Ron Baker Summarizes the Firm of the Future

The Journal of Accountancy recent posted excerpts of an interview they conducted with Ron Baker. In this seven minute clip, Ron does a great job at summarizing the concepts surrounding the firm of the future, also known as a professional knowledge firm.

This is my latest slide that illustrates this powerful idea. It differs from what Ron espouses in that I make a change in the mathematical operator used in the equation to signify that the transformations enhance each other.




  1. I understand the intent of the slide. However, I think it would be helpful to show an example. The Professional Service model is driven by a billable rate. A fixed fee based upon a defined scope drives the Professional Knowledge Firm. What?s the difference in rate? Or, if a client asks what is your billable rate? The Professional Service Firm would quote $x per hour. How should the Professional Knowledge Firm respond?

  2. Richard,

    The difference is in a PKF there is no “hourly rate,” only prices, like every other business on the planet. We don’t fly on airlines that price $4/minute. We get a price for everything we buy, before we buy it, period.

    Customers don’t care about an “hourly rate,” they want a price. This is why the billable hour is under attack, and by the clients themselves–see the blog post and video right under this one at

    If firms stopped talking about hourly rates, and instead gave customers a price up-front, no customer would ever ask for an hourly rate. There are thousands of firms around the world who do this very thing, all quite successfully, and to the delight of their customers.

    That’s why the billable hour and the timesheet must die. It’s not a price–it’s a rate. Customers want prices. Professional firms are subject to the same laws of economics as every other business.

    This blog is full of Trailblazers who follow this model.

    Hope that helps.

  3. Ron is right on point! I am happy when clients ask my rate, that opens the door to a discussion of value, the intellectual capital the client is really buying and why I do not bill by the hour! I go out of my way to differentiate my firm from all the others, even some fixed fee firms because I price each client differently based on the value I provide through asset protection or estate planning!

    My firm is still a work in progress, but it is a firm of the future. I used to hate practicing law, now I feel like a legal entrepreneur, not an attorney! Here’s an HSD for you Ron: going through old files last week I saw an asset protection plan I did years ago for approximately $2,000. The last one I did was priced at $30,000 and I know I left money on the table!!


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