Renew Mindset for CPA Firms

Why self-esteem is a key to premium pricing

Colin Dunn
December 1, 2022
minute read

Many Renew firms are actively engaged in orplanning repricing clients right now.

As you move toward the Succession Phase in your firm, you should be obtaining premium prices for all the work you do as you create massive value for your target clients.

However, sometimes, a certain lack of self-esteem gets in the way. You can find yourself second guessing yourself and worrying that all your clients will leave if you put up your prices. Now, more than ever, that’s simply not the case… it’s harder and harder to price clients out of your firm.

Here are eight keys to building your self-esteem, which will lead to great outcomes for all stakeholders:


1.       As you consider repricing, hold a quick brainstorm with members of your team to determine wherethe value is for the client in the upcoming engagement. Even basic compliance work is more valuable than you think (for example, it can be used for financing, insurance, leasing, business planning, benchmarking, making better management decisions and so on)


2.       Communicate more with your clients. Check in with them before and during the work you do forthem. Take every opportunity to remind them of the value you bring to the table. (NOTE – “Check in” doesn’t mean you need to have a meeting every time. A quick email can do the job)


3.       Find out how others are pricing the same service. Ask other accountants you know in your locale or in Renew. DON’T ask ‘what’s your charge rate?’ Ask them specific questions such as ‘how would you price a client group with a couple of S Corps and three 1040s?’


4.       Set prices up front. Be prepared to look clients in the eye and say, ‘the price is $15,000’. If you have articulated enough value in the project at hand, price will not be an issue. (Hint: practice this in the mirror. You may be your toughest client!)


5.       Ask yourself this question: what would happen if you put your prices up by 30% tomorrow? If the answer is ‘nothing’ or ‘not much’, bite the bullet and do it (one of our clients, upon reading this point, said ‘nothing will happen, other than you’ll have more revenue and peace of mind’!)


6.       Convince yourself that you are worth more. Think about the great work you have done for clients over the years and the results your clients have got. Ask clients for testimonials and references. Read them regularly. Most accountants tell us that most of their new work comes from referrals – you should have GREAT self-esteem!

7.       Get better at asking questions. If the client says I need a cash flow, ask ‘why’? The client should then articulate why they perceive the need. No client wants a cash flow forecast just to receive a nice spreadsheet from you. They are likely to tell you that they couldn’t pay the wages last week, or the bank is putting pressure on them, or they are thinking of acquiring some new equipment and are not sure if they can afford it, or whatever else is on their mind. Whatever response you get, the likelihood is you will be able to make the client understand what they NEED, rather than what they thought they wanted, and this is where you add value.


8.       Sell value and outcomes, not activities. A firm we once interviewed had an opportunity to propose for some work to help a client improve their business. The partner’s instinctive approach was to print out a business plan template to take to show the client. As soon as you do that, you are selling a commodity and unless you have a strong relationship, the client might shop your business plan around to try to find a cheaper one. Instead, ask questions to determine the client’s objectives framed as business outcomes, measures and value to the client. When you do that, you will have the confidence to price at a premium AND your price becomes academic.


Taking Action:

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About the Author:

Colin Dunn, a Chartered Accountant with extensive experience in the accounting industry, is passionate about helping accountants transform their firms and lives. With over 25 years dedicated to creating content for to help CPAs improve their profitability, Colin shares valuable insights how self-esteem can impact a firm’s performance. Colin believes that CPAs can create a better work-life balance by learning from past experiences and applying these insights to their firms, allowing them to spend more time with their families and pursuing hobbies and leisure interests.


About Renew Group:

Are you tired of being on the diet but not seeing results? Most consultants to the CPA Profession do lots of talking and deal in 'fluff'. But there's no accountability and no focus on RESULTS.

At Renew, we start with your numbers. Our firms complete a Pareto for Profit analysis EVERY YEAR, set new targets to improve their profitability and then 'weigh in' regularly. We give you a roadmap to transform the profitability of your accounting firm by accessing our content, collaborating with other firms on a similar path and being held accountable by our coaching team and your peers.

Get paid what you're worth, create a better life based on a scalable business model and eliminate tax season insanity onceand for all!

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