Blog|4 min

Perfecting Packages and Options With Digital Tech Stacks

Jason Blumer
Blumer & Associates, CPAs

In a recent BILL webinar, we dove into the topic of Perfecting Packages and Options with Digital Tech Stacks. This important topic is part of the Driving Digital Transformation series that BILL is leading this year.

This article will highlight some key aspects we touched on in the live webinar. We took a deep dive into digital tech stacks in this webinar and how we could apply them to our pricing packages. A tech stack can truly be a ‘shiny object’ for many firm entrepreneurs leading them astray to find the latest and greatest new thing to play with. So we need to debunk some myths around building tech stacks at the beginning of this article.

Here are a few myths:

  • It’s the latest and greatest on the market. Not so. We don’t choose technology for our firms simply because it is new. We choose the tools we need to deliver the services we have offered to our market. Don’t get caught up in what’s new and looks cool. This can distract you as an owner, as well as your team.  

  • It’s a piece of software you really love and want to try out. You may or may not necessarily love the tools that get the job done. And that’s the point—we are trying to leverage the efficiency that cloud products bring. Loving the software is a secondary benefit, but the utility of the tool is our highest reason to choose it.

  • It’s a tool your team is familiar with. Many tools are not necessarily known to us when we first see them (and often, clients will bring new tools into your firm that you may not have heard of). A solid tool that we take time to put in our digital tech stacks is one we have researched, let the team check out and verify, and then rolled out training for the team to use it efficiently.

  • It’s a tool your clients are familiar with. Often, advisory firms are bringing tools to the client, so the client may never have heard of the tools. This doesn’t mean they are not valuable to the client! So don’t only offer tools to clients they’ve heard of. Offer the training necessary to make the tools valuable to your client.

  • You can copy another firm’s tech stack to discover yours. Tech stacks support each firm’s mission in serving clients specifically. So you can’t make another firm’s tech stack your tech stack. Focus on what you do best and the tools you need to be successful. Then, carefully choose the tools that support your firm’s goals.

Considering Your Tech Stack

The phrase “tech stack” is fairly new in our profession. So it’s necessary to define the 4 types of tech stacks that are important for firms to be aware of and to manage. There are 2 operational tech stacks and 2 service tech stacks:

1. Workflow Operational Tools

  • All client scope should be contracted in writing and populated into some type of workflow system (use a simple spreadsheet if you are a smaller firm). Workflow tools allow a firm to serve with valuable consistency.

  • Larger firms can employ a Project Manager to make sure all client work is populated in the system. A Project Manager is an underutilized role in firms—a PM can champion the Workflow tools and keep them humming. This is your firm’s engine!

2. Core Service Tools

  • These tools make up 80 to 85% of your firm’s revenue production. These are your moneymakers. Be careful how often you swap these in and out—your team needs to know these tools very well.

  • You can use these as ‘requirements’ for your clients to adopt these tools when/if they become clients. This sets you apart and keeps your team from adopting all kinds of strange tools that any client can bring.

3. Secondary Financial Service Tools

  • These are tools you’ll use from time to time to produce revenue, yet they may not be part of your core services. Tools like forecasting, cash flow management, advisory and reporting, and metrics reporting tools could fit here.

  • These may not be standardized when you use them, so they may fall on the owner’s plate to deliver. These tools take a bit longer to learn, so often the owner finds themself doing a lot of training with the team in order to use them effectively.

4. Marketing & Sales Operational Tools

  • Outreach to your market is now part of a suite of tools firms should manage. Marketing tools like social media posting, lead & sales pipeline tracking, proposal software, and video and content writing tools could fit here.

  • These could be distractions (though necessary) for your firm, so roll these in slowly and only when other tech stacks are known.

Rolling Tech Stacks Into Your Firm’s Pricing Options

When you have a solid set of tech stack tools, then you make those tools part of your service offering to clients. This is where tech stack management turns into advisory when you deploy products like BILL, build the related processes to digitize your client’s financial department, and train them on the product. Here is an example of what pricing options might look like for an annual contract pitched to a new client:

Under each option above, I’ve displayed an idea of what you could price that service for on an annual basis. If you total each column, then divide by 12 you’ll get the monthly price at the bottom. In our firm, we will only accept 12-month contracts with our clients, and we draft our prices on the 1st of each month. This pricing table above is an example of how we might go about pricing a new client.

One important aspect of the pricing above is to begin selling the services of onboarding, process building, software training, and adding in the related software costs. Your price may be higher or lower than what I’ve listed in the example, but the main point is that you provide a much greater level of value than just accounting and taxes. It’s important that we include all of our value in our pricing options to our clients. If you need more information on pricing or tech stacks, feel free to reach out to us at Thriveal at info@thriveal.com. We’re here to help!


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