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Why is there a need to negotiate fees with Accountants?

May 14, 2019

Price is what you pay and value is what you receive in return.

 

Let’s say you see a book on How to Achieve Financial Wealth in a shop that costs $50 and it’s only 20 pages long – would this be worth paying $50?

 

On the face of it, most likely not.

 

Regardless of the price, let’s say you bought the book and after reading it and you put in place the ideas in the book which results in you being a multi-millionaire within a year – now would the book be worth $50?

 

The cost of the book to you was $50 – the value it provided you with was worth millions!

This is the difference between price and value.

 

So, coming back to the accounting world, I’m often surprised at some clients who want to negotiate fees FIRST, before even knowing or understanding what the accountant can do for them.

 

Using another analogy, when you visit your doctor, how often do you negotiate their fees before the consultation?  I would guess – NEVER!

 

Why?  Because we are dealing with your health here – what ‘price’ would you place on your health?

 

If the doctor provided you with sound medical advice that helped you to live a healthier life – you would not be concerned with how much you had to pay for this.

 

The financial health of your business is as important as your own personal health – in fact, in many cases, when a business is not performing well, it ends up taking a toll on the health of the owner.

 

By no means am I suggesting you should not review or discuss the accountant’s fees – i.e. don’t just blindly accept what is offered to you.

 

However, before talking about fees, you as the business owner must satisfy yourself that this is the right accountant for you and your business.

 

The process of finding the right accountant for you and the business could mean having many meetings with many accountants first. 

 

And there’s nothing wrong with this – in fact, I highly support you look around and speak with different accountants in order to understand what they can do for you and how they can make a difference to the business.

 

After you’ve found an accountant who is the right fit for your business, then by all means discuss fees.

 

And if indeed it is the right accountant for you – then you need to have full faith and trust in this accountant and share all your business concerns and issues with them – just as you would when seeing your doctor.

 

I’ve written about how today’s accountant is not just a bean counter any more.

 

Accountants today are not only a wealth of knowledge; they are also extremely well connected in the business community.  So, if there is an issue or business concern that the accountant is not familiar with, he/she will most likely know someone who is and will be able to connect you with them.

 

Now, in many cases, the issue of fees is not the fees themselves – it could be to do with how they are paid.

 

There are many kinds of arrangements you can work out with an accountant and they all have their place.

 

Depending on your business situation and specific accounting needs, you’ll need to find the arrangement that will work best for you.

 

For example:

  • Monthly retainer

  • Hourly rate

  • Fixed fee

How fees are paid can be negotiated as long as it makes sense for both business owner and the accountant.

 

Just like your physical health, your financial health is not a commodity – sound financial health is dependent upon many factors.  Knowing those factors is the job of the accountant.

 

Finally, the most important driver in a truly successful client/accountant relationship is trust – which can only be built over time, transparency on both sides and through demonstrated results.

 

Aperture Accounting, 1300 273 788

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