As Self Assessment season approaches, it’s important to consider how you'll price this essential service for your clients. In a recent webinar, FreeAgent’s Gem Malek (Practice Partnerships Consultant) chatted to Suzannah Whelan MICB PM.Dip (Sinclair Whelan Bookkeeping) and Christopher Deacon FCCA (Director at Vision Accounting) about implementing the right pricing strategy for the upcoming Self Assessment season. Here are their six top tips.
Both Chris and Suzannah spoke of the benefits and even the need to go for bespoke pricing for each of your clients. Every client has different needs, so ensure you price each client’s service accordingly.
Chris says, “It isn’t just a case of ‘all our tax returns are £X’. Every client is so fundamentally different and their demands are so varied.” You need to learn about your client’s needs and their business to better understand what pricing will work for them and what they need from you. Suzannah says, “When you have a discovery call with a client, it’s really important to go through a checklist of questions and find out exactly what they need.”
Getting your clients educated and onboarded to software like FreeAgent helps you to start collecting information as soon as possible. Good software can automatically import your clients’ data and give them more visibility of the service they’re paying you for.
When meeting with new clients, Both Chris and Suzannah shared good experiences with the tool GoProposal to help them with both prompting questions and clearly displaying the volume of work that is involved in your service. Investing in technology can also be a brilliant way to save you time when it comes to the more menial and repetitive aspects of your business so you can provide more time and value to some clients.
Know your market
It’s essential to know where you’re pricing yourself against your competitors. Do some market research into other firms’ websites, and learn as much as possible from new clients when discussing what they might have been paying elsewhere. Chris said, “ No one’s ever going to know exactly what their competitors are charging, but you need to have that confidence in yourself that you’re in the ballpark.”
Break it down
When putting together a proposal for a client, it helps to have clear amounts marked for specific work. This will not only show your customers the value of the service that they’re getting from you, but it will help to justify the prices that you give. This is also a handy strategy to have should something change with your client’s situation and an additional piece of work is needed. You can add it more clearly to the breakdown and show the need for a price increase because of the additional service.
Put incentives into your pricing
If you don’t want to charge a small business too much for the overall service, it can be a great way to incentivise them to do some of the legwork themselves. This also encourages them to communicate with you regularly so there are no nasty surprises that crop up. Suzannah uses late fees to encourage her clients to meet certain deadlines and makes sure this is clear in her pricing and proposals. However, it works both ways - you can put in discounts for good client behaviour as well!
Keep your goals in mind
As a final note from our speakers, it’s essential to remember that your services have a value and that pricing them correctly can enable you and your practice to progress.
Chris and Suzannah both spoke of the importance of investing your time and money into developing your practice; keeping yourself and staff up to date with technology and client expectations will ensure that clients benefit from the high-quality service they are paying for. In order to invest in good tech and visits to events like Accountex, you have to ensure your pricing is right for you, not just your clients.
You can hear our experts’ thoughts in full by watching the webinar recording. Ready to talk pricing with your clients? Read our tips for communicating with confidence.