You Never Know What’s Going to Inspire Somebody

One of the joys of writing books is receiving feedback from readers.

You never know what is going to resonate with someone, whether from a book or attending a seminar. This is why we at VeraSage use a variety of techniques to educate: from video clips, stories, and metaphors to case studies, examples, theories, etc.

You just never know what is going to be an epiphany for someone.

I remember a program Paul O’Byrne and I did in Orlando, Florida where at the end we showed a clip of Walt Disney’s final days before he passed away. It’s an incredibly moving scene, and one gentleman came up to us at the end of the program to say “You guys changed my life today. I’ve resolved to quit smoking.”

Walt had died from lung cancer—he was a chain smoker nearly his entire life. I would have never expected that reaction, since that’s not why we showed the clip. But as they say, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

That said, Joel Ungar, CPA, recently wrote to me (and on his blog) about how he is re-reading The Firm of the Future.

He said the following sentence from page 5 “…is going to have a deep impact on me”:

No one enters the profession in order to bill the most hours.

The professions are a noble calling, providing the opportunity to serve and contribute to others, and make a difference in the world beyond one life.

Despite this, the passion and morale in the profession—a leading indicator of the health and vitality of any calling—has been in decline for decades. We believe this is in part caused by the component in the old theory that says the road to success is paved with ever-higher billable hours.

Indeed, no one enters the profession in order to bill the most hours. This theory—which is at the very core of the thinking of most professionals—is slowly eating away at the very sustenance of our calling.

It is time to supplant it; and we suggest this not so you can make more money, but more of a difference in the lives of those important to you.

VeraSage sounds a tocsin to our colleagues around the world in the hope you will join with us to restore the quality of life in the professions.

Thanks for the feedback Joel, I’m glad that one sentence so resonated with you.


  1. We?re a bit further along in the metamorphosis from billing to pricing only because we started several years ago. Initially, we experienced the same drop in our proposal success rate for. We also initially ascribed it to being ?more selective?, but over a period of time we realized that wasn?t the only reason ? it?s not so much because you don?t communicate value, but rather because the potential client has a difficult time in comparing you to the other ?bidders? whose proposals don?t include the same level of service. I posted on this previously.

    This may be helpful to Fred McBreen. I also mentioned to you recently a larger SEC engagement we were un successful in proposing on last year who is now ?re-thinking? the importance of the comprehensive service plan we offered and has contacted us after having been butchered by one of the regional accounting firms in SF.

    We?re finding that our inability / unwillingness to communicate is a major problem on many fronts ? this being one of them. Remember my desire to ?budget? in order to establish expectations, to which my pricing team asked me why I had an aversion to communicating? Alternatively we now will have joint meetings with our clients and engagement team to communicate expectations.

    We?ve hidden behind time sheets so long we don?t know how to communicate anymore. Not to our associates and certainly not to our clients. It?s just not a skill we?ve had to learn. We let the ?system? take that responsibility. What a bunch of cowards we?ve been, lacking the courage to face our clients or associates and choosing instead to hide behind the irrelevant ?authority? of the information suggested from our time sheets.

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