The Billable Hour

Why You Should Kill the Billable Hour in Your Accounting Firm

Read Time: 3:07 minutes

✋Welcome to The CAS Cache, a newsletter designed to help accounting firms grow their CAS offerings in five minutes or less.

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There is a lot of theory in pricing regarding professional services. I will explain my pricing tactics over the next few issues as it was a hot topic during my conversation with Kate, Chief Hustler of Bookkeeping Side Hustle.

Before we dive into my tactics, I want to discuss one of the biggest problems of CAS with accounting firms—billing by the hour.

You are either giving away your expertise or charging for your ignorance by billing by the hour.

You have to kill the billable hour for three reasons: 

  1. Your clients and you hate it

  2. Lack of commitment

  3. Scale

Your Clients and You Hate Billing by the Hour

Imagine walking into a business and you ask them the price. They inform you that they will tell you at the end. You 💯are walking back out the door without buying, so why would you do this to a client? 

You want your client to focus on the value you provide at the end, not the bill. So, give them an upfront price.

Lack of commitment

Clients will put accounting and consulting aside when busy or times get tough. Shutting off the billable hour spigot makes it even easier for them to ghost you. By setting a fixed price, you are asking for a commitment from your client. 

The client commits to getting the necessary information and attending meetings when they have a recurring bill. The commitment is even stronger when you collect automatically upfront each month.   

I recommend all firms move to a zero-day accounts receivable model for stronger commitment and cash flow. I use Ignition in my firm to make this seamless with clients.


Billing by the hour is unpredictable. As mentioned before, clients will stop utilizing your CAS services when they get busy. I see accounting firms trying to counter this by either loading up staff with more clients than they could handle or using them to serve tax and audit clients. Both will lead to either burnout or client dissatisfaction.

Fixed pricing creates predictability and makes scaling easier. You can now reverse-engineer capacity to know when to hire—more on this in the next issue. 

Selling other partners in your accounting firm can be the biggest challenge of moving off the billable hour. In my experience, proof is all they need. In the next few issues, I will go over how to make this transition a little smoother than I did.

Thanks for reading, Luke Templin!

P.S. There are four ways I can help you grow your CAS offerings when you are ready:

  1. Automate your CAS offering with daily financial digest on autopilot

  2. Apply to join my How to Start Offering Advisory Services Cohort. The first one, starting in January, filled up instantly, so apply to hear about the next cohort!

  3. Mini-courses on CAS

  4. Join Megan Tarnow and me at the #CASsaloon every fourth Thursday at 2 PM CST on “X” to talk all things CAS.