Greg Kyte is the self-proclaimed “Champion of the Dissenters.” This is his third entry explaining why I’m wrong about VeraSage’s Quest to bury the billable hour and timesheet.
I have to admit, he’s starting to make a compelling point, causing me to rethink our entire approach. Perhaps there is a place for billable hours and timesheets?
Oh, Ron Baker, your naivety is so cute—the way that you regularly promote the fabrication that billable hours and timesheets retard people’s creativity. So untrue; so precisely wrong.
On Friday, an audit manager at my firm had an inspired proposal to boost our firm’s profitability. One of our clients with whom we have a 25-plus-year relationship has been required by its lender to have its financial statements reviewed rather than compiled for 2010. My colleague invited the client to lunch to discuss how this new requirement will affect them. We paid $60 for the three of us to go to lunch for an hour and a half, and—here’s the inspired part—both the manager and I billed the client for our hours. My rate is $200 per hour. My manager’s is $150. Ron, we just sold a $20 chicken marsala for $525! That’s a 600% return! That’s beyond a “fist pump price”; that’s a pelvic thrust price!
I know you won’t believe it, but this plan was hatched without any Google time. The creative force was the fact that she was ten hours behind her billable hour goal. The billable hour: a wellspring of creativity!