VeraSage Makes the Wall Street Journal Front Page

The old slogan was “coffee makes your morning and 7-11 makes your coffee“. This morning I was greeted with a surprising email from VeraSage Fellow Chris Marston with an “adda-boy” regarding a prominent placement in a Wall Street Journal Article regarding Alternatives to Hourly Fees written by Simona Covel. Front page of the Marketplace section places VeraSage in the big leagues. Soon after Chris’s cheerful wake up call I received several tweets from others, facebook comments, and even a couple of old friends and colleagues sought me out for a friendly “way to go”.

The truth is I was simply fortunate. Ron Baker and I were interviewed several weeks ago about the changing pricing environment and how VeraSage is changing the world of pricing for professional services. The prime placement suports our collective great work. From past experience it is always better to be on the front page then with the “connected” materials on page 7-b as most people seem to forget to turn the page. A link to the article is here but you’ll need to be a subscriber for full access: http://tinyurl.com/d7faos

I think today demonstrated the value of the social networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and their ability to spread the word. Encouraging others to read our materials and help us with our mission to Bury the Billable Hour.

And finally, Chris, your coffee was certainly the flavor of the month. Move over 7-11.

This has been a great day for me, for us, for VeraSage, and for the future of PKFs and here is a toast to the “death of the billable hour”.

Dan

The Journal of Accountancy Publishes The First Top 100 Accounting Firm of the Future

I’m thrilled to announce the publication of my article “The Firm of the Future,” which is now available on the Journal of Accountancy Web site.

You can access the actual November issue print version of the article here.

The article profiles four firms of the future, including the first ever Top 100 accounting firm, Kennedy and Coe, LLC.

It also profiles three other firms, which will be familiar to our VeraSage readers: The Harrex Group in New Zealand, founded by VeraSage Senior Fellow Brendon Harrex.

Mark Bailey & Co., Ltd., our Trailblazer firm from Reno, Nevada.

Snyder & Co., from Ohio, one of our most recent Trailblazers.

Congratulations to all of these firms for their pioneering spirit. We will be posting a more detailed case study from each firm in the future. Until then, we hope you enjoy their inspiring stories.

Ideas, indeed, have consequences.

Senior Fellow Michelle Golden on blogging in Accounting Today

I’ve always known VeraSage Senior Fellow Michelle Golden knows more about blogging than just about anyone in the professions, which is precisely why I sought her out to build VeraSage’s Web site (I’m also the only one stupid, or blind, enough to refer to Michelle as a “fellow”). She is the reason I became a convert to blogging, as I’ll admit I was initially skeptical about this medium, holding the view that most blogs are worth what you pay for them.

One of the traits I find most useful about blogs is they can be used to manage an individual’s or firm’s intellectual capital. Blogs also force knowledge workers to write and read. If you want to really know what you think of something, write about it. It’s different than speaking or making a video, as it forces you to be logical, cogent and reasoned. So all this chatter about blogs replacing books, I think, is nonsense. Blogs and books are compliments, like hot dogs and mustard; not substitutes like coffee and tea.

Michelle’s expertise is on display in the recent issue of Accounting Today (Aug 20-Sept 9, 2007) in the article “Blogging for Dollars.”

Well worth reading.

Brendon Harrex Purchases Gore Practices from Ward Wilson

Southland, New Zealand—29 March 2007—The Gore practice of Ward Wilson has been sold to Young Accountant of the Year and former Ward Wilson Chairman, Brendon Harrex.

Brendon Harrex says the acquisition was made possible by the merger between WHK Cook Adam and Ward Wilson.

“The new Gore operation will be substantially different from what it was, and from any other accounting firm in the South Island,” he says. “As of May 1st we will operate without billable hours and timesheets.”

Read full release in pdf.

Brendon Harrex Awarded New Zealand’s Young Chartered Accountant of the Year

Southland, New Zealand—December 4, 2006—VeraSage Institute is proud to announce that senior fellow Brendon Harrex was named New Zealand’s Young Chartered Accountant of the Year. Each year, the Institute presents this award to celebrate the profession’s rising stars and recognize exceptional individual achievement.

At 33 years of age, Harrex is the youngest chairman of a major accounting firm in New Zealand, Ward Wilson Ltd. With only nine years in the profession, he has been instrumental in the firm by leading the charge toward eliminating timesheets and offering customers agreed prices before beginning work. This innovative approach has contributed significantly to the firm’s recent revenue growth.

Read full release in pdf.

Check out newspaper articles regarding Brendon’s win.

Christopher Marston Becomes First Law Fellow

Boston, MA—June 30, 2006—VeraSage Institute announces the think tank’s first fellow representing the legal profession, Christopher Marston. Marston was invited to join VeraSage because he demonstrates innovative practice methods in his firm. A core goal of VeraSage Institute is to end hourly billing by teaching firms how to better understand clients’ needs and manage expectations through defining a mutually agreed–upon goal and by pricing work in advance. VeraSage fellows are chosen through their ability to serve as role–models for other professionals. Fellows also personally commit to providing advice, support and guidance to other practitioners who embark on their own journeys to creating better firms.

Believing that lawyers are slaves to the billable hour, and that billing by the hour misaligns the customers’ and firms’ objectives, Marston, CEO and Founder of Exemplar Law Partners, created a “firm of the future.” Marston’s firm focuses on the value of services provided rather than the cost of one’s time. Offering fixed pricing, valuing work-life balance, and placing customer service at the forefront of the firm’s priorities are among the progressive practices the firm has adopted.

It is an honor to be a thinking partner with world-class professionals from across the globe to solve a problem that will no doubt have life-changing implications, says Marston.

Read full release in pdf.

Ed Kless Named Senior Fellow of VeraSage Institute

Dallas, TX—July 3, 2006—VeraSage Institute announces Ed Kless as a senior fellow of the think tank. Kless was invited to join VeraSage because of his demonstrated improvement of practice methods in professional service firms. VeraSage fellows must personally commit to providing advice, support, and guidance to practitioners who embark on their journey to create firms that are more profitable. Fellows must also be willing and able to teach value pricing and other practice improvement methods to the growing number of professionals hungry for this information.

Ed Kless joined Sage Software in July of 2003 and is currently the director of partner development and recruitment for the mid-market division. He also facilitates the Sage Leadership Academy, a yearlong program designed to assist Sage Software partners develop a process of continuous improvement in their organizations. In addition, he develops and delivers the curriculum for Sage Consulting Academy.

As a consultant to Sage Software’s business partners, Ed has assisted several professional service firms switch from an hourly-billing model to a fixed-price model and eliminate time tracking. A core goal of VeraSage Institute is to end hourly billing by teaching firms how to better understand clients’ needs and manage expectations by pricing work up front establishing a mutually agreed-upon goal and price.

Read full release in pdf.

Michelle Golden Becomes Senior Fellow of VeraSage Institute

St. Louis, Missouri—June 12, 2006—VeraSage Institute announces Michelle Golden is the think tank’s newest senior fellow. Golden was selected to join VeraSage because of her demonstrated application of improvement practice methods in professional service firms. VeraSage fellows serve as role-models for other professionals and they personally commit to providing advice, support and guidance to other practitioners as they embark on their journeys to creating better firms.

Golden is president and CEO of Golden Marketing Resources, Inc., a marketing and organizational improvement firm operating as Golden Marketing Inc. and Golden Practices Inc., respectively. The company, established in St. Louis in 1999, works exclusively with professional service firms—CPA and law firms as well as financial and investment advisors—throughout the United States and some international firms.

As a professional service firm, itself, Golden moved her practice from an hourly–billing model to a fixed price model and eliminated time tracking. A core goal of VeraSage Institute is to end hourly billing by teaching firms how to better understand clients’ needs and manage expectations by pricing work up front establishing a mutually agreed-upon goal and price.

Read full release in pdf.