By Jay N. Nisberg
I read with great interest your article (“The diffusion of a new idea,” Accounting Today, June 21-July 11, 2004, p. 9) in which you accused the “consultants to the profession” of being obstacles to promoting the idea of the end of time sheets and the hourly billing rate. For the most part, I enjoyed what you wrote until I felt this unwarranted attack upon myself as a deterrent to value billing.
Let me suggest that, before you ubiquitously accuse “all” consultants of anything, you do your homework. Truth be told, I was advising groups of CPAs at Management of an Accounting Practice conferences and during individual consultations to take this position as early as the mid-1980s, throughout the 1990s, and still do so presently. I believe my advocacy of this position was initiated long before you were even consulting to the CPA profession.
Through the 1990s, I frequently delivered a presentation that I titled, “Wimps No More,” on this very subject before dozens of MAP conferences and national association meetings. Unfortunately, I must assume that you missed any one of the hundreds of lectures I delivered on this subject.
In the late 1990s, while working with a well-known CPA firm in Massachusetts, I suggested the elimination of hourly rates that they adopted as a technique to indicate their uniqueness. Ron, I believe that if you touch base with any of the hundreds of firms I have touched over the years, you will find that this was a recurring theme of mine long before you hit the value billing campaign.
I would like to remind you of our dinner in Nashville, Tenn., some months ago as the guest of my most competent colleague, Troy Waugh, when we discussed value pricing and billing. I articulated my support for this charge theory and shared stories of what I have done to promote it. The meal was excellent. However, I am afraid the food was your only recollection.
Having said all of the above, I still congratulate you on your efforts to change a long-standing, counterproductive characteristic of the CPA profession. I enjoy your publications and would hope you might read mine with equal diligence. In any event, I enjoyed the dinner referred to above and hope that before you lump “all CPA consultants” into one bunch, you either make a few phone calls or delineate exceptions to your observations with more care.
I wish you continued success to this end, and hope we both see CPAs earn what they are truly worth in the near future.
Jay N. Nisberg, Ph.D., is a consultant to the CPA profession and president of Jay Nisberg & Associates Ltd., in Ridgefield, Conn.
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