Timesheet vs. Time sheet

In the interest of efficiency, it is clear that we must never use the space when typing the word – timesheet. Henceforth, a $50 (US) fine will be imposed on all posters and commenters should they use said space on this blog site.

First Official Podcast

We are pleased to post the first official podcast from the VeraSage Institute. Please note that it takes a few minutes to download.

In this podcast, which runs a little over 12 minutes, Ron Baker and Ed Kless conduct a dialogue about the basics of Pricing on Purpose (aka Value Pricing). It is our hope that this will be the first of many, but we need your help. Please give this a listen and provide us with any feedback via either comments to this post or email.

Once we have three podcasts released, we plan to submit them to iTunes so that you will be able to manage them more easily.

Senior Fellow Quoted in Two Industry Publications

Senior Fellow, Ed Kless, was recently quoted in two industry publications regarding project management and pricing.

Channelpro magazine’s October issue contains an article entitled Cashing in on SaaS which includes the following paragraph:

If VARs charge by the hour, they negate their expertise—whether it is in a particular vertical or a set of applications—and this knowledge is the value they bring to an SMB, according to Kless. “Pricing, especially as it pertains to service or knowledge, does not come from cost,” he says. “Price comes from value. You cannot bill for knowledge by the hour. Your price has to take into account the value you are providing to a customer. I want our partners to get paid for what they know as opposed to what they did.”

More recently, in the Accounting Technology December 2007 issue in an article entitled Making Projects Behave, Ed is quoted as saying,

“Prescription without Diagnosis is malpractice, and if you sell a customer software without a project plan it’s prescription without diagnosis.”

The article includes a side bar tool developed by Ed on assessing project risk for a project from the provider’s perspective

Great stuff, Ed!

Value Pricing for Lawyers

In November, Ron Baker and Chris Marston spoke to the graduate network of Atticus in a teleseminar on Value Pricing for Lawyers.

You can download the seminar here.

Please note that this file is approximately 10MB each so it may take a minute to download.

Congratulations to Senior Fellow, Peter Byers

VeraSage Institute is proud to announce that senior fellow Peter Byers was conferred Fellowship status by the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants.

Fellowships are a high level awared conferred on members of the Institute who have demonstrated outstanding service to the accounting profession, or for service to the community.

Congratulations, Peter!

Brendon Harrex Turning Southland On It’s Head

VeraSage Senior Fellow Brendon Harrex is profiled in a recent inspiring article. With the founding of the Harrex Group in Gore, New Zealand, he is certainly turning the Southland on its head. For those of you attending the Young CPE Program in Las Vegas, you will get to meet this extraordinary individual who is changing the world of accounting as we know it. And not a moment too soon!

Check out a pdf of the article.

How to Change the Agency Climate Crisis

Webmaster note: This article was written by VeraSage Senior Fellow Tim Williams.

In the hustle and bustle of servicing demanding clients, many agency professionals have lost their bearings. They no longer distinguish between what is urgent and what is important; everything is urgent—or at least it appears to be.

Account executives spend their day in a reactive mode, waiting for the next e–mail or voice mail to tell them what to do. They often end their work day feeling that they kept up with their inbox but didn’t accomplish anything important. It’s no wonder that many talented people are simply leaving the agency business altogether, because they’re not getting the sense of achievement that is at the core of why professional people work in the first place.

What can be done to change this climate of reactivity and low professional satisfaction? The first step is realizing that as an agency leader or manager, your primary responsibility is to create the right conditions for your people to succeed. This includes:

Help your people understand that you are paying them for value created, not hours worked. If your people are held accountable for achieving important outcomes for the client rather than logging a specified number of hours on their timesheet, it has a big effect on how they spend their time.

Engage in professional development for all employees. Agencies are not professional service firms, they are professional knowledge firms. Unless your people are constantly learning, they are not providing the value clients are paying you for.

Provide a better orientation for new employees. Instead of assuming new people know the ropes, show them the ropes—not only your systems and approaches, but your beliefs and principles.

Teach your people to prioritize. Unless agency professionals act on what’s important rather than just react to what’s urgent, they will never achieve the sense of satisfaction they seek from their work experience. Here’s a useful way to think about time prioritization:

Which quadrant do most agency people go to first? Quadrant C, because it’s easy. But that’s not where they add value to client relationships, and it’s certainly not where they’ll find the most professional satisfaction.

You, as leader or manager, can be the catalyst for an important climate change in your agency. But you’ll have to lead by example, as all successful agency leaders do.

Kless Suspended for 50 Days for Using HKT

When VeraSage asked Ed Kless to become a senior fellow, they were confident they could resurrect his fading career. Over the past two years, Kless has enjoyed a dramatic turnaround, evolving into one of Ron Baker most trusted advisors and confidants.

But Kless was suspended today for the next 50 days for violating VeraSage’s performance–enhancing policy, becoming the first to test positive under stricter guidelines implemented this year. As a result, VeraSage may be compelled to change the way they admit senior fellows.

“I have no one to blame but myself,” Kless said in a statement. “I used extremely poor judgment and deserve to be held accountable. Who knew that HKT (Human Knowledge Transfer, also known as a book) was restricted by so many in the professions. To my fellow fellows and the entire VeraSage organization, I am sorry. I truly regret what I did and hope that you can forgive me.”

Kless will not be paid during the suspension, but there are no other restrictions. He may continue to write for the blog and participate in the upcoming VeraSage meeting in Las Vegas. He will likely need to think in a rehabilitation assignment before being recalled.

Kless, who does not dispute the charges, is not certain to re–sign with the VeraSage, but his unavailability for the next 50 days complicates their plans. With Paul O’Byrne recovering from chemo–therapy, their only healthy blog poster under contract is Michelle Golden.

Kless has written about two postings a month for VeraSage, including several that have been picked up by RainToday. VeraSage’s spokesman, Michelle Golden, said all the fellows supported VeraSage’s joint prevention and treatment program and would not comment further.

Value Pricing Session

At a recent Sage conference, Ed Kless spoke on Value Pricing.

Download the session here.

Please note that this file is approximately 11MB so it may take a minute to download.

Using the TIP Clause

Ron Baker was interviewed in December 2006 about using the TIP Clause. Click on the pdf to view the article from Inside Public Accounting.