The Value Model: Why Billable Hours Aren’t Enough

Billable hours have long been the primary metric for measuring efficiency and productivity in many organizations. Why? The more hours an employee bills, the more revenue they generate on behalf of the organization. The trouble is billable hours do not always give us the full story.

So what is the best way to bill your clients? We suggest focusing on the following metrics instead of an hourly rate.


While there are plenty of reasons why accounting firms should adopt value-based pricing, one of the biggest reasons is that it devalues the work accounting professionals do.

For example, if a client is starting a new business and calls seeking advice on how to structure their business to save on taxes, you can provide guidance that saves them thousands of dollars in taxes in a short phone call. How much is that worth? Is it worth more than you would bill for a short phone call? Even clients would agree it’s worth much more.

Know the value of the service you are providing and bill accordingly.


If you measure by billable hours only, your focus is not on results but on hours or time spent on a client. You’d be surprised at how much time is spent on time-tracking, reporting, and analysis, which is not billable. By measuring results, your accounting team is focused on outcomes rather than keeping track of time.

Additionally, relying on billable hours can potentially make you lose money. Since you’re relying on someone to track their time accurately, it can cost you money if they forget to track time or make a mistake on the hours tracked.

However, if you bill on results, you will have a more focused team and less time wasted on keeping track of time.

Client Relationships

Meaningful contact aims to cement relationships with clients and increase loyalty. However, client engagement may seem short and impersonal with a billable model. Changing to a less-structured billing will allow for longer and deeper conversations with clients, which can build more meaningful relationships and even bring you more clients.

Time for Change

As markets and businesses grow and evolve, and accounting trends shift, the billable model is slowly becoming a thing of the past. But no matter what billing model you choose, focusing on value, results, and client relationships is a great way to ensure your clients value your work and appreciate your services.

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