The Alignment Fee is used when you are on-boarding a client into your accountancy firm partway through their year. It is designed to bring the client’s payment into alignment with their ongoing monthly fee.
If you’re on-boarding a client partway through the year, it is important as an accountant that you make sure that you charge for those missed months of payments. For example, something like Annual Accounts that you deliver at the end of the year, but charge for over twelve payments.
We call this The Alignment Fee, and it’s an excellent way to charge your clients for those missed months of work.
Let’s say you onboard that client in month four, they’ve missed out on those three payments. It’s really important that you charge for them for a few reasons:
- It impacts your profitability, because you’re not charging for all the work you’re doing
- It undermines your authority, because you need to communicate to your client that you’re an expert at this type of thing .
The Alignment Fee In Your Proposals
The process goes like this…
1. You’re sat with a prospect in a meeting, you agree what their year-end is and when we’re going to be starting working with them.
2. You would then chose the services the client needs, such as Annual Accounts, which is going to trigger the Alignment Fee. Directors Tax Returns will too. Shown below.
3. The monthly fee will now appear with the Alignment fee showing. You would now begin to communicate the value of this to your prospect.
How To Communicate The Value Of The Alignment Fee To Your Clients
1. To communicate the value of this to your prospect during the meeting, we recommend using the below script to follow during the meeting:
“Payment for Annual Accounts and Directors Tax Returns are calculated over twelve months. As we are on-boarding you after month four of your financial year, you have six months remaining of this year. There is a pro-rated amount of 1164 pounds to pay. “How is this to be paid?”
2. It’s now down to you to take control of the payment choice. You should say to your prospect that you either have to pay it as a one-off fee. otherwise you’re going to spread that payment over the remaining eight months of the year. This will make it more manageable for them to pay.
Why Do We Need The Alignment Fee?
Firstly, let’s say this client is going to speak to different accountancy firms. The likelihood of those accountancy firms charging for those missed payments is very unlikely.
So what we don’t want to do is bump the price of our monthly fee up. They’ll then be comparing us to what the other accountant is charging, and I assure you they won’t be charging for the missed payments.
So instead, we show them what they will be paying moving forward for the services we’ve agreed. Then, separate to this, there is the Alignment Fee box on the proposal.
So we’ve now said something along the lines of:
“Well, this is the fee you’ll be paying moving forward. You’ve also got eight months at 80 pounds to pay. So the combined total is X, the VAT on that is X amount. Therefore, the grand total is 433 pounds and 20 pence.”
This is a really clear way of communicating this fee to the client.
We’ve worked very closely with many of our GoProposal members to bring clairty to the Alignment Fee. To give you the confidence to communicate this to your clients, for your team to clearly communicate this to your clients. But also, for your clients to really understand exactly what this is and why it must be paid.
Secondly, and probably most importantly, you are the expert on the way that you charge for your services. You want to position yourself to your prospect as an expert on cashflow, and most of all that you’re an expert on profitability.
Charge What You’re Really Worth
We want to show that our accountancy firm needs to charge what it’s really worth. This is in order to provide services of real value to their company, and in order to keep them profitable.
We can guarantee that the other accountancy firms, who don’t charge the Alignment Fee, and who seem ‘cheaper’ each month, can not ensure the health of their own firm. Therefore can not ensure the health of theirs either.
So that’s why we always make sure that we’re charging for everything that we do. We never leave any money on the table.
Contact us on our round the clock in-app support to find out more.