Pricing your accounting services right is one of the most challenging parts of your business as a ProAdvisor. If you are an expert, you should be paid what you are worth. Still, some people lack the confidence to ask for what they are worth or fear that their clients will leave them if they raise their rates. Working for less than you deserve is a terrible position to put yourself in.
Intuit recently announced the results of a new survey of over 1,000 accounting professionals. The survey looks at a variety of topics that are important to accounting and tax professionals such as billing rates and value pricing, as discussed in this article. Michelle Long of Long for Success and Heather Satterley of Satterley Training & Consulting helped spearhead the initiative with Intuit.
Some interesting statistics from the recent Intuit Rate Survey include:
- 54% of the people who participated in the survey are solopreneurs
- 32% had less than five employees
- 69% belonged to the paid QuickBooks ProAdvisor program
- 30% belonged to the free program – supporting only QuickBooks Online
- 59% of the participants are bookkeepers
- 35% are accountants
The more experience you have, the more you can charge. As a mentor for ProAdvisors, I often get asked what to charge. In my case, I am a CPA, an advanced certified ProAdvisor, and have over 25 years experience. The support projects that I engage in are typically more advanced projects. Bookkeeping does not typically command the same level for rates as setting up QuickBooks software. You will see this reflected in the survey. In 2003, after I completed my certifications, I was charging $95 per hour. By 2013 I had increased it to $150 per hour. Below are some recent surveys that were done to help you determine where you fit in.
Value billing is a popular billing concept which helps both the ProAdvisor and the client to know what to expect. It works really well for predictable ongoing bookkeeping, payroll, and tax returns. It does not work as well for clean up work or troubleshooting when setting up QuickBooks, and many ProAdvisors prefer to use hourly billing for these types of projects.
Bookkeepers are billing in a range of $64 to $88 per hour, and CPAs are billing in a range of $88 to $132 hour. The amount you charge can also depend on your location and how much you are comfortable charging based on your experience.
Your average billing rate can also be affected by the area you are servicing. In the chart below, for example, the study found that the lowest average prices were reported from a small rural town, at $74, and ranged up to $101 on the high end in a big city.
The Intuit Rate Survey also found that those ProAdvisors who are certified in QuickBooks Enterprise are able to charge more. These clients are growing small businesses and need a high level of expertise.
These rate surveys are fun to read and study but keep in mind you can charge whatever your client is willing to pay and is aligned with your level of expertise. These surveys supported the idea that it is worth taking the time to become certified, as this will not only give you confidence but a level of expertise that can command higher rates.
I will be sharing more at the Accountex Conference in Boston next month during my demo presentation on QuickBooks. We will be discussing how to leverage partnerships to make understanding all the options in QuickBooks much more manageable. If you are planning to attend, please stop by and see me.