Wrong way to raise fees

Yes, you should be thinking about raising your fees. But, the CPAs in a recent Accounting Today article, On the Rise: Hiking Fees for Next Season?, approach the topic in entirely the wrong way.

As my business grows, I expect the cost of getting my taxes done to increase. I’m no more happy about paying someone to do my taxes than I am about sending my hard-earned money to the government. However, feeling confident I’m making the best of the situation is worth a lot to me.

So why am I so down on these CPAs?

They talk about their operating costs increasing due to employee benefits and new filing requirements. One CPA notes their clients get raises, so they should to. Not one of the CPAs talks about the benefits to their clients. Not one.

For most clients, the potential repercussions of not getting their taxes right escalates as the tax code becomes ever more daunting. For these clients, the value of having a trusted tax adviser grows even faster than the CPA’s costs of production for preparing ever more complex tax returns. Clients aren’t buying a tax return; they’re paying to avoid potentially expensive and distracting repercussions. I’m happy to pay my CPA more when I get more value. In the grand scheme of things, I’m better off.

My read: CPAs that think in terms of production costs rather than client value are leaving money on the table and causing long-term damage to their industry. They have the wrong frame-of-reference. They see their business through a production lens rather than through a value lens and the eyes of their clients.