Pricing for accountancy firm services can feel very confusing to your prospect.
It’s equally confusing to you the accountant about how much to share. There’s conflicting advice, and practice, when it comes to putting prices on your website.
Do you share exact numbers or amounts? Do you put packages? “From” amounts? Ranges? Examples?
There are many options to consider (we’ve discussed 10 pricing options here) but the more this question comes up, the more it’s clear there is one core issue for the prospect, and one core issue for you the accountant.
Your prospect doesn’t understand how accountancy firm services are priced.
More than an exact number, what your prospect really needs (and wants) to know is how your accountancy firm services are priced.
- They have fear and confusion about this, and how it affects their business.
- They’re worried accountants are making up prices based on how big their company is (ie they will get charged more if it looks like they have more money).
- They don’t understand how accountancy firm services are priced, because everyone seems to do it differently.
- They can’t tell you a ‘budget’ amount for accounting, because they have no idea how to come up with it.
- They’ve had poor experiences with another accountant (or multiple accountants) who have picked a number out of the air, or used a price based on another type of business.
- They’ve been given a price by an accountant (even by you, perhaps) which was then discounted for no clear reason except to get the business. This adds to their confusion about how pricing is determined and on what basis it is changed.
You know this is what their concern is. That’s part of why you’ve resisted putting exact prices on your site – you know how important it is that they get the right price, but the right price can be different for everybody.
How do you help them understand what the price could be, without either sending them running away in horror (“it’s too much!”) or building false expectations (“you said it would only be….?”).
This leads us nicely to the core problem that you face.
You don’t understand (or explain) how your own accountancy firm services are priced.
When you identify an issue with pricing on your website, what’s really going on is that you want to….
- Help your prospect understand their proposal
- Stand out and be different
- Figure out what is best to help your buyer make a decision faster
- Save yourself and the team time answering the same questions over and over
- Qualify your prospects so you get only the best ones (not those who aren’t a fit and never will be)
Telling the prospect exactly what they will (or might) pay is not the answer you’re looking for.
It’s not even the answer the prospect is looking for.
Think about the way you approach a meeting with a prospect. Almost every accountant I know says, “Get me in front of a good lead and I will usually get the business. My problem is getting the lead in the first place.”
What you’re saying there is, when I’m in front of a prospect, I can help them…
- Share their real problems in the business (and in life)
- Understand what accountancy services are going to help solve those problems
- Be clear about our approach to delivering those services
- Believe I know what i’m talking about
- See the value of those services (and trust me to deliver them well)
So here’s the big kicker.
This is exactly what your website needs to do, instead of you doing it one to one, every time.
Your website needs to….
- Show that you understand the very real problems they face (specific problems, not just vague ‘cash flow’ or ‘build your business’ problems)
- Give them an opportunity to share their real problems with you (in a form, a questionnaire, a community group, an email).
- Be clear about your unique approach to delivering services – your process, your “how we do things”, your Way.
- Help explain how the accountancy services you offer – and the way you offer them – will help solve those specific problems they have.
- Convince them that you know what you’re talking about (and so does the whole team).
- Begin showing the value of the services you provide (with stories from real people who have seen the value, or explanations about what could happen if they don’t get those services, etc).
And most importantly, the culmination of all of these things….
- Show a clear, specific methodology towards pricing that brings all of that together.
A methodology means “when we price accounting services, we do it this way”.
You charge for bookkeeping based on an average number of transactions. You charge for payroll based on number of employees, how often payroll is run. You charge for management reports based on how often they get the reports and what kind of meeting (in person or online). Whatever you charge for, you have a method for coming up with it.
You have to have a pricing methodology.
You can’t simply pick a number out of the air, or base it on other clients. If you do that, you’re tapping into all their fears, and it’s less likely they will sign the proposal (or be an amazing client, working with you and trusting you).
Your prospect wants you to have a reason – a specific, clear, easy to understand reason – for what you charge, and why.
When you do that on your website, it doesn’t matter that they don’t get a specific number (“from £200/month” or “Gold/silver/bronze” etc).
It doesn’t matter because they have begun to trust you. They have understood that you ‘get’ them and their problems. They like you and believe you and the team may be able to help.
And they understand the methodology for pricing which addresses and dispels every one of their fears.
Remember some of the fears we talked about above?
- They have fear and confusion about the cost of accounting services, and how it affects their business. Now, with what you’ve shared, they don’t have to be afraid or confused because you’ve cleared it all up. You’ve pulled back the curtain and said “let’s look at the inner workings, so you don’t feel stupid or as if we’re taking advantage.”
- They’re worried accountants are making up prices based on how big their company is (ie they will get charged more if it looks like they have more money). Now they know they only get charged more if their company is bigger, or their transactions increase, or they hire more people. It makes sense. You’re not making this up – you’re simply following the methodology you described at the beginning.
- They don’t understand how accountancy firm services are priced, because everyone seems to do it differently. You may do it differently, but yours make sense to them now. They can say “I understand how the monthly price for all my accounting work is calculated.”
- They can’t tell you a ‘budget’ amount for accounting, because they have no idea how to come up with it. They can work with you on a budget for their accounting numbers now, because they know it’s safe to do so. They won’t say “my budget is 500 per month” and suddenly discover the proposal is for 499 a month. It might come out at 1600 a month, and then they have to decide what to keep and what not to.
- They’ve had poor experiences with another accountant (or multiple accountants) who have picked a number out of the air, or used a price based on another type of business. No longer is the number picked at random. No longer do they have to fear you’re comparing them to someone else. It’s their transactions, their numbers, their size, their business – unique to them.
- They’ve been given a price by an accountant (even by you, perhaps) which was then discounted for no clear reason except to get the business. This adds to their confusion about how pricing is determined and on what basis it is changed. You never have to discount again, because if the price is too high, your question is simply, “Okay, no problem – what do you want to remove?” They are in full control of the pricing because they can pick what is worth saving them time, and what they want to do themselves.
Share your process, not your pricing
If you’re struggling with how and what prices to put on your website, it’s for one of two reasons:
1. You don’t have a methodology for pricing (so you need to sort that out first)
2. You have a methodology, but it’s not explained clearly on your site
If it’s item number 1, sort that out first. We recommend looking at the GoProposal pricing system – it’s not just a pretty proposal document, it’s a pricing methodology. (It’s all built in with recommendations from the prices used by high performing firms.)
If it’s item number 2, you can deliver this in several ways on your website:
1. How we work page
Your prospects want to know the overall picture. What is your approach to accounting? How are you different from other firms? What niche area(s) do you serve? Here, you want to bring in branding: your values, the reason and way you do accounting. You can also share a little about what happens next in terms of the proposal.
Example: How We Work (Raedan)
Example: How We Help (Fitness CPA)
2. Onboarding process
Now they want specifics. What happens first? What happens next? Having a visual representation of the process – or your onboarding – helps them grasp very quickly what happens when. It builds trust, because then you deliver on your process.
Example: Onboarding visual image (Raedan)
3. Blog posts on pricing questions
Following the “They Ask You Answer” principle, write blog posts on the questions you get about pricing. Don’t be afraid to address this straight up. You don’t have to tell them exactly what the number will be – you can answer it by saying, “That’s a great question. At its heart is this issue, and here’s how we address it.”
Example: When to hire an accountant (Avalon)
4. Video explaining your approach
This is more rare (simply because most accountants avoid video), but this is simply another format to what we’ve looked at already – a personal, visual way for them to build trust with you before they even have a meeting. Talk about how you work, what the process is, and answer a few of their pricing questions!
We’d show you examples, but there aren’t many out there. Get one done and send it in!
Oh – a word of warning. As you begin to address pricing in this very transparent way, you will need to say no more.
No to discounts.
No to the wrong sort of client (even though they’re a nice person).
No to rushing a job through because the client is in a hurry and didn’t do things on time.
The effect of this will be brilliant – you’ll get the right sort of client, who trusts you and is willing to do things your way, and they’ll pay you the full value of the good work you deliver.
Look forward to hearing how all this revolutionises your conversations with prospects, and makes your selling process so much easier.