Do Your Accounting Fees Equal Value? – April 10, 2014 by Randy Myeroff

As we approach the April 15th tax filing deadline, I am reminded of how fortunate we are to have such great clients and great client relationships. The culture at Cohen & Company has always been a bit different than at other accounting firms. We focus on helping entrepreneurs and privately held companies identify opportunities; building close business relationships is an important part of our success. One component of truly enabling those relationships is appropriately structuring accounting fee arrangements that encourage interaction.

What is the right fee structure for accounting services? While there are complex projects that may require traditional hourly billing, many accounting and tax engagements can be — and should be, in our opinion — structured as Fixed Price Agreements (FPAs). Instead of charging our clients each time they pick up the phone to ask a question or toss out a business idea and wonder about its tax implications, our all-inclusive FPAs allow us to break down the barriers, hesitation and fear of additional costs. The FPA relationship means our clients have ongoing access to their service team and the rest of the firm’s professionals. They can call when they want, have regular meetings with their team and in general are able to integrate Cohen & Company advisors into their business as much as they want or need to. We also have the responsibility to proactively engage with our clients. We partner with them throughout the year to plan ahead and identify resources, opportunities or roadblocks on the horizon.

At the end of the day, getting the “right price” for accounting services really means identifying the right structure that will provide you with what you need from your advisors. Ask yourself if there is value in what you are receiving from your accounting firm. Is a structure in place that allows for budget certainty, an ongoing partnership and peace of mind? In many cases, an FPA is the right way to do business and can offer the value and advisory relationship a business deserves.

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This communication is for information only, and any action should only be taken after a detailed review of the specific situation and appropriate consultation.

Notwithstanding that these materials do not constitute legal, accounting or other professional advice, as may be required by United States Treasury Regulations and IRS Circular 230, you should be advised that these materials are not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used by you or any other person, for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed under federal tax laws. No written statement contained in these materials may be used by any person to support the promotion or marketing of or to recommend any federal tax transaction(s) or matter(s) addressed in these materials, and any taxpayer should seek advice based on the taxpayer’s particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor with respect to any such federal tax transaction matter.