Accounting Influencers Roundtable


Innovation Beyond Technology in Accounting: Ed Kless

Discover how innovation transforms accounting with Ed Kless of Sage Accountants Solutions, with perspectives on business models and pricing.

“Innovation Beyond Technology in Accounting” Rob Brown speaks with Ed Kless, Senior Director of Sage Accountants Solutions, about innovation in the accounting industry. With 18 years of experience working for Sage, Ed has a wealth of knowledge about helping accounting partners, influencers, and customers improve their businesses.

Ed discusses the history of Sage and a think tank started by Ron Baker that helped to initiate the value pricing movement. He maintains that the billing model needs to be revised by the hour, as it focuses on efficiency rather than effectiveness. He also talks about the issue of tracking time and how innovation is about bringing disparate things together to create something new, using examples such as a skateboard and stroller combined.

The conversation delves into innovation around business models, delivery, packaging, pricing, and language. The speakers discuss the value of social capital and the importance of making connections, even with weak connections, to help others. They also discuss subscription marketing and how companies can innovate to create offerings that provide customers experiences and transformations beyond the product itself.

Using the example of the Fender guitar, the speakers discuss the importance of creating an offering that surrounds what customers are after, which could be peace of mind, experiences, or transformations. They highlight the power of language in changing mindsets and how Disney’s language changes played a role in creating attractions rather than rides.

Overall, this episode provides insightful and valuable perspectives on innovation in the accounting industry and how companies can create offerings that genuinely serve their customers’ needs.

 Key Takeaways

➤ The traditional billing model of charging by the hour is no longer effective in today’s marketplace. Instead, firms should focus on delivering value to their clients and pricing their services based on that value.

➤ Innovation is not just about technology but about bringing disparate things together to create something new. This includes innovative business models, delivery methods, packaging, pricing, and language.

➤ Social capital and networking are important for building connections and helping others. Even weak connections can be valuable and lead to new opportunities.

➤ Subscription marketing can be a powerful tool for firms looking to provide experiences and transformations beyond the product itself. The key is to focus on what customers are ultimately after, whether it’s peace of mind, experiences, or transformations.

➤ The power of language should not be underestimated. Using language that focuses on the benefits and outcomes of a service or product can change clients’ mindsets and lead to increased sales.

Ed Kless is a Senior Director at Sage Accountants Solutions, where he develops and delivers courses on leadership, strategy, pricing, and project management. He also serves as a facilitator of the Sage Leadership Academy and a liaison to the Sage Leadership Academy Alumni Association. Ed is a senior fellow at the VeraSage Institute and a consultant for Tipping Point Advisors. He hosts “The Soul of Enterprise: Business in the knowledge economy” with Ron Baker on VoiceAmerica Talk Radio/


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