There’s more to running a bookkeeping business than simply the services you provide; knowing how to offer and price them is key. Packaging your bookkeeping or accounting services is an important process for any bookkeeping firm. In this guide, we’ll cover the following:
- Why it’s important
- Understanding your clients
- Documenting your process
- Pricing and packaging
- Going to market
Why packaging your service important
Packaging your service is essential for several reasons:
- Transparency: Both you and your clients will know what’s expected when they see your service. Setting the right expectations is crucial to maintaining a good relationship with your clients.
- Consistency: By offering a few packages, you’re ensuring that your work is consistent and that it doesn’t change drastically for every client
- Control: By offering different packages, you retain more control over the services you offer. A strict tier system of packages can be beneficial when a client is trying to get more out of your service, ensuring that you don’t get taken advantage of.
- Opportunity to upsell: When you have different tiers of services available, it’s easier to upsell your clients to more expensive levels. Suppose they opt for the lowest one at the start and are happy with your service, you might then steer them towards a more expensive package.
- More efficiency: By packaging your services clearly, you’re saving time to focus on more critical tasks as you avoid questions on what is and isn’t included. This, in turn, could help you to increase your revenue, improve relationships and market your service.
- Building reputation: All of these factors will help boost your credibility, improving your reputation and relationships with your clients.
Understanding your clients
Having a deeper understanding of your clients’ needs will help you offer the most relevant packages for them. Most businesses will have the same basic needs, but some clients might require some specialized services because of their sector, type of service or industry.
To get the best understanding of a client’s needs, you will need to learn more about their business. You can do this by:
- Giving them surveys or questionnaires
- Sitting down with them and asking them questions about every aspect of their business
- Seeing what their customers say about their business
Once you understand the data about the clients you’re trying to target, you should define your services.
Defining your services
Once you have some data back from your clients, it’s time to start defining your services. Analyse the data and see if there are gaps in what you’re currently offering and what your clients need. It’s also crucial that you’re able to and want to provide them with these things. Think carefully about what you’re offering and whether you wish to add it to the package or not. Some examples of what your packages could include are:
- International, state or local tax
- Payroll administration
- Financial advice
Documenting your processes
Once you’ve established the services you wish to package, it’s time to track your processes. This means documenting everything from how long it takes to onboard a client to the time taken to deliver your service. You can also include your process when talking to a client, so they have a clear understanding and expectations of your services and timelines. You can document your services by:
- Documenting your work and how long it takes for you to complete tasks as you go
- Building a template so you can use it every day and for every task easily
- Regularly scheduling your revisions
- Putting your process to the test with your next client to see if it’s still accurate
Pricing and packaging
After you’ve documented your processes, it’s time to start pricing and putting your packages together. When it comes to pricing, it’s best to go for a value-based pricing model. Value-based pricing means pricing your services based on the value the service brings to the customer, rather than cost per hour.
There are a lot of advantages for you and your customers:
- Emphasis on value delivered – not on how long it takes to complete the task
- Easier for clients to budget and pay because they know exactly what they’re paying every month
- You will be able to meet your clients’ needs and offer an upsell easily
Once you have a clear idea of your services and processes, you’re almost ready to start pricing. To establish the baseline price, follow these steps:
- Take into account the years of experience you have built up over time
- Know the estimated time frames it takes to complete all of the steps before delivering your service
- Multiply the time it takes you to complete the service by the hourly rate
- Add in costs of software and tools
- From this, you should be able to calculate the baseline cost of each service
Once you have your services priced, you can bundle them together in a way that will appeal to potential customers. For example, firms generally package basic accounting services in the ‘basic package’ and the more complex services in the more advanced packages.
Examples of packages:
- Starter plan: Full bookkeeping and tax preparation
- Basic plan: Full bookkeeping, payroll support and basic reporting
- Advanced plan: All previous packaging plus advanced financial planning, technological advice and financial analysis
Once you have your packages sorted, it’s time to go to market.
Go to market
The final stage is going to market and releasing your new pricing plans. This stage will involve a lot of marketing and educating potential and current clients.
Focus on promoting your plans’ benefits and update your website, social media and other marketing materials, such as brochures or signage. You will also be able to keep your packages flexible and change them based on feedback from your clients.
Now you’re finally ready to start selling your services in packages, hopefully making you a credible and appealing firm, while helping you work more efficiently.
Save time on small business clients with Countingup
You can start saving your practice time on manual admin and help your clients keep organised records with Countingup’s free accounting software, built specifically to help you manage your self-employed and sole trader clients.
The app automates time consuming bookkeeping admin for your clients so they can focus on running their business – and send you accurate, structured data to work from. With instant invoicing, automatic expense categorisation and cash flow insights, your clients will be able to confidently keep accurate bookkeeping records everyday.
Countingup’s accounting software is MTD-compatible and full of features for you to review and manage client accounts efficiently, with direct access to their real-time organised data. Find out more here.