Advisory Resources

How to Sell, Deliver, and Get Paid for People Advisory Services

Joshua Lance CPA, CGMA, Managing Director of Lance CPA Group 

As accountants and bookkeepers begin to provide People Advisory services, it’s crucial to identify why these services are valuable and articulate this value to your clients.

Throughout this piece, I’m going to delve into three best practices on how you can begin to sell, deliver, and get paid for People Advisory services.

Start with the right sales process

Before we begin billing for People Advisory, we need to get off on the right foot by ensuring that we have the proper sales process in place. Rushing through your sales process can result in under-pricing your services, bringing on a client that isn’t the right fit for your firm, or losing the new client entirely. That’s why it’s essential first to understand what state they’re in and what they need—this is how you work out where you can truly provide value. Take the time to have a detailed exploratory conversation with your prospective client, so you save time later down the track. 

Have a standardized sales process within your firm that you execute every time you’re dealing with a prospect. At the end of your discovery call, you should be able to answer the following questions:

  • Is this prospective client a good fit for us?
  • Do they align with who we serve and the services we provide?
  • Do they value our work?
  • Do they actually know what they want?
  • Do we have an agreed-upon, well-defined scope?

From there, begin identifying the scope of People Advisory services you can provide.

Identify the scope and price

Accounting professionals often find themselves doing additional work for free or for less than it’s worth because they haven’t properly assessed the entire scope of work (aka scope creep). With scope creep, you spend more time working on a project than you’d imagined—and you may even end up taking a loss on the job.

Your standardized sales process should have one main goal in mind: identifying the precise scope of services. This will ensure that you don’t run into scope creep issues and that you’re on the same page with your clients.

Practice Ignition is a great tool to use when scoping out your services. It confirms that the client understands the specific work you’re completing. This mutual understanding is essential when providing People Advisory services for clients and reaffirms the value you’re providing. As a starting point, your scope for People Advisory services should include:

  • payroll, 
  • client employee benefits, and 
  • any other advisory services specific to their people operations.

Practice Ignition has also provided a helpful People Advisory service library template that you can use to get started.

Once you understand the scope of each service, you’ll be able to price the services appropriately—especially when you provide a fixed-fee price to your client. Offering proposal options is a great way to ensure that your client selects the right services and pricing for their needs.

For example, when it comes to People Advisory Services, you may want to offer three options:

  • Option one: Payroll compliance services 
  • Option two: Payroll and benefits advisory 
  • Option three: The full People Advisory package with payroll, benefits, and people operations advisory.

Your client can then choose the option that provides them with the services they want at the price they can afford.

When presenting options and pricing, make it crystal clear how you’re going to bill your prospective client. A best practice is to show your pricing as a fixed monthly recurring fee that will be auto-debited from their bank account. This makes it clear how they will be paying you.

Close the sale with the right proposal

Once you’ve gone through the standardized sales process and identified the exact scope of services, you can now craft the right proposal to close the sale. Every People Advisory proposal you send out should be as follows:

  • Professional: The proposal should be a good representation of your firm. Ensure it’s free from spelling and grammatical errors, provides a good customer experience, and is sent over promptly.
  • Personality: The proposal should reflect your firm’s brand—in other words, who your firm is. For example, including personalized videos according to each client.
  • Unique Value: Be clear on why you differ from other firms and why they should choose you. Highlight your expertise, identifying what you bring to the table that other firms don’t.
  • Scope and Pricing: As stated above, having a clearly defined scope and pricing is critical.
  • Next Steps: Make it clear what happens next when your prospective client is ready to sign up. These next steps may include getting their payment information, signing an engagement letter, and what they can expect from you once an engagement letter is signed.

Using Practice Ignition allows you to provide proposals representing your firm’s personality, show what you bring to the table, and offer flexibility around your scoping and pricing. Practice Ignition also enables you to collect payment details and have your client sign the engagement letter from right inside the proposal itself. This makes it easy to go from proposal to paid in a matter of minutes.

By implementing these best practices, your firm will be on the right path to selling People Advisory services to your clients.

If you want to dive in and get started using Practice Ignition’s specialized People Advisory templates, go ahead and book a demo now.

Joshua Lance
Joshua Lance Joshua Lance is the founder and Managing Director of Lance CPA Group, a virtual CPA firm that focuses on providing accounting and consulting services to craft breweries and digital agencies. A licensed Certified Public Accountant and Chartered Global Management Accountant, Josh is also a family man who calls Chicago home. Before venturing on his own with a mission to help small businesses, Josh spent his early career at Crowe LLP before working as a Controller at an ultra-high net worth family office. Josh is also an adjunct professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL teaching accounting in the Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and McCormick School of Engineering. He enjoys making wine and beer at home, cooking, traveling, and cheering on his favorite football and soccer teams. Josh was honored by being selected to the 2017 class of the AICPA Leadership Academy and was named as one of the 40 under 40 in 2017, 2018, and 2019 by CPA Practice Advisor. Josh was recently appointed to the Illinois CPA Society Board of Directors and the AICPA PCPS Executive Committee.
Back to top