Deeper Weekend 2014

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  • Greg Kyte
    Greg Kyte
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    Jason Blumer
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    Jon Lokhorst
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    Melinda Guillemette
  • Toni Cameron


Hey, do you consider yourself an innovator? Firm owners, a lot of time, struggle with innovation. I was just writing an article for Dext, one of the products we use in our firm, and I was talking about innovation and accounting services. And as I was thinking through it, I had to figure out where has our firm innovated? And there’s a couple of different things I want to highlight. And I think as accountants, we struggle with, “Well, I can’t innovate around compliant services,” right? So accounting, tax, payroll, audit, these kinds of things are locked down, basically. So it is what it is, right?

Well, that’s not actually true. I think you can innovate around those compliant services by offering different levels of service, so that’s an innovation. For example, in our payroll services, we offer different levels of innovation, or different levels of service, and that is the innovation in the service. So we don’t just say, “Buy payroll from us.” We say, “Do you want level one, two or three?” Because we’re going to do different things in those.

And when you create different levels of service, you’re basically creating different levels of value. And when you create different levels of value, it means you’re automatically creating different pricing levels. You get to charge more if you’re doing more valuable things. And so instead of just saying, “Do you want to buy a payroll,” ask them which level? That’s one innovation around compliant services.

Now, there’s another side that you can innovate on as an accounting firm. And that’s the non-compliant stuff that you sell. That’s the advisory stuff. That’s the consulting. And man, you have all kind of ways to innovate around non-compliant services, because those are just anything the client wants to buy. Basically, non-compliant services are just knowledge that you sell.
So a lot of times you’re going to find that your non-compliant services, or what a lot of people called, “Advisory services,” this is knowledge base, which means it’s done with your mouth and in meetings with clients. So you want to sell a meeting where you show up and speak. That is an advisory knowledge deliverable, and that’s kind of what you’re trying to sell.

So when we sell a advisor, or when we innovate around a non-compliant service, which is the delivery of some kind of value, financial advisory value, we sell those in sessions. So 12 sessions, which is one a month in our contracts, or every other month, six months, or quarterly, four times. And that’s basically, “We’ll do your accounting monthly, but we’ll meet with you quarterly.” So those are two different things because they’re two different values.

One is something we do with our fingers, that’s accounting. That has less value, but still very valuable. And one of them is done with our mouth and our brain, that is highly valuable, and it requires our presence and attention. So those are the things that bring a lot of value to something. So if you want to create more valuable things, more money, then attach yourself to a meeting where you speak and talk about financials. That is an advisory service, and it’s one way you can innovate.

So I hope that helps to drive some clarity around, what does it mean to innovate? If you need any more help around that, just hit us up at Thriveal. This is the stuff we do. We coach firm owners through creating innovative services. You can hit us at or you can email us [email protected] We’ll see you. Take care.


Did you know you may not be charging enough money; your price may not be high enough. How do you know that? Well, it is hard to identify an exact price. A lot of people want to identify an exact price for a service or relationship, and you can’t really do that. Why is that? Because prices are identified by value and value that’s the thing that we have problems with. Value is so subjective, that is the thing we can’t nail down. So it’s hard to do pricing. Though it’s a very simple concept, it’s hard to identify somebody’s value appropriately. But you may not be pricing enough.

Here’s what we tell firms. If we work with them to build a really robust, let’s say, client onboarding process, something that is really robust, what we want to see them do is raise their price at the end of the process. Why is that? Because anytime a firm increases in its ability to provide consistent value to a market that it’s serving, anytime it can do that or prove that it does that over time, then it’s more valuable, and if that firm is more valuable, the price should increase.
As we work with firm entrepreneurs over the years, as we see them mature, we try to push them to raise their price, too, because as you mature, you become more valuable, hopefully. Hopefully your maturity comes out in more value to your clients. Then you should be asking for far more money in return because of your value.

Just keep that in mind. If you’re thinking about some things you’ve been doing that drive more consistent value to your clients, it may be time to raise your price and start to get the money that really is required for you to scale and get your capacity paid for in different ways.
I hope that helps. We do this kind of complex work with firms in Thriveal, so if you need our help, let us know at [email protected] Thanks so much. Take care.

CPA firm, Pricing, Strategy


In the CPA firm world, there’s a disparity between two things. So my partner and I, we work a lot with CPA firms, with firms trying to grow, so we know them and accounting firm owners really care about their clients. That is just something that’s about these entrepreneurs, these service-based entrepreneurs, that serve in the accounting world. I think it’s just the types of people that become accountants, that run firms, I don’t know, but they really do care about their clients.

But here’s the thing we hear and I know other firms hear often when they get a new client, they always say, “That last firm never cared about me. They didn’t follow up, they didn’t lead me. I would’ve given them more money. They didn’t tell me new things I could purchase from them.” We hear this disparity often where we know accounting firm owners care about their clients, but yet when you hear clients change firms, they describe something that sounds the opposite where the other firm didn’t care about them. There’s this disparity and what is that?

Well, there are some client management strategies called onboarding where you can actually bring a client along to understand how to work within your firm. A lot of times the difference in disparities is really a lack of education. It’s a client not fully understanding what that firm intends to do for them and how it doesn’t match what the client wants them to do. There’s this disparity often in the knowledge or education in the service being provided. accounting firm owners think caring looks one way because they do it for all their clients whereas a client is looking for very specific care in another way. It takes education through an onboarding process for a firm to tell a client exactly what they’re buying, what they’re going to get, what they’re not going to get, what they can do, what that client can not do, these kinds of things help a client understand, “Oh, this is the kind of care I’m paying for,” and that clarity alone really keeps a client coming back to a firm over and over and over.

And they do. They start to understand. You allow the client to be a better partner of yours when you educate them on what the scope is that they do get or don’t get and then they’ll stay with you. Often a client will say, “Hey, I know this is not in scope, but I want to give you more money to do a new thing for me.” That’s when that client’s become a great partner, when they understand how they’re meant to inform you as their firm how to help that client grow.
But how do you lead these client management strategies? Well, that’s up to the firm. It’s the firm’s responsibility to build an onboarding process, to bring a client into their firm in a way that helps them understand how they’re going to be cared for. If that’s something you struggle with, we help firms with things like that in Thriveal. Hit us up at [email protected] and we’ll walk you through the complexities of how to figure this out. Thanks so much. Take care.


Hello, firm entrepreneur. What do you do when you have to pivot? Maybe you’ve been thrown off in the year 2020 and 2021. We have pivoted like crazy, just like everybody else. And how do you do pivots? Pivots can really throw you.

So what’s a pivot? That’s when you’re just walking along in your firm, running your firm, doing what you normally do, and some grenade is thrown in by the Congress, or a pandemic, or people, or whatever it may be, and it kind of blows up your plans. And so what do you do when you have to pivot? Well, the best thing for us in our firm that’s helped us when we’re pivoting is that we already had a plan. And sometimes, we can’t even tell. But that’s more helpful than we realize. And so anybody that watches what we do, or listens to some of the things we teach, calendar work blocking is a huge part of how we plan our future. And we really believe in it. It really does help us. It’s sustained us for managing and planning our work for years and years.

So what we have is a plan all the way through the end of the year. And so that plan tells us what we want to help us know if we’re going to achieve what we want to achieve. And when we have a grenade of a pivot come in, it really blows up that calendar. And basically, what that does is it tells us, all right, we need to slow down for a little bit. We need to change the pace of our business. So a pivot can really just disorient you so bad that you don’t know what you should do. You don’t know if you should keep going, change, stop, close down, whatever. It’s hard to know.

But if you’ve already had a plan in place that is a plan on a calendar, you can actually see should you just slow down, should you change the pace of your growth? If you were going to hire two people, should you just stop doing that now? And so a preformed plan, you can really see how it gets blown up when you go through a pivot. So that’s probably the best advice we could give about pivots.

Now, if you have no plan at all and a pivot comes, it’s so disorienting. You don’t even know what plan just got knocked off course because you didn’t have a plan. So that’s why locking yourself into a plan is very safe. So that when you do have to pivot, you can see that plan blow up. And that is so beneficial, even to watch your plan blow up, and know, “All right, I’m not doing that. I’m not doing that. I’m not doing that.” At least you can choose the three or four things you’re not going to do anymore.

So that’s our advice if you’re dealing with pivots in an entrepreneurial firm, is that go ahead and get your plans in place for the rest of the year. Be bold enough to lock those in. And when pivots are forced upon you, you’ll know how to change those. So we hope that helps. If you need any help, you can reach us at Just go to [email protected] to email us. Or you can go to on our site. Or reach out to us at @Thrivealcpas on any social channel, and we’ll help you if we can. Thanks so much.


We do a lot of work consulting with service-based companies. And one thing that service-based companies struggle with in their growth is when to split their company, running their company, into different lanes. And here’s what I mean by that. So when you get to three to five people in a services-based company, that gets to a point where all of the people producing the revenue, which are typically at that point technical people, maybe one helper, what they all do is they fail to split the technical services revenue lane of the company into a movement lane. And so when you get to that many people, three to five, what you want to do is split the lanes and start working on having an operational movement lane.

And so what do I mean by movement lane? Well, that’s the lane of the company where you start moving the work along. That’s like somebody scheduling appointments, keeping up with contracts, putting the contracts into a workflow system. It’s somebody that’s always doing the details of making sure work is moving along so that the technical revenue team in the other lane, they don’t have to worry about some of that movement stuff. And so when you get to a certain point in a services company, you want to split revenue production with movement in a company. And that starts to create a lot of strategic decisions. Now you have one person, the movement person, that’s project manager, an ops manager, even an administrative person, whatever you want to title them, support, strategic support ops person, whatever that movement is, they don’t have to worry about being client facing and revenue generating. They just get to think about serving the company and moving things along.

And so that’s a real, solid, strategic way we found for people to keep their services company going, and one they overlook or don’t know about. And so we’ve learned it over time, and it’s been such a help to our team, and allow us to really provide proactive service to our clients. So I hope that helps. Let us know if you need more help on that. We teach these kind of things in Thriveal. You can find us at Thanks so much. We’ll see you.


This is a two part series on conversations, and I mentioned in the other video that we can help you in Thriveal with knowing how to have better conversations in your firm. We do that in Thriveal. So, [email protected] if you want to email us. We have a lot of programs and coaching and just ways in our community to support firm owners that are growing. So what I talked about in the first video in this two part series is how to define your conversation with a number, like an alert system is kind of what we’re building in our firm. Well, another thing we’re building in our firm is a context and directional chart about our conversation. Basically, what we mean is there is context to all conversations and we’re breaking that into two different types of contexts. There’s organizational strategy context and service strategy context. And so the owners have most of the contexts or all of the contexts. They have all of the contexts about the strategy of the organization and how it’s going to grow into the future.

Then you move down from that and you may have a leadership team. A leadership team has a more limited level of context of strategy. Now, the leadership team is being taught the organizational strategy from the owners, but they’re not deciding that. Now, they would influence it. What the leadership team is doing is really building the service strategy. That is how this firm is going to pull off service and deliverables to their clients. That’s a big deal. And so then the leadership team takes the context of the service strategy and jumps down another level and shares that with the team. The team has less of the service strategy. And what are they focused on as the team? They’re focused on boots on the ground work, their executionary work. And so the leadership team we’re teaching to not share all the context with the team because that context gets confusing. The team just needs to go, “All right, here’s the service strategy. Let’s go knock it out.”

Then that conversation direction of that context goes all the way down to the clients. Of course, the clients don’t care at all about the context of our organizational or service strategy, right? That’s internal stuff. All they care about is the outcome, the external outcome that they’re purchasing, they’re paying for. And so we share even less context with the clients about our strategy for growth or our service strategy to fulfill our service to them. Now, we do tell them some of those things as clients, but it’s only towards the goal of serving them and producing the deliverables and justifying the revenue that they’re paying us.

So in the first video, we talked about a conversation alert system to know what system we’re on, what number we’re on. This one, we’re talking about how much context you pass down to different levels of groups of people in your company and the direction of that context, and how it goes, and how you limit the context of things you share in conversations. This all gets very, very complicated, but this is something we would love for you to come to, join us as a member, and we’ll be able to help you understand how these things work, and you can start to learn more about these things. So I hope that helps. Let us know, [email protected] Take care.