Paul Barnes is the Managing Director of My Accountancy Place, a Manchester-based firm whose mission is to make digital agencies’ financial performance more profitable and predictable.
His firm uses GoProposal, a software based on a value and fixed pricing structure. We know the idea of pricing can seem like a scary topic, so we had a chat with Paul about the benefits of such a model and how to implement it.
Receipt Bank: Before you implemented your current pricing structure, what was your model?
Paul Barnes: It has always been fixed fees based on value for the client, but it used to be built through a spreadsheet model that I built myself, until GoProposal came along.
RB: Why did you choose to change your pricing structure?
PB: To create a better experience for the client, with more transparency and better information to help them make the right decisions about what they need.
RB: Were there any difficulties in the transition? Where should you start?
PB: Start by building a list of everything you would want access to if you were a small business owner growing a business and buying the services of an accountancy firm. The difficulty comes when you don’t make the move, because it only gets harder to transition an existing client the longer you leave it. You can’t please everyone, so you need to accept that there will be some casualties, but remember that you are doing what is right for you and your best clients.
RB: How did you decide on how to price each service?
PB: Based on logic, fairness and transparency. If I was a business owner buying accountancy services, I would understand that it makes sense to price payroll based on the number of employees I have, bookkeeping based on number of transactions, etc.
RB: What benefits have you seen from the pricing structure?
PB: It builds a lot of trust when you’re able to create a proposal right in front of a client, and usually ends in an outcome where you are both happy and clear to move forward.
RB: What are the common mistakes you see other firms making when implementing a new pricing structure?
PB: Not doing the difficult work face-to-face – they expect to be able to send emails out and have clients just accept these new ways of working without meeting up to explain it.
RB: How has tech made moving away from time sheets necessary?
PB: I don’t believe that moving away from timesheets is necessary. They’re not essential if you are not pricing based on time spent, but you might still choose to do timesheets to measure profitability internally.
RB: What have you discovered in productising this model?
PB: In world where people are used to having the wool pulled over their eyes and being let down, you will stand out and build trust by building a model that is easy to follow.