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Profit secrets for your practice, huge competitive advantage, have we got your attention?

If you’re in search of tips and techniques to help you make more money in your accounting practice, stay on top of new and ever-changing technology, and get a huge competitive advantage in the marketplace, then you’ll want to be at the Event of the Year!

Sandi Smith Leyva and I are revealing all sorts of money-making secrets in our all-new, content-packed, award-winning, 2018 Seventh Annual Accounting vCon, and we’d LOVE for you to be there. We’re breaking ground for both women and small practices in the accounting industry with this type of event, and participants like you make it so much fun and successful.

Find out more and register here: http://accountingvcon.com

Don’t wait or you’ll miss it! Now 25% off through Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Please thank our sponsors:

Intuit helps small businesses and accounting professionals save time managing their business finances so they can spend time doing what they love: growing their businesses. http://accountants.intuit.com/

With quality business insurance from Allstate, you can help protect and build a business your clients rely on. Learn more about your risks and get a 3-minute quote today at Small Business resource Center. http://iprotectsmallbiz.com/accountants-accelerator/

Join the CorpNet Partner Program and provide Entity Formation, Annual Corporate Compliance, Registered Agent Representation, and Trademark services to your clients in all 50 states. Visit: https://CorpNet.com/partners or call 1-888-449-2638. https://corpnet.com

Finagraph’s CashFlowTool exists to eliminate cash flow as a reason businesses fail. focus on what matters most – insights that drive better business decisions for your clients. Visit https://www.cashflowtool.com/accountants

Find out more and register here: http://accountingvcon.com

Fun money-making tips for your accounting business and Monday deadline

Do you want money-making tips for your accounting business from two of the most generous thought leaders in the profession, Michelle Long and Sandi Leyva?

Would you like to find ways to work less, serve your clients better, and be more successful, all at the same time?

Could you use some fun right now?

You are invited to the 2018 Ultimate Accounting vCon on May 10-11, 2018. In its 7th year with a > 90% “highly-recommended” approval rating, the vCon is held online in the comfort of your own home or office via webinar and community software.

“..Far surpassed any expectations I had! So informative & applicable!” Leah Welsh | “vCon set a new standard…” Mathew Heggem | “Just what I needed to restart my bookkeeping business and dream much bigger.” Alexa Gregory

12 hours CPE. Save 50% off the $199 price until Monday, April 30, 2018:

Find out more and register here: https://accountingvcon.com

Questions? Email support@sandismith.com.

To your success,
Michelle

P.S. Please thank our sponsors:

Intuit helps small businesses and accounting professionals save time managing their business finances so they can spend time doing what they love: growing their businesses. http://accountants.intuit.com/

With quality business insurance from Allstate, you can help protect and build a business your clients rely on. Learn more about your risks and get a 3-minute quote today at Small Business resource Center. http://iprotectsmallbiz.com/accountants-accelerator/

Join the CorpNet Partner Program and provide Entity Formation, Annual Corporate Compliance, Registered Agent Representation, and Trademark services to your clients in all 50 states. Visit: https://CorpNet.com/partners or call 1-888-449-2638. https://corpnet.com

Finagraph’s CashFlowTool exists to eliminate cash flow as a reason businesses fail. focus on what matters most – insights that drive better business decisions for your clients. Visit https://www.cashflowtool.com/accountants

Intuit’s Average Billing Rate Survey 2018 — We Need Your Help for Results

I know it is a busy time of year, but we need your help.  Take a 10-15 minute break to complete the 2018 Intuit Average Billing Rate Survey.  This is a survey of accountants, bookkeepers, consultants, tax pros and other accounting professionals who work with multiple clients (from anywhere in the world).  The more replies, the better the results — Please help! 

Survey Link:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2018ratesurvey 

There are questions about average billing rates (both hourly and fixed), billing practices, firm size, location and more.  Here’s a few blog posts with results from the 2016 Billing Rate Survey.

I know you’ll want to see meaningful results from the 2018 survey so we need your help to get more replies!  Please take a few minutes to complete the survey yourself and then share the survey link with your co-workers, peers, on social media, etc.  

Here’s the link to the survey again:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2018ratesurvey

The results are aggregated and anonymous.  IF you want the initial survey results sent to you first, there is a place for you to opt-in and provide your email address.  It is NOT required to provide your email address. 

I know you’re busy, but please take a break & complete the survey! 

Thanks for your help!

Join us for the Ultimate Annual vCon next week

Last chance to sign up for the Ultimate Accounting vCon; it starts next week!

Count on practical, grow-your-business advice plus great how-to sessions on all your favorite software and some you may not know about yet. This virtual event in its 6th year is hosted by two award-winning accounting industry thought leaders, Michelle Long and Sandi Smith Leyva.

Here are 10 reasons to attend:

Topics: Powerful growth-focused sessions on practice management, technology, enhancing your value, taking your business to the next level, and re-energizing your passion.

CPE: 12 hours CPE

Peers: Make new virtual friends, learn what they’ve implemented, and forge new profitable partnerships.

Location: Your own comfy office chair! This event is virtual: no travel costs and no airport hassles.

ROI: You’ll get your return on investment dozens of times over.

Women: Please support the ONLY all-women produced and hosted event in the accounting industry.

Award-winning: This event has won a Stevie award.

Tech: We love how active you are on our chat board, in our community portal, and on the webinars. No one will know whether you are really shy in person or not!

Dates: September 21-22, 2017, giving you plenty of time to implement all your new ideas before next year’s tax season.

Testimonials: “..Far surpassed any expectations I had! So informative & applicable!” Leah Welsh | “vCon set a new standard…” Mathew Heggem | “Just what I needed to restart my bookkeeping business and dream much bigger.” Alexa Gregory | More: https://accountingvcon.com/testimonials/

Register now and save 10% off the $199 full price: http://accountingvcon.com/

Our vcon Sponsors:

Intuit helps small businesses and accounting professionals save time managing their business finances so they can spend time doing what they love: growing their businesses. http://accountants.intuit.com/

Flight is Finagraph’s newest tool for accounting professionals. Flight automatically keeps businesses and their stakeholders updated on critical info. Visit http://www.getflight.com

Built with security and ease of use, Citrix ShareFile enables you to share accounting files with colleagues and clients on any device, anytime, anywhere. Visit https://www.sharefile.com/

ScanWriter saves hours of manual data entry from any document into QuickBooks Desktop and Online and is making accountants a lot of money in their practices. Visit http://solutions.personable.com/scanwriter_overview_Quickbooks/

Get fresh ideas on how to improve your profitability and increase your value in your accounting business

Just a quick note to let you know that Sandi Leyva and I are hosting a complimentary webinar on August 10, 2017 and you are invited.  Rev up your summer with an energetic session full of success tips just for accountants.

“Michelle and Sandi’s 7 Hottest Tips to Fire Up Your Accounting Profits”

Thursday, August 10, 2017 at Noon Pacific, 1PM Mountain, 2PM Central, 3PM Eastern

Allow 1 hour, spaces are limited

Earn 1 hour CPE

Find out more and sign up here:   https://accountingvcon.com/7-hottest-tips/

The 2017 Ultimate Accounting vCon is 60% off until tomorrow, July 7

The vCon Is Back for 2017!

Sandi Leyva and I are teaming up for the sixth time to host the Ultimate Accounting vCon on September 21-22, 2017.  You can count on practical, grow-your-business advice plus great how-to sessions on all your favorite software and some you may not know about yet.  Our all-new theme is Enhancing Your Value.

Why attend this 2-day award-winning virtual conference run by two women named by CPA Practice Advisor as one of the Most Powerful Women in Accounting? Here are 10 reasons:

Topics: Powerful growth-focused sessions on practice management, communicating your value and earning what you’re worth, how to make more while working less, how to monetize your online presence through social media, how to re-energize your passion, and how to leverage your accounting practice.

ROI: You’ll get your return on investment dozens of times over.

CPE: 12 hours CPE (works out to $6.59 per CPE hour – a really great deal)

Peers: Make new virtual friends, learn what they’ve implemented, and forge new profitable partnerships.

Location: Your own comfy office chair! This event is virtual: no travel costs, no airport hassles, and no strange hotel beds.

Women: This conference is the ONLY all-women produced and hosted event in the accounting industry. If you’re tired of seeing men on the stage and running events, support us!

Award-winning: This event has won a Stevie award

Tech: We love how active you are on our chat board, in our community portal, and on the webinars. No one will know whether you are really shy in person or not!

Dates: September 21-22, 2017, giving you plenty of time to implement all your new ideas before next year’s tax season.

Testimonials: “Hands down the best conference for small business accountants. Add in the price, and it is a no brainer.” Amy Parker Cook | “..Far surpassed any expectations I had! So informative & applicable!” Leah Welsh | “vCon set a new standard…” Mathew Heggem | “Just what I needed to restart my bookkeeping business and dream much bigger.” Alexa Gregory | “This is information that is not widely available….” Melissa Burton | More: https://accountingvcon.com/testimonials/

Register now and save 60% off the $199 full price: http://accountingvcon.com/

See you at the vcon!

To your success,
Michelle

P.S. Register now, there won’t be another email to remind you of tomorrow’s July 7 deadline: http://accountingvcon.com/

Billing Methods, Policies, Procedures and Write offs for Accountants & Bookkeepers from Intuit’s Average Billing Rates Survey

How do your billing policies and procedures compare with other accountants and bookkeepers?  Should you implement changes to help improve your firm’s efficiency and operations?  Let’s examine more results from Intuit’s Billing Rate Survey.

Billing Methods by Service

As noted in the previous article with the initial survey results, “34% of accounting professionals expect to increase their fixed fee billing in the next 3 years and it is higher among Certified ProAdvisors.”  In looking at the details of billing methods for various services, there are a few things to note:

  • Fixed fee and value pricing is more common for monthly accounting/bookkeeping/write-up work (57%), payroll (57%) and tax preparation (68%).
  • For catch-up accounting/bookkeeping (i.e. many months at a time), 61% use hourly billing. However, I think fixed fee or value pricing should be used instead of hourly billing for catch-up work.  When using QuickBooks Online it is easy to import bank and credit card activity (via a .qbo, .qfx, .ofx or .csv file), set up bank rules and process a year or more of transactions in a fraction of the time previously required.  Check with the bank or credit card company to download transactions older than 90 days.  If you can only get PDF bank statements, there are tools available to convert the PDF into a file which can be imported into QuickBooks.  (Check out the QB Power Hour archives for recordings on this topic.)  With this ability to get many months of transactions processed in a fraction of the time, hourly billing just doesn’t make sense (unless you want to make less money).  

Billing Policies and Procedures

It’s interesting to see the billing policies and procedures of accounting professionals and to compare the results for different groups.  For example, ProAdvisors and those with more of a focus on QuickBooks Online are more likely to:

  • email invoices
  • accept credit cards
  • allow clients to pay online
  • set up recurring charges
  • collect a retainer or deposit
  • use an engagement letter

ProAdvisors and firms with an online focus are implementing technology and automation features in their firms’ billing practices.  QuickBooks Online makes it easy to automate recurring sales receipts or invoices (which can be automatically emailed too) for monthly accounting and/or payroll services.  The recurring transactions in QuickBooks Online are truly automatic – there is no need to login or do anything.

Then, with QuickBooks Payments, clients can pay online and it is automatically recorded in QuickBooks (along with any credit card fees associated with the payment).  Or better yet, set up recurring Sales Receipts to automatically process the payment from the client’s bank or credit card (with their permission and signed authorization form).   This is a great opportunity for savvy accountants to save valuable time by automating your billing and collection procedures.

Additionally, it is interesting to note that only 51% of the QuickBooks Online only users report that their employees track their time (64% total).  As more accountants implement fixed fee or value pricing, many are no longer tracking their time.  With the automation and time saving features of QuickBooks Online and other technology, hourly billing often doesn’t make sense anymore.

Reducing Fees (Write offs)

This area of the survey results revealed some startling results for me – 75% reported that they have reduced the total fee without the client asking!  How often does an attorney, plumber, electrician, or any other service provider charge you less without you saying anything about it?

As accounting professionals, we need to realize the value of the services we provide.  While it may be ‘easy’ for us, it isn’t for our clients!  You probably have years of education, training and experience which is valuable!  We shouldn’t undermine our own prices!

Another interesting result – 51% reported that a client has objected to the total fee.  I would surmise this occurs when the accounting professionals is using hourly billing.  Switching to fixed fee or value pricing should reduce client objections since they would know the total price before the work begins (or at least a price range).  Plus, most of the accounting professionals (82%) subsequently reduce the fee when the client objects.  Reducing fees isn’t a good practice and most of us would probably like to avoid it.  We should strive to do a better job communicating with clients about the fees upfront.  Using an engagement letter would help clarify the services provided and associated fee.  As shown in the chart above, only 65% reported using an engagement letter with most or all of their clients.

Did you identify opportunities for changes to your firm’s billing methods, policies or procedures?  Have you automated your billing process yet?  Now is a great time to start implementing changes to your billing.  If you want to continue learning more about QuickBooks, join the ProAdvisor Program (for accountants and bookkeepers working with multiple clients – it is free for QuickBooks Online training, support and certification) and join me for QB Power Hour webinars (free).

NOTE:  This was originally posted on Intuit’s Firm of the Future website.

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