Jackie Meyer, Founder of Meyer Tax Consulting, is back on the show with more advice on creating the ideal accounting firm. Last time, she talked about increasing her revenues 35% adding tax planning services. This time around, she's here to reveal how she's cut her client base from up to 300 to under 100. Yet, she charges 80% more on average per client. At the same time, she takes Friday off from client work to work on her business. You'll want to hear her ground-breaking strategies. In this episode of the Growing Your Firm Podcast by Jetpack Workflow Software, David Cristello and Jackie Meyer dive into:
How to have a waiting list for clients
Creating the ideal accounting firm where you charge 80% more and work 25% less on client work
How Jackie and her team only check email 2X per day
Jackie Meyer is one of our rare returning guests because she's done an incredible job building her firm fast. Today, she averages $10,000/client after cutting down her client base from up to 300. Most firms would be afraid of doing this. Even better, she only works 4 days per week on client work and takes her Fridays to work ON the business. She uses that time to interface with some of my past guests including Ed Kless and Jeff Philips. If you're worried about upset clients, wait until you hear about what she does. First, since she's chopped her client list over 65%, she's much pickier about who she takes on as a client. In fact, now she has a waiting list for becoming a client. That's unheard of as most firm owners are happy to take who walks through the door. Jackie did this because she wants customer service to be on a pedestal at her accounting firm. Too many clients could result in bad experiences. To combat this, she's upgraded some roles to project manager in her firm. Funny enough...when you tell someone they are on a waiting list, they want to be your client even more. Thus, this maneuver gave her control over who she works with and her time. Jackie recommends letting others in your firm control pieces. Clients may have come into your firm because of you, but you must teach your staff and your clients to work with each other. If you remain the focal point, you'll always be stretched thin. Currently, her client base revolves around high net worth individuals, wealthy retirees, and those high-up the corporate ladder. If they're retired, they may typically have board and/or consulting income coming in. Jackie not only helps with normal tax work, she also forms family limited partnerships, management companies, creates structure around investments and much more. Like I mentioned, now her clients average about $10,000 in fees per year. "Figure out where your value lies," Jackie says. This is how you can raise your fees. Jackie shows these high net-worth folks visually how her firm is saving them hundreds of thousands per year in taxes with the entities she creates. Because of that, she expects to get her average client billing up to $18,000/year shortly.
Structure Your Time to Work 25% Less on Client Work
Creating the ideal accounting firm is not just about raising fees but also getting your time back. Jackie is high on time blocking. Here, you create very tight, very specific appointments on your calendar for everything you need done. 2 hours of compliance work, 1 hour for lunch, 1 hour for consulting with her business coach. If you don't structure your time, it slips away. Like with new clients, Jackie takes control. She doesn't let others dictate what she will get done. As mentioned, she blocks Fridays off for more 'high level' work. She thinks about how to grow the firm, better herself, plus learn from others. Now, the question she often gets in the accounting world is "What about all the client fires we deal with every day?" Well, clear as day on her website, she says that employees only check emails at 10 am and 2 pm. This gets her employees out of their inbox and focused on tasks on hand. Time gets sucked away when we get pushed and pulled into "emergencies" that are never emergencies. Jackie's set up an email@example.com email to take care of general questions and concerns. This means less emails for her and her team. She's of the mindset that if a client pushes back on her email policy, they just might not be a good fit for the firm. You might think that's selfish, but you're actually helping your clients. If they get used to asking 20 questions every day, it's time wasted for everyone. Not to mention, how often does a client email something like an IRS notice, and they're freaking out. Most of these events are not emergencies. There are very few actual emergencies in accounting. Tax deadline may be the only one. Jackie doesn't want her firm to be known for dropping everything for small potatoes. To help her clients who do worry, she set up a text alert number if they have any immediate problems. In two years, she's received ZERO texts to that number. It's because she's training her clients.
DAVID'S TIP:Never panic when clients reach out with a so-called emergency. Train them by walking them through a protocol to follow. Do it gently but firmly. Make the process easy for clients to follow. They'll feel taken care of.
One way to cut down on emails clogging up the inbox is releasing weekly videos or posts detailing different events that may be coming up. Maybe it's the end of the year and clients will be receiving IRS notices for the following year. Send out a message alerting them of this. That saves hours of repeating the same information to each of your clients who calls. Another idea is to have a system for email subject lines. In the subject, the client/employee can put a (U) which is for urgent. Or, an (E) for emergency. Maybe an emergency means you'll answer in 24 hours. Urgent could mean in the next few hours. This lets the receiver know if they need to answer and act now or can wait.
How to Start Being More Productive Now:
Jackie has a business coach to keep her focused and growing. She's also formed a Facebook group --- Accounting Firm Influencers.Click here to view the group. I'm in the group so you can find me there. In the group, ask questions, help others. It's an awesome way to learn from others and how to implement new ideas into your firm. Another recommendation that was unsolicited was Jackie recommended Jetpack Workflow. She says having an application keep track of open projects gives her peace of mind and less stress when she wakes up. She likes how easy it is to use and for others too as well. Lastly, she's started a coaching business for established firms who are looking to be more profitable and grow. She's offered listeners a free consultation after you fill out a brief survey. Here's a link to see it. RELATED ARTICLES: