April 6, 2020
Ecommerce Accountant! Don’t Take on New Clients without Doing an Assessment | Saturday Slowdown

Ecommerce Accountant! Don’t Take on New Clients without Doing an Assessment | Saturday Slowdown


hey it’s patti scharf CPA and co-founder of catching clouds the leader in e-commerce accounting welcome back to our Saturday slow down where I like to remind everybody to take some time to work on their business and not just in their business today I want to talk about assessments for a new client so this video was inspired by a discussion I was having with one of my ecommerce accounting peeps their company actually does not charge for an initial assessment and we do and so we were talking about that because I think they were thinking that maybe they needed to do that as well and wanted to know what some of the person Consort and we’ve actually been charging for initial assessments from practically day one like our business started the very end of 2011 and I look back in our finances and I think our first assessment we charged was in January of 2012 so we’ve been doing it from the very beginning although in the very beginning it was a lot less and it wasn’t as fine-tuned the process wasn’t as fine-tuned and we you know we did a crappy job back then than we do now but in any case there are some big reasons why we are huge proponents of doing it as an assessment and I thought that this would be good information to share with all of you and even if you’re an e-commerce seller and not an accountant I think it’s good to know what it is that we’re looking at and why and and why we’re charging for this sort of thing so so let’s happen ok reason number one is that it tells us that they’re serious about becoming a client of ours if they don’t have the wherewithal to pay the thousand dollars for the assessment or they don’t see value in doing it that kind of tells us that they don’t value the advice that we have they don’t value our expertise they they just aren’t gonna be a good fit for us and that’s really important information to have right up front so I can’t tell you how many times we’ve talked to people and we talked about our process and we talked about what we do and then we say yeah you know that there’s a thousand dollar initial assessment and they’re like okay see ya and that’s perfectly fine with us I mean we we’re not the right fit for everybody and vice versa I talk about this all the time so it’s good to know that up front and no harm no foul more power to them but they’re just not a good fit for us the second reason we charge for an initial assessment is because we literally cannot price the engagement without doing it because I can’t tell you how many times people are like like we say hey how many bank accounts do you have and they you tell us to and then we dig into their stuff and they have like seven you know because I think it’s kind of human nature people just have a tendency to discount the stuff that they don’t use all the time or it’s not important to them they they just in their mind simplify everything so when they say that they are selling on three channels what they mean is 6 and when they say that they have 3 payment processors they mean 17 I mean it’s really kind of ridiculous how far off people can be sometimes so we just we we don’t make people stress about it we just take a peek under the hood ourselves and we just learn what we need to know so that we can price the engagement appropriately because the worst thing that you can do is rely on on what the sellers tell you their structure is and then price and get an engagement one way and then find out it’s triple the amount of work when you are charging a flat fee so it’s really important to have a really deep thorough understanding of what it is that their business needs before you start advising I mean it’s like consulting 101 you know you find out where they are you find out where they’re trying to go and then you find the solution how fix their problems you know it’s you you don’t jump straight to the solution without understanding everything that that’s going on with them the third reason we charge for the assessment is because what we’re doing is we’re providing a whole ton of expertise so so what the assessment looks like when we’re all done it’s usually like a 30 page report give or take a few pages and it talks all about where their accounting is all about the recommendations we would make to make things better and it took us tens of thousands of hours to acquire this knowledge in e-commerce it not to mention the years of study it took for me to become a CPA or the years that I spent doing taxes I mean we spent a lot of time and energy and money to invest in ourselves in this business to build up this expertise that’s going to be helping them so I don’t think it’s unreasonable when we’re spending a couple of days and multiple people throughout thrown at this project to provide them with something that’s really valuable and beneficial to them I don’t think it’s unreasonable to charge for that and here’s the thing if you don’t value yourself enough to charge for your expertise why do the sellers think that you have anything of value to share reason number four for doing the assessment is that it gives prospects an opportunity to see what it would be like to work with us they can see that we’re organized and that we understand accounting and that we understand e-commerce and they you know it’s it just gives them a sampling of what it would be like to work with us and and to see if they would get along with us and to see that we know what we’re doing I mean because a lot of our clients when they sign with us it’s a huge investment of time it’s a huge investment of money they want to make sure that they made a good decision and doing an assessment and giving them a report back helps them feel confident about the decision that they’re making reason number five is it also gives us a chance to sample what it would be like to work with them so if they aren’t organized if they aren’t responsive to our questions if they are actually kind of mean and belligerent with our team like no we we just don’t have time for that so so it gives a it gives us a chance to date you know I say this all the time that that they can see what it’d be like to work with us we get to see what it would be like to work with them and maybe it’s not a good fit that’s good to know way up front okay so after all that if you’re still not convinced and you are scared about charging for an assessment because you’re afraid that people aren’t going to come with you if they have to pay for the assessment I would argue that those are the kinds of people who are super price sensitive and they’re going to force you to race to the bottom you’re going to have a bunch of clientele that are all price sensitive and and the only thing that’s going to happen your business it’ll go one of two ways either you’re racing to keep up so that you’re not like killing yourself and you will have crappy work product because ecommerce accounting is hardest and you need to put in a lot of elbow grease to make sure that it’s good quality or you’ll have good quality but you won’t have any money you won’t have any time and you won’t have any life and that is not why you started a business so I think you got to do it so you may be worried about losing out on a prospect because of charging the assessment but what you should really be concerned about is if you get a client by doing it that way so trust me on that one so I hope you liked this video and found it helpful if you did please like comment and share if you haven’t already please subscribe and I’ll catch you later

2 thoughts on “Ecommerce Accountant! Don’t Take on New Clients without Doing an Assessment | Saturday Slowdown

  1. We have a couple different levels of assessment. The more in-depth piece, our GrowthPlan (https://hivedigitalstrategy.com/growthplan), is something we charge for and typically ends up being a great introduction to our business (like you mentioned in the video). We also do quick HubSpot Audits that we do not charge for. With our standing with HubSpot and as leaders in inbound marketing, we want to help all businesses that are using HubSpot get the most out of it. If we can lend a few tips to do that, we are happy to do so. Maybe we should look at doing a more robust audit that we do charge for. You got us thinking, Patti!

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