A while back I held a Lunch & Learn presentation at our office in Knoxville, relating to controlling accounting costs. I know…I bet you didn’t know that was possible! Well, this is the 21st century, and it is definitely possible.
A Brief History of Traditional Professional Service Billing Practices
For many years, financial professionals have billed by the hour. Someone might charge $200 per hour for however long it takes to get it done. But, what does this method of billing lack? It certainly lacks any incentive to be efficient or effective in achieving the result. If you’re going to pay me $200 per hour, then what is my incentive to get to the end result quickly and without sacrificing quality for preparing, let’s say, a tax return? Not much. The only risk I run if I take my sweet time to prepare the tax return is that you are unhappy with a high bill. Your risk in being billed in this manner is that I could be inefficient and cause your accounting fees to rise as a result of my inefficiency or lack of urgency, either of which is or should be unacceptable. Acceptable use for this method of billing would include when you are being represented by a professional in front of a government body (think IRS) or for face-to-face meeting time. There are other similar services, but these are the two most common examples of a service that cannot readily be quantified and would be billed by the hour.