VeraSage & Principa Bring You “A Day With the Disrupters” for CPAs

A Day With the Disrupters takes place on June 8, the day before the AICPA PS/TECH and AAM conference at Bellagio in Las Vegas.

Register here:

And if you attend our day, you can receive special pricing for the AICPA/AAM event! When you register for the AICPA/AAM conference, use code “PTA13P” to receive $225 off!

See you there!

What We’re Covering:

Are you ready to transform your accounting practice? Is it time to break out of the pack? Are you getting itchy realizing that it’s time for a new business model?

This is where you’ll find what you need to know to bring passion and purpose to the forefront of your practice, and improve the quality of your life and the lives of your team members and customers.

Join Ron Baker of VeraSageMichelle Golden of Golden PracticesMelinda Guillemette of Melinda Motivates, and Ric Payne of Principa for a day of mind-exploding discussion. This very special event (NOT your typical conference feel or format) is sure to leave you inspired and prepared to define and design your firm.

When you are breaking down barriers to bettering CPA firms, no subject is safe. Expect the day’s content to span:

  • Business Model Innovation
  • Strategy is About Saying “No”
  • The Six Principles of Leadership
  • The Intellectual Economy
  • Creating and Capturing Value
  • Measuring What Matters

Your takeaways from this incredible day include:

  • Learn how to reinvent your business model, transforming it into something unique that works for YOU—then take the process back to use with your customers
  • Get into the trenches discussing customer selection and deselection, and how to fire without damaging your reputation
  • Understand the concept of “emotional capacity” and why it’s so crucial to factor this in to your business model
  • Discover what replaces timesheets and discuss in depth a variety of KPIs (key predictive indicators) that could work for you
  • Explore essential ways to demonstrate leadership and engender trust among your colleagues
  • Prepare to define, inspire, recognize, and reward the behaviors that will make your business better;  understand how compensation is a tool, not a weapon
  • Hear exactly how to move your customers up the value curve and feel confident that you’re doing the right and honorable thing while you do so

2013 speakers


Creativity and Innovation; Killed Long Before We Enter the Professions? And Often Thereafter

Have you seen the most-watched TED talk? It’s by Sir Ken Robinson and it’s called “Do schools kill creativity”?”

If you haven’t viewed it, or even if you have, watch it again and think about what he says in the context of your profession. Very, very applicable.

If you’d like to see and hear Sir Ken talk to CPAs about these essential concepts and what they mean for CPAs (and other professionals) then you might want to register for this January’s Winning is Everything conference where he is going to keynote on Fri, Jan 18.

As a special gift (Merry Christmas! And Happy Hanukkah!) we’ve worked with the conference organizers to be able to bring you special Friends-of-VeraSage pricing for the event. Early registration ends Dec 24 so act fast to receive the best pricing!


Go to

Use the group code “VeraSage” to get $200 off the first person from your company and $400 off every attendee after that.

If you’re outside of the U.S. and cannot attend in person, they have an international-only simulcast option (we LOVE options!) available that provides unlimited access to 9 sessions for any number of people you wish. The link for this is: and the “VeraSage” code provides a $100 off of that…

See you there!

Farewell to a Friend: How Paul O’Byrne Changed the World

VeraSage Sr Fellow, Paul O’Byrne, of CA firm O’Byrne & Kennedy, passed away today, Nov 16, at his London home surrounded by family. His passing was not unexpected, but is no less saddening.

Paul was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in mid-2007, which he fought admirably and gracefully. His last year was considered by him as “bonus” time and he spent it doing the things he loved. You can read Paul’s journey, here, and laugh and live with him as we have.


Many years ago, Paul and his business partner, Paul Kennedy, made the Firm of the Future a reality. Pricing in advance and focusing on creation of value for their clients, they also culled the client-base to make sure the could serve the remaining clients fully and well. Quality over quantity. Quite the opposite of most firms’ mantras.

Quality over quantity applies to Paul’s years living, too, he was merely 51. And the legacy he’s left us with is much greater than he ever could know.

After a visit with Paul (POB) and his family just 10 days ago, Ron Baker and I had the honor of dining with Paul Kennedy (PK). PK shared with us that early in their business venture, POB had told him that he wanted to personally change the world. Several years later, POB told PK that he realized he would never be able to accomplish that, and that he would be satisfied with changing things on a smaller scale (I am paraphrasing).

It may be ironic, then, but I see POB has having significantly changed the world. Not just our small group “Team VeraSage” but Paul did the amazing: he both practiced what he preached, very successfully and innovatively, but he literally traveled the globe, to the farthest reaches, helping professionals learn how to first improve what they do for clients, and then improve their own lots in doing it. To read the comments on his blog, from all over the world, one realizes he did, in fact, accomplish his goal.

If you have been touched by Paul and if he changed the world for you and/or your business, please consider sharing your story here. We’d like to hear about it and, together, we can celebrate the many ways in which Paul did, indeed, Change the World.

As Paul wrote in his last blog post: “Life IS beautiful, and life is for living, so never stop carpe-ing!”

Goodbye, friend.

Ron is Currently Reading…

Ron’s Top Book Picks: Business

“I’d Rather Sleep Under a Bridge Than Go Back to Timesheets”

VeraSage Fellow, Tim McKey (from Baton Rouge, LA) says, “I’d rather sleep under a bridge than go back to timesheets.” If that doesn’t convey how much of an improvement value pricing is, I don’t know what will. Make no mistake, though, Tim needn’t sleep under any bridge! His income isn’t exactly worse with a Value Pricing approach.

On Monday, Oct 22, in Las Vegas, meet and hear from Tim McKey and many others who have taken the path toward building a Firm of the Future (including me). Others present will include: Dan Morris ( and Daryl Golemb from California firms; Peter Byers, Yan Zhu and Brendon Harrex (speaking) from New Zealand; and Chris Marston (also speaking) from Boston. In addition to Chris and Brendon’s presentations, you’ll have a chance to ask the rest of us, any questions you might have.

If you really are curious about “how” to break free of hourly billing, you need to be in Las Vegas.

At least 8 VeraSage Fellows/Founders (from Accounting & Law) and several employees of their Firms of the Future will be there. The night of the 21st and 22nd, many of us will be hanging out at a Rio lounge to talk with attendees.

It’s a rare opportunity to have a whole bunch of “converts” in one place. Do come! And pick our brains.

And spend the day at the Rio with VeraSage on Monday. Seriously, it’s only $129 (just to cover room & A/V costs). Rio room nights Sun and Mon are only about $100.

Go here to sign up for Monday’s session:

Baker Still Influential … Seventh Year In A Row

Accounting Today has issued its 100 Most Influential People list and our very own Ron Baker made the cut. The write-up:


Founder, VeraSage Institute

This value-pricing advocate continues his crusade against the billable hour and timesheets, helping firms capture more of the value they create.

Career Highlights: Founder, VeraSage Institute, 1998-present … Instructor, California CPA Education Foundation, 1995-present … Partner, Baker & Barnett CPAs, 1987-2003 … Senior accountant, KPMG, 1984-1987.

Other Affiliations: California Society of CPAs … AICPA Group of 100 … Professional Pricing Society … Author, Mind Over Matter (November 2007); Pricing on Purpose; Measure What Matters to Customers; Professional’s Guide to Value Pricing, 6th Edition; The Firm of the Future; Burying the Billable Hour; Trashing the Timesheet … Editorial Advisory Board, Smart Pros; Principia (SIC).

Education: San Francisco State University, 1984, BS Acctg. … Santa Rosa Junior College, 1982, AA.

Personal: Born 1962, Santa Rosa, Calif. … Single.

Congrats, Ron. We would have voted for you, too (if we’d been asked…).

Urban Dictionary on the Big 4

Have you looked up the Big 4 on Urban Dictionary? (OMG) Warning: post contains extreme negativity which I absolutely do not condone.


“Deloitte” comes from the Greek denomination of “De” and “Loitte”. “De” translates directly to “miserable”, with “Loitte” translating to “pathetic human being.” Formerly known as Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, the name was shortened to just “Deloitte” after it was discovered that “Touche” was a 3rd grade version of the word ass, and Tohmatsu was too difficult to say.

Members of the Deloitte firm are easy to spot. During the months of January through March, in preparation for hibernation, Deloitters typically put on between 5 and 65 pounds. Additionally, staffers can be seen aging as if they drank from the wrong Holy Grail during this period. The only members of Deloitte who seem to stay a consistent age are the partners, mostly because they drink and bath [sic] in the youth and souls of staff members.

Deloitte is also a microcasm for the problems of American society. The wealth gap is clearly seen in Deloitte, with partners driving Porsche’s, and staffers riding their new Dyno freestyle BMX’s in January. In addition, Deloitte partners have new HP Tablet laptops, with staffers performing audit work on Abacuses…

Ernst & Young

Similar to the other Big 4 accounting firms, is a form of slavery and injustices. Most people come here to work hundreds of hours per week, only to be paid substantially less than at Deloitte, KPMG, and PWC. They are so cheap with raises they would rather see everyone quit every year than try to pay in line with the other firms. Salaries average $5,000 to $8,000 less than the other Big 4 firms. And the tag line “quality in everything we do” does not apply to senior managers who are the darlings of the partners. It means they can be worthless and not work a hard day in their life while shitting on the seniors. Then once the problems ensue, they just blame the seniors to make it all better.


The cruelest form of punishment known to mankind. Some states are considering the use of KPMG as an alternative to the lethal injection. KPMG offices are characterized by a complete and utter disregard one’s family, friends, and life in general.

Rare mutations of KPMG offices have a thing called Jump-start your weekend whereby staff are encouraged to begin their weekends at 3 pm on Friday afternoons during the summer months. Soon enough do they find out this fallacy applies only to admin’s and other hourly employees as they are constantly hounded by management that they are not meeting their chargeability goals…


An environment/hell, in which the term ‘work-life balance’ is used to convince bright, young professionals to accept jobs. Once on the other side, it becomes apprent very fast that it doesn’t exist, but the majority of employees stay, because the partners continue to say they are “working” to improve ‘work-life balance’.

One question: How long before they figure it out? Answer: NEVER. They will continue to use it as a topic of positive discussion for the future (always in the future).

All of the Big 4 firms most highly rated (by readers) definitions are the same:

The last form of slavery in the US. This is where many young people begin careers and work 115 hours a week until they either quit or die from exhaustion. Former [insert firm here] employees often have scarred backs from the whip marks.

All I can say is that these definitions look to be written by employees who are spending too much time on the Internet and wasting perfectly good chargable hours!

The CPE/CLE of the Century (and the one your partners probably don’t want you to attend)

The Future is Already Here…It’s Just Unequally Distributed

For a profession to be truly innovative, it must not only do new things, it must stop doing old things. It is not possible to create tomorrow without first getting rid of yesterday.

You know there has to be a better way. And there is.

Attend THE event young professionals have been crying out for—given directly by the leaders of two REAL, practicing, thriving Firms of the Future—one law firm and one accounting firm.

Brendon Harrex, 33 year-old founder of the Harrex Group in Gore, New Zealand, and Chris Marston, 31 year-old founder of Exemplar Law Partners in Boston, MA, are revolutionizing the way professional knowledge firms are led.

Brendon and Chris are two of the professions’ most visionary leaders because they understand they attract knowledge workers, and therefore treat their employees radically different than the average firm: No billable hour quotas, no timesheets required, investment in education quadruple the average firm, autonomy to set your own schedule, and time set aside to pursue to your passions. Each has a waiting list of people who want to join their organizations!

Brendon and Chris understand that professional knowledge workers sell intellectual capital, not time. They don’t treat their people like union employees or children who have to account for every six minutes of their day. You are not galley slaves on the SS Billable Hour, but human capital investors who deserve to be treated with respect, autonomy, and dignity. They also know the partnership model is broken and they each have innovated new ways of running the businesses of their firms.

In addition to Brendon and Chris, many of the VeraSage Founders and Senior Fellows (from 30 to 65 years of age…all doing value pricing and ALL operating without timesheets) will be on hand to share their experiences and answer your questions. Come hear, from the horses’ mouths, what the future of the accounting and legal professions looks like.

If you’re discouraged in your “traditional” firm or wondering why you chose your profession in the first place, this is the knowledge and inspiration you need in order to reinvigorate your career. And meet the many others who share your frustrations. This proves to be a remarkable networking opportunity to create long-lasting friendships and business contacts.

This high-energy event promises to be extraordinary because it’s the first—and maybe ONLY—time VeraSage will simultaneously feature these young leaders of true Firms of the Future. Several other Senior Fellows of VeraSage comprise a panel to field audience questions about converting a traditional firm or starting their own Firm of the Future.

The future of the profession lies in firms led by innovative individuals. If you want a sneak preview of the improved and exciting future your profession, don’t miss VeraSage Institute’s Inaugural Young Professional Program.

  • 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Lunch on your own from 12-1 p.m.
  • October 22, 2007
  • Rio All-Suite Casino Resort
  • 3700 West Flamingo Road
  • Las Vegas, NV 89103
  • 702.252.7628

Secure your spot and register now for $129. (priced so you can afford it even if the firm won’t pay…)

Blogger’s Choice Awards

I’ve nominated VeraSage for Blogger’s Choice Awards in two categories: Best Business Blog and Best Education Blog.

My site was nominated for Best Education Blog!

My site was nominated for Best Business Blog!

I didn’t feel funny as though I’d nominated “myself” because I seldom contribute to this blog {heavy guilt!} which is so profoundly led by Ron Baker and Ed Kless and made SO much better, even, by the fantastic contributions via “comments” of people who follow the blog as well as those who contribute material for the Trailblazers section.

If you love this blog, vote by clicking a button (takes a second to sign up and verify by email).