissolved. My bank accounts been frozen. I cannot use my credit card machine. Help! Its all falling apart.

So I said get the old accountant to fix it for free, its his fault ( it was)

No he refused. I want you to fix it....

So its a few forms to fill in and if he had googled administrative restoration he could have had it done for £130+ disbursements.

So heres a chap who is desperate, his business is about to be ruined...

What do you charge?

a. £2000 because I am the expert and its his fault and lets take advantage and theres a 50/50 chance of getting it

b. £1000 I reckon I can squeeze that out of him

c. £150 it will take us a bit longer than the online firms, but you shouldn't rip people off in trouble you should help them

So.... what are you going to do?

Thanks (1)
Replying to Tom 7000:
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By Andy Reeves
15th Oct 2019 12:28

What about the AML compliance costs; preparing engagement letters; agent registration with HMRC; obtaining transfer info from the old accountant (which will be difficult)?

New clients blaming someone else are, more often than not, complicit in the alleged failures, and will blame you when they mess up again, so I factor in the initial take-on costs when pricing, which I might not do if I perceived a better, longer-term relationship.

On your fee suggestions, b, obviously:

a. There would be no chance of not getting paid, as the new client would pay up front or go elsewhere. Any other arrangement in this scenario would be madness.

b. If it is worth that to the client, then charge that, and get paid first.

c. As noted above, you missed out an awful lot of your time in your calculation.

Thanks (1)
Replying to Andy Reeves:
7om
By Tom 7000
16th Oct 2019 12:36

Ill get his company accounts etc personal annual tax return and payroll... probably for the next 5 or 6 years though :)

Thanks (0)
Mark Lee 2017
By Mark Lee
15th Oct 2019 12:43

Spot on Kevin. I have found that one of the key benefits that accountants get from joining The Inner Circle is increased self confidence and thus increased ability to quote and secure higher fees for the work they do.

Thanks (0)
Replying to bookmarklee:
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By AnnAccountant
15th Oct 2019 19:34

Kevin writes the article but Mark looks to land the business.

That could be a topic for another article! ;)

Thanks (6)