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How we Put a Price on CrunchBoards and our Advisory Services
How to price CrunchBoards and advisory service is one of the top three questions that we get asked by accountants. But that question isn’t just asking us for our opinion, it’s really asking, how are other firms doing this?! We love you for asking and we love our clients for sharing what is working for them. Rebecca Mihalic and James Solomons are Directors of Aptus Accounting and Advisory and here Rebecca shares some insight into their pricing strategy.
We use CrunchBoards on a daily basis in our firm (Aptus Accounting & Advisory) and being able to do this has helped us sell the product. It’s so easy when you know it inside out. You can rave about the benefits because you are experiencing them yourself. We don’t recommend any software to our clients that we don’t use or we are not experts in because then we won’t be able to share our knowledge with our clients.
We love guinea pigs
To be able to price it effectively we felt that we had to give it away to our first 3 clients. Bingo, these were our guinea pigs. You wont’ get it right at the start but it’s all part of the learning curve. Once you are really confident and ready to price it, stop and remember, it is not tax and compliance! This is not a “one off” transaction. Communicate with the client that this is ongoing monitoring, which is the most powerful part you are offering them. Basically, you are being paid to look over your client’s shoulder. It’s an insurance policy for them that they are in safe hands.
Once the Alerts come through and you are in contact with that client the money side can fall away. Often a client once set up, they can come back to you constantly asking for more “We need to update our budget. Can you run this scenario” etc. Charge them a fee to tweak it, then you become the trusted advisor and the one there to help them make those decisions. If you are helping them make money, then they will continue to pay for that!
I had a fee resisting client who in the past questioned $2000/year. Thanks to the monitoring program we have put them on with CrunchBoards they are now happy to pay $12000/year. That is massive growth for us but it is because they experience the value. We started by turning on CrunchBoards in the background. We didn’t need to inform the client to this, we could see their were cash issues so we started monitoring them in the background for our own peace of mind. We had Alerts coming through for cash flow problems and that was because they were not hitting the targets we had previously talked about. When the client started contacting us mentioning they were struggling to pay their tax bills we were more than ready to give them the help that they needed to get them through to the next stage. At this point we explained the nature of these Alerts and how we could notify them of future issues and nip them in the bud. The value of CrunchBoards at this point was so clear to them that it became complete common-sense to get us involved in an advisory capacity.
He is now thrilled to know his cash flow and be able to do scenario planning in real time: “what happens if I lay off this staff member? What happens if I do that extra project? What happens if I buy that other office?” These are all questions we can answer together because the information is on hand and fact-based.
Knock knock, who’s there?
If a client only pays you a couple of hundred dollars a month for compliance work and uses your services on an ad-hoc basic; you cannot expect them to see you as their advisors. Let alone to understand why they need you. We recommend a drip feed approach of constantly reminding your clients what you can do for them – bang that door down. As in the case study above, at some stage if you have been in the background saying you can do it, they eventually say yes because they will see the need for it.
Show them what CrunchBoards can do
At Aptus we don’t need to take time to prepare a forecast for our larger clients because we can just grab live data via CrunchBoards and Xero to create a forecast in minutes. Then the next time we meet with them we can show them what we predict and where we can take them this year, based on last year. “Would you like us to save/make you an extra $30,000? Do you want to save on tax? Or what if you do this here?”
So when we put the forecast in front of them, we’re hoping to impress them, and to show them that they can see for themselves where they are going. When the client sees what we can do with CrunchBoards, they are more than happy to pay for the added value of having us as advisors.