Accounting Influencers Roundtable


Negotiating & Pricing Tips for Accountants with Malcolm Smith

Episode 13. In today’s interview, “Negotiating & Pricing Tips for Accountants with Malcolm Smith.”

Malcolm Smith has a background in science and marketing which gives him unique insights into how businesses negotiate, transact and develop. Today he employs this considerable expertise through a portfolio of non-executive directorships and owned businesses. He is a keynote lecturer on Leadership, Project Management, Negotiation, Influencing and Consultative Selling at London Business School, Cass Business School, Oxford University SAID Business School and Cambridge University Judge Business School.

Key takeaways from this episode include:

➜ how accountancy compares to other sectors in commoditising its offering, and what is driving that move

➜ the main reason accountants charge by the hour and why they shouldn’t

➜ how even the revered doctors and general medical practitioners have become commoditised through availability of knowledge

➜ why accounting compliance has become less valued in the eyes of clients

➜ the major downside for accountants of becoming commoditised and undifferentiated

➜ how advanced tech like AI can allow you to be profitable as a commodity in accounting

➜ the dangers of ‘proximity bias’ that causes accountants to undervalue their skills

➜ tips for accounting firms to expand their core offerings into advising and consulting services

➜ an example of what ‘proactive brilliance’ looks like for an accountant

➜ the best way to find out what your ‘value-adds’ are as an accounting firm

➜ the benefits of asking your clients why they choose you and building your accounting firm’s proposition around the answers

➜ the three value disciplines in a professional firm that allow you to charge premium fees

➜ the biggest cost in running an accounting firm, and why your fees need to reflect that

➜ the big mistake poor negotiators make when handling fee conversations with their accounting clients or prospects

➜ why non-F2F negotiation is more difficult than being in the same room as people

➜ the biggest issue for accountants when negotiating on video platforms like zoom

➜ the importance of the ‘opening position’ for accountants when negotiating deals and setting fees

➜ the dangers of using ’round numbers’ when setting and negotiating your accounting or consulting fees

➜ negotiation tips for accounting firms, especially in a virtual, non-F2F world

➜ the problem many accountants make in giving away unilateral concessions in negotiations

➜ how accounting professionals can get much better and more confident in handling common sales objections

➜ why accountants should always quote money rather than hours for a particular job or service

➜ the importance for accountants to never invoice the negotiated amount.

Malcolm was Speaker of the Year for Vistage International in 2007, 2011 and 2015 and has won the Outperformer Award every year since 2004. He scored the last goal ever at Eastville Stadium, Bristol UK) before it became an IKEA store. Contact him here:

Website and blog



The Accounting Influencers Podcast is a daily radio-style show with four segments coming out every Monday which are repeated on the other 4 weekdays as standalone episodes, plus a bonus ‘from the client’s perspective’ episode on Saturdays . On Sundays, listeners get a short min trailer for the coming week’s episodes.

Every Tuesday the show gives you a relevant news topic from the accounting and fintech world with a direct application to accountants, CPAs and bookkeepers. Great to stay informed and build your commercial acumen.

Every Wednesday and Friday, we feature an uncut interview with top authors, leaders, thinkers and performers in the accounting and fintech world.

Every Thursday the show gives you a practical ‘here’s what works’ tips concerning a key challenge, need or strategy for accountants, CPAs and bookkeepers. Great to stay current and keep your skills topped up.

Finally, every Saturday gives listeners a bonus episode which focuses on the buyers of accounting services – the clients themselves. In particular how they feel, react to and experience their interactions with accountants. That includes why they buy or don’t buy, why they move or stay and why they think how they think about you, your firm, your prices and your offerings.

Martin and Rob love to hear from the show’s 18000+ unique listeners in 144 countries around the world. If you like the show, leave a review wherever you listen, and please recommend the show to your friends and colleagues.