Greg Kyte, Founder of Comedy CPE, has built a brand around using stand-up comedy coupled with common accounting topics like value based billing. It's the most interesting twist in accounting I've ever seen. is there a way to make accountants and CPAs look like funny people. Well, Greg Kyte sets out to both teach and entertain. In this episode of the Growing Your Firm Podcast, David Cristello and Greg Kyte laugh about:
- Communication strategies your practice can use to increase client engagement
- How and why it's the time to transition to value based billing
- Trends in the industry and the new role of your accounting practice
- And much more... click below to listen to the interview
- LINKEDIN - Greg Kyte
- Utah Valley Physicians Plaza - Greg's the Controller
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Greg Kyte: Comedian, Writer, CPE Wizard, Controller:Greg Kyte, founder of Comedy CPE and Controller and Utah Valley Physicians Plaza, took the most unlikely path to accounting you will see. Greg tells David he has over "10 years" of college experience and beyond. School was never his favorite place, it seemed. Until you hear how he was a math teacher for 8 years. (he graduated with a math degree...how about that!) In total, Kyte spent 10 years as a teacher before stumbling onto his love of accounting. In 2008, he dumped the teaching profession and went headfirst into accounting as a "squire." His goal at this point was to get his CPA license and start a luxurious career in the public sector. Funny enough, Kyte worked at his accounting job exactly 2003 hours (the bare minimum to sit for the CPA exam is 2000), and he passed the test. Now, as I mentioned, he works as Controller at Utah Valley Physicians Plaza.
Mixing Comedy with Accounting:Greg's first foray into stand-up comedy started 6 years before he entered the accounting arena. In his first job, he asked the partner of the firm if he could kick-off the meetings with a 5 minute routine to loosen up the employees. The partner was onboard and a new genre in comedy was born...accounting stand-up. By the end of 2008, Kyte had re-tooled his act to focus solely on the accounting niche. His reasoning has legs: The accounting industry has a terrible stigma of being: boring, dry, and not very fun. Kyte saw an opening here to really carve out a sector of the comedic landscape and dominate it. As you can imagine, his new venture, ComedyCPE, birthed from Greg's comedic shift. And it made sense. Remember, Kyte was an educator for 10 years. He'd had 6 years of stand-up experience. The perfect marriage! He found his tips and tricks as a stand-up comedian also provided value as it helped team members talk with clients. With each client, if you're not getting feedback, you're not improving the relationship. If you're not improving, a competitor can easily swoop in and take them away. When you learn how to get that 'instant feedback' like a comedian does with every joke, then you fully ingrain in their business. Today, Greg's biggest comedic push has been to value based billing.
The Absolute Power and Control with Value Based Billing:An uphill battle we face as accountants is 'relevancy.' Is what you're doing relevant to the everyday goings-on at your client's business? For many firms, they happily fill out quarterly financials for their clients, collect the check and move on to the next big client. On the other side of the table, your client takes those financials and piles them up in a drawer. You don't want to spend the time with your client because you'll have to bill them. Clients don't like unexpected bills. Thus, the big standoff. The billable hour is pushing back on everything you do with clients. You're handcuffed to the timer and clients don't like that. Your clients, on the other hand, are deathly afraid of you timing every second you're on the phone, they won't reach out. That's where value based billing comes into play. Value based billing throws out the timer and lets you get up close and personal with your clients thus furthering the relationships. If you're a firm owner using timed billing, you're panicking. It's not hard to see why: A billing system based on every minute allows you to track progress plus you never lose money on an engagements (or so you think). All you do is time everything and send the bill. Greg calls this 'billing and ducking.' You hope your phone doesn't blow up after a big bill and the client gets upset. There must be a better approach...and there is. What if you could take that stack of receivable notices you're about to send out and turn them into unearned revenues? That's the power of value based billing. You're getting paid upfront and a set amount. You get paid before work, not after. And, you get paid more!
DAVID'S TIP: If you want innovation in your firm, value based billing is the way to go. With timed billing, there are no rewards for innovation and efficiency. If you want to charge your client more this year...do the work slower... how does that make sense??Greg believes if you switch to a value based approach, you'll actually weed out your annoying bad customers. Those who price-shop and don't pay their bills on their time. Goodbye! Can you really blame some of your bad clients? With timed billing, there is a conflict of interest. You control the hours billed and it's very difficult for the client to verify. That puts you at the higher ground. No client wants to hear that!
Breaking the Accounting Stereotype:As accountants, we're labeled as ultra-conservative. For the most part, that's true. We are risk adverse in everything we do. But, you're missing out on growth if you're not taking risks everyday. Greg says "Business rewards risk." And this is true for any entrepreneur out there who bootstrapped their company to where it is. To innovate, you want to go against the grain. Against what everyone else does. Taking risks in any area: Trying value based billing, new marketing strategies, workflow efficiency change-ups...you'll see the fruits whether you learn from your mistakes or you profit from your successes.
DAVID'S TIP: You're not looking for perfection. You're looking for progress!What did you think of my interview with Greg Kyte? Does he have a unique approach or what using comedy to teach? When will you start implementing value based billing?