P R O F E S S I O N A L . . . C O N T R O L L E R S
What Do We Cost? (Advice to Colleagues)
Billing rates are never an easy subject to discuss! However ...
We all want to be paid more. The client always wants to pay less. Seller attempts to persuade buyer that what he is selling is unique. Buyer attempts to establish criteria which several sellers can meet (or exceed). If seller is successful, he can get a high price (but it must still be within buyer's ability to pay). If buyer is successful, he defines a commodity easily differentiated by availability and price. The lowest cost producers of commodities are the most likely of them to prosper.
COMPLUS billing rates, as published in the addendum to the client contract, have been established to produce a comfortable wage for workers, an attractive share for marketing activities, a perception of value for clients, and a challenge for competitors. There is very little room in our rates for us to pay for unproductive overhead (on purpose). We intend charge higher hourly rates (as we should) than bookkeeping services. We provide the inspiration to make the perspiration worth while. We charge lower hourly rates than "name" accounting and consulting firms. We have less overhead to cover, and we don't (yet) have equivalent name recognition value.
There are services offered by other firms which may be perceived by others as similar (but they are not). Some charge substantially higher hourly rates than we do. That's OK if they're worth it. By the way, it's the total cost, not the hourly rate, that matters. Consultants usually charge for giving advice; we charge for taking action. Temporary help companies try to provide very economical alternatives for completing short-term projects and filling interim vacancies. We seek long-term (part-time) relationships. CPA firms in their usual role must be "independent;" we are allies (part of the management team).
Occasionally we will encounter a prospect/client who may ask you to "cut out the middleman." That is an absolutely unethical request. Be very careful in dealing with such a person. I appreciate very much that we respect our working agreement. There are plenty of ethical business owners for whom we can work. We should be part of their competitive advantage.
There are appropriate times to discard the rate schedule and to do "value billing" (up or down). We are all seasoned professionals. I will respect your actions as you indicate that you respect mine by joining our group. After all, the person who "works" the client has the most to lose by making a bad billing choice.
send e-mail to: email@example.com