Key Drivers for Offshoring in the Service Industry

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Services represent a diverse group of economic activities and involve a human value add in terms of management, advisory, training etc.  Services play a key role in all economies today. According to OECD, the most rapidly growing service sectors include finance, insurance, real estate and IT services. These sectors owe their growth to many factors, chief amongst them being outsourcing or offshoring of former activities by established firms.

Offshoring and outsourcing have always been a part of corporate restructuring activities so that they can concentrate on core competencies, reduce costs and exploit specialized expertise externally. The decision to outsource alone is not enough to achieve the above objectives. The decision must be in line with overall organizational objectives and must match requirements. In order to ensure that any offshoring activity gives the results expected one must look at and ensure the following: Quality of service, profitability, productivity & risk awareness.

Quality of service of course is an intangible – hard to measure. It must therefore be derived from tangibles like appearance of the vendor facilities, equipment, personnel, communication, reliability to perform the service and, responsiveness to customer requirements. If firms are able to exploit production differentials and save on labor cost, profitability may be expected to rise. This also indicates that knowledge transfer must be efficient and conducted at a fairly reasonable cost.  The incidental costs of language, cultural, policy and legal differences must be minimized.

Changes in productivity need to be measured to be able to attribute a success quotient to the outsourcing/offshoring decision. To measure productivity, one needs to be able to assess efficiency, effectiveness, agility and innovation. The overall “time to market” must reduce in service delivery. The reduction in non-core competency work must also lead to more creativity and innovation.

There is always a risk associated with an outsourcing/offshoring decision. Prior to every outsourcing/offshoring decision, a firm must assess the associated risks and only then will the firm be able minimize the risks and improve its chances of success. Risk assessments should typically cover people and transition costs, cultural and communication risks as well as financial risks.

If the key drivers are studied / analyzed carefully and the fall out of incorrect implementation is pre-diagnosed, pit falls can be avoided and offshoring solutions can be used successfully by firms across the world.  

GKM has been successfully providing outsourcing to the accounting profession since 1999 and has worked with many NCI clients across the U.S. We also provide outsourced services to NCI’s sister firm America’s Choice Bookkeeping and Tax Service since its inception. Visit our website www.gkmtax.com for more information and call toll-free 1-844-889-3852 for a list of satisfied clients.

Karthi, Founder

Comparing Time Billing and Value Billing, Value Billing Wins

Many times I have provided services that I believed had significant value to the client, but the client complained about the fee. His value centered on how little he would have to pay for it. This is always upsetting, but this poignantly came into focus a few weeks ago.

I had a few phone calls with a client and his attorney regarding him making a potential gift of over $5 million to his children and grandchildren. The attorney recommended it, and the client wanted to get my input. He then asked me to attend a conference call with the attorney, after which the client decided to take my advice and not make the gift. When I sent the bill for two hours, the client thought I spent less time and should have billed a lower amount. I ended up sending a listing of my time, in tenths of an hour, and some preparation time between the phone calls was included. When the client reviewed the time, he suggested that some of the time was “personal” conversation and should not have been included in the billing.

My thoughts were that there was considerable value. We were talking about a $5 million transaction and the client’s thoughts were that I “cheated” him by charging inappropriately. Before I go further, this is a client that we have had for over a decade. While I brought him into the firm, I did not work directly on it but served as a sounding board and occasional consultant and basically supported the relationship. I always billed my services on a time basis. Also, at this stage of the game, I felt it was demeaning to have to account for my time, and in effect “punch a time clock.” I also felt the value of what I did was substantial, far dwarfing the billed amount. The client viewed me as a vendor that he tried to chisel into a lower price.

Partner Insights

This incident extremely upset me. Not as much for the client’s actions, but for the way I treated my pricing. At this point in my life when I consult with a client, for any matter, it is usually for a high impact or extremely important issue. I no longer get any softballs. Yet, I handle the billing on longer-term clients the way I always did, particularly with the compliance-oriented services I used to oversee. I have grown up. Business and billing models have changed. I consult with many professional firms on how to recognize the value of their services—yet I neglected this with this client and in some respects with some others where I have long-term relationships.

How I should have handled this was to have the client define the level of the services and what my involvement would be; the importance of this matter to the client; and the value to him of my counsel, advice and guidance. Then we could have set a fee for a preliminary series of phone calls, with the understanding that a project fee would be determined with the client if there was going to be further work. Thinking back, I recognize it would have been a little awkward to discuss this with the client before I did anything. But it would have been less awkward than it ended up, and less demeaning, with much less consternation on the part of the client, and much less annoyance on my part with the client and myself.

A final comment: Clients do not buy hours. They buy solutions to their problems where we successfully apply our knowledge and experience to solve their problems and deal with their concerns. If we choose to sell time, then our clients’ reactions to that should not be criticized. It is up to us to change the pricing model to reflect value (the output) rather than hours (the input). The disparity was caused by me.

So, I am pleased to admit that I am not too old to learn, not too set in my ways to recognize a better way of doing something that I have always done, not too stubborn to change or recognize I was wrong, and not too far gone to see other and apparently better ways of doing something. Hopefully, so are you.

This article was reprinted with permission from Accounting Today.

 

The Language of Accountability

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How do we know if our expectations are clear?  Many times a request is made of a team member that uses ambiguous language such as; I need this ASAP. This could mean different things to different audiences. To some it might mean right away, to others it could mean by the end of the day or even by tomorrow. By using clearer language you can avoid misunderstandings and help everyone including yourself do their job better. To help in this area try using the following acronym, S.M.A.R.T.E.R. communication.

S Specific - Have I provided an accurate detailed description of what I want and when?

M  Can this request be measured? Use a defined completion point. If you say I need you to increase revenue, that’s too broad. How much revenue and in what time frame?

A Attainable - Is the request I made by this individual doable? Is this person capable and up to the task? If not, don’t ask or ask someone who can fill the bill.

R Results Oriented - Does this request move you closer to your desired outcome? Try not to create busy tasks, use ones that move the organization closer to its goals.

T Trackable - Use benchmarks to insure you’re on the right path and making progress in set time frames. If you give someone forever guess how long it might take? Forever!!

E Ethical - Is the request legal and within your company’s rules and regulations?

R Recorded - Is there a written record or another person who knows about the request? If it was a verbal request, communicate it in writing as well.

Remember the old adage “it’s not what you say, but how you say it.” Use the above SMARTER language to communicate more effectively and in clear precise terms to get more done.

Bruce Clark, CEO
Author, NCI Effect, Explosive Client Growth Plan for Accountants and CPAs
Beyond the NCI Effect, Sales Strategies That Matter to Grow an Accounting Practice

www.ncieffect.com

Is This The Last Dance For You?

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I borrowed that line from the famous song by Michael Buble, and while listening to it I thought of all the clients we’ve helped over the last 30 years. Weather it was to build their practices or the clients we’ve helped to facilitate the secure transfer of their lives most important asset, their business. More often than not, our clients do save the last dance for us and for good reason.

Our most recent practice sale landed our client a 130% multiple on his $720,000 practice. He ended up at closing receiving a sales price of $900,000 with 90% paid in cash!

Want to know the best part (besides that amazing multiple and 90% paid in cash)? This was after having his practice listed with two separate nationally recognized accounting practice brokers over a two year period who failed to find him the right buyer for his practice.

NCI on the other hand, found several qualified buyers within weeks of receiving his listing.

While I can’t promise you the same outcome for your firm, I can promise you we will do our very best to find, prequalify, and close the sale on your terms and in your time frame.

Plus if you are a NCI client you’ll receive a discount off our standard commission rate getting you the best deal, while at the same time saving you money.

If you’re ready to two-step out the door, allow NCI to work our magic and make your last dance one that will literally having you dancing for joy.

Call today 800-338-0778 for a free no cost or obligation of the value of your practice or click here to schedule an appointment with our practice sales specialist.

Click here to attend an upcoming webinar on Succession Planning: Keys to Selling Your Practice.

Sincerely,

Bruce J. Clark, CEO
Author, NCI Effect, Explosive Client Growth Plan for Accountants and CPAs
Beyond the NCI Effect, Sales Strategies That Matter to Grow an Accounting Practice

www.ncieffect.com

Cost-Effective Medical Billing Resources for Accounting Professionals

SSK Solutions Inc. based in Redmond, WA is a full service HIPAA compliant medical billing, bookkeeping and accounting company. They have many collective decades of experience in the industry. Their professionally trained staffers use cutting edge technology to file the claims of medical practices in a timely and cost-effective manner. Founded by former Microsoft software engineers, their expertise in technology is clearly evident in the medical billing field. SSK’s advancements in this area have greatly reduced the percentage of claims that are rejected or need re-processing for their clients. Their skill and efficiency can eliminate the many mistakes often made in medical billing.

SSK Solutions offers highly customized services which meets the needs of all medical practices. Their clients include individual doctors, clinics, laboratories, and healthcare centers nationwide. If you have clients in the medical field looking to increase cash flow, control expenses and speed up reimbursements, consider contacting SSK Solutions today at 425-405-0132/www.sskbilling.com.

 

The Online Academy is Here!!

DIGITIAL MARKETING - Is your firm positioned to take full advantage of the new frontier for client acquisition? 

There are more ways to market your firm’s services than ever before, the question is how does your firm keep pace with changing technologies and become highly efficient in the digital age?

The use of your web site, digital marketing, selling skills and more are essential if you want to succeed in today’s ultra-competitive market.

Digital marketing, for the newbie, is the ability to leverage a strategic, results oriented plan of action to acquire high quality leads for your practice. 

The issue is the time required to master this critical skill, and just when you have it figured out, the whole industry changes on you.

Sounds frustrating right?

Only if you do not have access to the NCI Online Academy.

With the click of your mouse you can access all NCI’s proven training material on sales and marketing for accountants, now including our newly developed digital marketing system.

What you know and love from NCI is still readily available. Each session is broken down into short concise videos with corresponding written course material to help with selling skills, lead generation, closing skills and the entirety of our live event.

PLUS you are going to get access to our exclusive national networking solution designed for professionals. This isn't your traditional networking group. The CAUSE is a networking and coaching organization focused on giving back to local communities through charity while creating meaningful business relationships and referral sources.

And of course Digital Marketing…

How we achieved a 580% ROI on Thumbtack

Mastering Facebook and LinkedIn

The Future Of Email Marketing

Implementing Online Calendar Scheduling Across Your Firm

The MUST have Google Chrome Extensions

… And Much More!

NCI clients have been signing up in droves for the pre Academy launch, this should tell you something about its value.  Why?  Because our clients have spent thousands of dollars with us in the past to gain access to our vast reservoir of marketing and sales knowledge.  The fact that they are willing to spend more tells you all you need to know about why you too should join them if you're serious about practice growth and mastering the new age of digital marketing. 

Click here to begin your journey to a better future today.

Andrew Beaupre Sr. reviewed New Clients Inc — 5 star · I have worked with NCI for years and have found their content and support to be relevant, timely and leading-edge! Tyler is highly responsive and available to answer any and all questions which arise. NCI's seminars, web-based content, and support have enabled me to build and grow my practice to new levels on a consistent basis and are updated continuously to reflect what works in the ever-evolving marketplace of today.

Sincerely,

Bruce J. Clark, CEO and Author
NCI Effect, Explosive Client Growth Plan for Accountants and CPAs
Beyond the NCI Effect, Sales Strategies That Matter to Grow an Accounting Practice

www.ncieffect.com

Tax Season Discounts About to Expire

We still have a few dates left in May that qualify for $4,000 savings off the Client Acquisition Program.  This program has been improved with the addition of membership in NCI's new Online Academy and Digital Marketing training.  The combined aspect of old and new in terms of marketing make this program better than ever.  It still comes with NCI's exclusive $300,00 billing guarantee.  For more information, call 1-888-639-2543 to register and save.

Join us in Las Vegas, July 19th & 20th

Join us for our Practice Development Seminar to be held on July 19th and 20th at the Hampton Inn Tropicana Las Vegas. Save $500 by registering June 19th!

At the seminar you will learn NCI’s guaranteed, time-tested marketing methods to grow an accounting firm. This marketing approach has been developed over 30 years and has created more success and growth in the small business accounting and tax industry than any other by far.

Sales and marketing skills are essential if you expect to succeed in today’s marketplace. NCI has trained more CPAs, accountants, and EAs than any other marketing firm and there’s good reason why: because what we teach works.

Over the past two years, we’ve been building our own accounting firm in southern New Jersey using these very same techniques. We recently celebrated our second year in business on November 1st. We have reached $300,000 in annualized billings and we’re still growing every day. What we’ve learned during this process is now being shared with all our seminar attendees, making this two day live event better than ever before. More specifically, we are looking to dive deep on….

DIGITAL MARKETING - Is your firm positioned to take full advantage of the new frontier for client acquisition?  There are more ways to market your firms services than ever before, the question is, how does your firm keep pace with changing technologies and become highly efficient in the digital age?  We've added an entire new curriculum on this topic to the Practice Development Seminar.

You too can learn the winning formula we and so many other firms have employed that has taken them and us to the financial promise land. Click here to register and you’ll save an additional $500 early bird discount and earn 16 NASBA approved CPE credits.

Make sure to register early by calling us at 1-800-338-0778 - this seminar fills up fast!

P.S. We make special offers available only to Seminar attendees only on a wide range of products and services that NCI and NCI’s vendors offer. This is the chance you’ve been waiting for to seriously upgrade your practice. Do not let this opportunity pass you by.

Click here to speak with a practice development specialist and place your fully refundable deposit of just $250 to save your seat on this can’t miss live event.

The Four Questions You Must Always Ask Every Prospect

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The Four Questions You Must Always Ask Every Prospect—and One Other You Need to Ask Right Now!

Every prospect who meets with you and your CSR does so for a reason. Most of the time, it is because of a need they have stemming from some type of problem:  IRS issues, QuickBooks problems, dissatisfaction with their current provider, and a host of others. Oh sure, you’ll have your share of “tire kickers”—prospects with no urgent issues, but perhaps looking to save money on their accounting & tax fees (more about them later). But the point is, the reasons prospective clients agree to meet vary widely, and the most important facet of conducting an appointment with them is to discern what those reasons are. You accomplish this, of course, by asking the right questions and listening intently. What follows are four questions you must ALWAYS ask your prospects, and a fifth one you need to ask this time of year:

1.    (If they currently work with an accountant). What services does your accountant provide you?  There is no uniformity of fees and services vis-à-vis small businesses and accountants. This is where it’s so important to compare apples-to-apples—what is your prospect getting in return for the fees they pay. Those “tire-kickers” may tell you they pay their current accountant less than what you quoted them, but it’s very likely they are not getting the same level of service you would be providing. And, as always, you must build value into those services your prospect isn’t receiving now, especially if all their current accountant does is the year-end returns.

2.    What would you change about your current accountant’s service? Try to engage their emotions here:  Is their current accountant not timely in returning phone calls and e-mails? Do they feel they are not getting proper attention throughout the year? Do they feel they are paying too much for what they are getting? Ask what they would like to see done differently in this engagement.  

3.     (Regardless of whether they have an accountant). If our firm was so privileged to work with you, what would be most important to you in working with an accountant? What do you most wish to see in this engagement?  Again, try to engage their emotions. This is where the prospect will reveal their hot buttons, and these will vary. Accessibility is very important for many business owners. For others, it may be avoiding problems with the taxing authorities. For still others, maintaining control over their bookkeeping, or a myriad of other reasons. The important point is, if you are providing a package of services consistent with the suite of services in NCI’s marketing program, the vast majority of smaller businesses will find what they are looking for.     

4.    Does your current accountant provide proactive tax planning? Ask your prospect how often their accountant calls or sends an e-mail with SPECIFIC suggestions about how they can reduce their taxes. Most small business owners never see this from their accountants.

   And the question you need to be asking your prospects now….

By the time you see this, it’s likely that most of your prospects will have had their year-end returns prepared for 2016. Ask how their year-ends turned out! Any nasty surprises? Any “sticker-shock” from an unexpectedly high tax bill? (Emphasize that judicious, pro-active tax planning could possibly have made a difference). Was their return prepared in a timely fashion? Were they perhaps put on extension for no apparent reason?

Posing these questions may prompt your prospect to think about how working with your firm presents a better alternative to their current provider—one that makes a bottom-line difference in their business.

Pete Borrelli
Senior Account Executive

Will This Tax Season Be Your Last?

Have you been saying for years that this tax season will be your last? If so, maybe it is time to get involved in other areas of life. Whether it is retirement, another business interest or simply a change of pace, let NCI help you sell one of your most valued assets. Since we work with and talk to thousands of accountants nationwide we found ourselves in a natural position to bring buyers and sellers together. Working exclusively with accountants gives us the knowledge and a competitive edge on how to facilitate a smooth and successful transition where most other business brokers may treat your practice like any other business sale.

Some of the key benefits of our service include:

-Protect your privacy by concealing your identity and that of your practice.

-Pre-Qualify buyers financially so you are only meeting with capable professionals.

-Provide financing sources to cash you out at closing. We work with several lenders to try and get you as much money at closing as possible.

-Handle all negotiations. You won’t ever have to argue price, terms, guarantees, etc.

-Provide first drafts of contracts to help minimize your legal fees.

Make proven suggestions to facilitate a smooth transition between you and the new owner. This helps prevent client attrition.

-Market your practice via our web site, company newsletter plus our huge in-house database.

Presently we have many financially qualified buyers who are extremely interested in purchasing a firm after tax season

Since the main thrust of our business remains focused on building accounting firms, our fee is normally a lot less than what most other brokers would charge.  In fact, should you list your practice for sale before May 1st, 2017 we are offering an additional 1% discount off of our standard performance fee.

If this has been in the back of your mind for a while now call 1-888-NEW-CLIENTS for a no cost, no obligation valuation of your firm to help determine if now might be the right time for you to sell/merge.

Todd Steinberg
VP of Marketing and Sales