If I Started Again, The First 3 Things I Would Change Are...

I started my accounting firm way back in May 1996. I started from scratch and built up my business as a sole practitioner.

I made so many mistakes!

I often get asked advice from people who are starting up their businesses, so I thought I would share with you the first 3 things I would have done differently if I were to start it all again…


You can watch the video here.


1 - Hire The Right People


I went from 0 clients to 200 in 3 years and had a team of 13 people. I was growing crazily fast.

But I wasn’t growing profitably.

One of the biggest mistakes I made was hiring the wrong people.

I didn’t have a huge amount of money, so I tried to cut every possible corner I could, hiring college students and school leavers, rather than qualified accountants, to avoid the fees of recruitment agencies.

The problem with employing people who aren’t the best is the work is not as good, and you have to micro-manage them. I spent so much of my time in my...

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What To Do When a Client Doesn't Deliver on a Promise

I’m sure this will have happened to you at some point: a client agrees to do something, give you information in a certain format by a certain time, and they just don’t deliver.

You then have to work longer and harder to fix the problem, so should you charge the client for it?

Here are 7 things you ought to consider before you do…


You can watch the video here.


1 - How Clear Were You?


At the outset, how clear were you in your price agreement about the criteria the client had to meet? Is it crystal clear what the client has promised to do? Is it in writing?

If you weren’t clear enough, or you don’t have the conditions in writing, it becomes much more difficult to put the price up. You will get pushback, or you may even lose the client.

Make sure you are always very clear on what the client needs to do, the scope of the work and who is responsible - and get it in writing.


2 - Consequences


Were you also clear on what the...

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How To Move from Compliance to Business Advisory

Before we can look at how to make the move to advisory, we need to first ask two other questions…

‘What is advisory service, and why do we need it?’


You can watch the video here.


In our modern world, with the rise of cloud technology and artificial intelligence, we are seeing compliance work become more and more automated.

Compliance work can be done at the touch of a button, so we need to start changing our services away from simply adding up numbers and towards interpreting numbers. We need to move to advisory services.

However, everyone has different definitions of what advisory services include. For example, it could involve tax planning, technology and app advice, business advice, management reporting or consulting work.

In this blog, I’m going to refer to advisory as business advisory, meaning adding value through management reports and meeting periodically to give business advice.

I’ve come up with 7 steps that you will need to...

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7 Tips on How to Price Bookkeeping

I want to share with you 7 practical tips for how you might price bookkeeping services…


If you prefer you can watch the video here


Tip 1 - Don’t Move Straight to Value Pricing


This is a big mistake I see often.

If you try to move from hourly billing to value pricing in one quick jump you are going to fail without a doubt.

Value pricing is a difficult concept to grasp in the first place. Trying to apply it to a complex compliance service like bookkeeping is going to make it even harder.

The move to value pricing is going to be a journey, not a quick fix, so be patient.


Tip 2 - Remember It Is Valuable


You need to recognise that bookkeeping is valuable.

The perception is often that it is a low-value service, it’s just data entry. But bookkeeping can be so much more complex than that.

I know that my bookkeeper is quite expensive, but I don’t mind paying that price because I know I am getting great service. It gives me...

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How I Organise My Week With Trello

If you haven’t used Trello before, it’s an amazing piece of software. I use it daily to organise my business, plan big projects, delegate and manage my staff workflow and many other things.

I pay for the upgraded version because I love it so much, but you can get a really good version totally free.


You can watch the video I did about Trello here.


The idea of Trello is to create boards. On these boards, you can create different lists, and within each list, you can create individual cards. Below is a picture to explain what I mean… 



You can attach all sorts of useful information to each card including links, images, descriptions, checklists, labels, deadlines - there are tons of features. You can move these cards along your boards to help organise your workflows and processes.


I use a board as my Weekly Planner. On this board, the first column is a list called ‘Ideas’. If I ever think of a great idea, something I...

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Exactly How to Calculate Your Fixed Price

value pricing Jan 07, 2020

As people move away from hourly billing and move towards value pricing, the first step in the process is being able to give a fixed price.

One of the problems with hourly billing is that the client doesn’t know the price until the work has been completed. If we can give them a fixed price they will feel more confident and more likely to buy.


You can watch the video here.


Just to be clear… 

Fixed Pricing is not Value Pricing.

However, it is an important first step to have a system for coming up with a fixed price. Once you have this system in place, it is much easier to move through the steps towards value pricing.

So, how exactly do you come up with a price…


#1 - Work out the scope


For every service, there are primary scope factors.

These are factors that will determine how long the work will take. For example, the primary scope factor for payroll is likely to be the number of employees. For bookkeeping, it may well be the number...

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12 Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Accounting Firm

winning clients Dec 24, 2019

“I’m just starting an accounting / bookkeeping firm. How do I grow it? How do I win clients?”

People ask me this question a lot, so I decided to put my answer down here in this blog. I’m going to share 12 strategies that every accountant and bookkeeper should know to help build a bigger business…


You can watch the video here instead if you prefer.


1 - Referrals


This is nothing new. You should be actively seeking referrals. Make sure you have a process in place to systematically ask for referrals. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.


2 - Joint Ventures


Who else do you know that has a similar audience to you, but that you don’t compete with? It could be your local bank manager or local financial advisor. Having their clients would be great. You can start a strategic marketing alliance - you can help them, and in return, they send clients your way.


3 - Networking


You need to get out there and...

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Your Clients Want Choice, So Give Them Options

value pricing Dec 17, 2019

Every client is different. They all want different things, they value different things, and they are willing to pay you different prices.

You need to make sure you always give your clients choices - customers love choices.


You can watch the video I did on this here.


I recently bought a new car...


...it’s a Jaguar XF. I find the whole car buying process fascinating. It’s a big, important purchase. When I went onto the website to do my research I notice they gave me lots of choices.

They had three different models of the Jaguar XF. There was the Prestige which is the cheapest option. Then the R-Sport was designed for people who were more interested in the sporty extras. And finally, the Portfolio was the luxury model, it was the premium version. This one was aimed at people who wanted the highest quality and luxury.

That’s the first choice they give you. The three packages. I call this Menu Pricing. Creating a bronze, silver and gold option.


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Why Are You Failing to Achieve Your Goals?

Do you sometimes feel like you aren’t making any progress? Perhaps you’ve set yourself some goals and you never hit them? Or you aren’t making as much money as you want. Your practice isn’t growing as you want it to.

Are you feeling those frustrations?

Let me share with you my thoughts…


Do you have goals set in the first place?


Have you got a clear picture of what you are aiming for?

The reason many of us fail to progress the way we want to is because we are doing too much stuff. We don’t have a clear direction and we are constantly busy with the wrong things.

Here’s a process to help you get clarity in your mind, clarity that will help you achieve the things you want in your business or in your life.


You can watch the video here.


Think about your business and consider:


What will my business look like when it is finally done?


Think about that endpoint. What is your vision? How big do you want it to...

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How To Price Tax Returns

value pricing Dec 03, 2019

I’m guessing, if you are a CPA, accountant or Enrolled Agent, you probably prepare hundreds of tax returns a year.

If you could increase the price of these by just £100, or $100, that would multiply across and make a huge difference to your profits.

I’m going to share with you three ideas that you should be doing to get those higher prices.


You can watch the video here.


#1 - Charge different people different prices


Everyone is different. We value things differently. So give people choices.

One way of doing that is Menu Pricing.

That means creating a Bronze, Silver and Gold package of services. Think of what the Bronze, Silver and Gold version of a tax return is. You can get creative here.

You have to start by understanding what is important to different types of clients. Some clients may just want the bare minimum compliance work doing. Some may be more interested in saving tax so would prefer a premium service.

You need to have an option...

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