Pricing models for growth

How can your firm build intentional pricing models for growth? Industry experts weigh in.

Table of contents

The traditional business model of the past is, well…a thing of the past (or at least it should be). Historically, accounting firm leaders have grown business by taking any client who walks through the door and steeping staff in compliance work and billable hours. This is growth, to some degree. But not intentional growth. 

Modern accounting firms are growing with intention. Firm leaders are removing themselves from the day-to-day to strategize growth goals and serve as true entrepreneurs. 

In this guide, industry experts provide insights for building intentional pricing models for growth.

Meet the influencers

  • Jason Blumer, CPA, Partner, Blumer & Associates CPAs and CEO & Founder of Thriveal
  • Jeff Phillips, CEO, Padgett Business Services and Co-founder, Accountingfly
  • Jina Etienne, CPA, CGMA Principal Consultant, Etienne Consulting
  • Misty Megia, CEO, Misty Megia LLC
  • Amy Franko, Founder and CEO, Amy Franko Associate

Insight 1: Adopt core growth principles 

What needs to happen so that firm leaders can focus on evolving their business model? Jason Blumer offers insight on core principles: 

  1. View growth activities as a job: There is a laundry list of tasks that come with growing a business. Improving marketing efforts; building structured, repeatable processes; and hiring qualified staff are just a few growth activities to consider. 
  2. Create “sacred” blocks of time: Healthy firm growth won’t happen if you don’t make time for planning. Partners must block time on their calendars—time dedicated to handling growth activities. Start by blocking a two-hour chunk of time each week. This time block should be considered “sacred” and used only to focus on growth tasks. 
  3. Move out of technical work: For a firm to grow, partners must transition to an entrepreneurial mindset. This means weaning themselves out of production work—like preparing financial statements and tax returns—and spending more time working on the firm rather than in it. 
  4. Manage your calendar: Service work is ultimately limited to your professional capacity—your time. Beyond that initial two-hour block, partners should manage their calendars accordingly to balance time spent on technical tasks versus visionary-driven work. 

Once firm leaders elevate to a true entrepreneurial/visionary position, they can then begin to work on a value pricing model.

Insight 2: Build a structured pricing ecosystem 

A value-based pricing model supports faster growth and scalability. According to influencer Jason Blumer, the primary principle of successful value pricing is that firms must live within a structured pricing ecosystem. This ecosystem is made up of three core parts. 

  1. Leads and preparation: This is the phase where you gauge desire for your service (qualified leads) and build faith in the value you’ve defined (preparation). This requires having deeper conversations with leads as they move through the nurture process and up to the point of assigning a value-based price. 
  2. Pricing: This signals the value created and captured. If you’ve done the work at the leads and preparation stage, pricing should be a much easier conversation because the prospect already understands the economic value you’ll deliver. 
  3. Project management and delivery: Your prospects have been converted to clients at this point. It’s the stage in the pricing ecosystem where value becomes a living reality and where you deliver the value promised during the preparation stage.
“Pricing is all about signaling the economic value you’re delivering to your clients. It’s one of the most strategic parts of leading a successful service-based business.” - Jason Blumer, CPA, CEO & Founder, Thriveal

Pricing takeaways 

Moving through the pricing ecosystem allows firms to build a repeatable pricing model. Over time, firms should evaluate the model to ensure they are pricing properly for the value they offer.

Key takeaways

  • Evolve partners’ roles away from doing everything to visionary work.
  • Develop a value pricing ecosystem

Key action items for change

  • Restructure partners’ calendars to meet regularly on strategy (that sacred block of time).
  • Map out the overall pricing ecosystem and identify steps required to create a structured, repeatable process at each point in the client journey. 
  • Define a set of ideal client characteristics to help the firm properly vet leads before moving them forward in the pricing ecosystem (preparation). 
  • Schedule regular all-staff quarterly meetings to update employees on changes to the pricing ecosystem.
The information provided on this page does not, and is not intended to constitute legal or financial advice and is for general informational purposes only. The content is provided "as-is"; no representations are made that the content is error free.