In 2004, I first encountered the name, Ron Baker. I have Gary Boomer to thank for that at an event held in Kansas City for CPA practices. He recommended the book, The Firm of the Future. I couldn’t put it down while vacationing in North Carolina. While I consider Ron the (very young) grandfather of value pricing for CPA and professional services firms, many acolytes are sharing his message with zeal and effectiveness. One such person is Geraldine Carter.
Who is Geraldine Carter?
Before becoming a consultant focusing on value pricing, niching down, and helping CPA firms develop value-driven services for their clients, she was the CFO of an organization she co-founded. A frustrating experience with her CPA ultimately led her to zero in on other CPA firms to avoid what she once encountered as a client.
The Transition to CPA Firms
- Engineering degree
- Loved math and science
- Fell into the finance role in a 2008 venture she co-founded
- Needed CPA help, but not a great experience
- First consulting project was with a CPA firm
I immediately started fighting with my CPA because she would report on April, it would be June, and I would need to know how much money I had for August.
Can you help me forecast these numbers? And she would say, “No, that’s not what I do.” And I would think to myself, “Well, that should be what you do because it’d be really valuable for me because I could stop leaving the office at eight o’clock at night because I’ve been running, modeling and forecasting, spreadsheets and other things.Geraldine Carter
Cannot be a Generalist
- Niching down applies to all professional services firms
- Marketing is far easier when niching
- Leads to other revenue-generating activities
The ‘Why’ to Niching
- Start with knowing what clients need
- Easier to figure out how to get best results with those clients identified
- Easier to get crystal clear about a custom process to deliver quality, consistent results
- Tech platforms can be simplified
- By the way, “… professional services firms is not a niche.”
- The firm becomes a subject matter expert in their niche
When you focus on a narrow niche and a narrow industry, you get to know it really well. You get to know who the key players are, and you know who to talk to you. You get to hear what rings true and the lingo. It makes the marketing so much easier.Geraldine Carter
The Strategic Small Firm
- Who are the very best clients?
- Which ones are the most enjoyable to work with?
- Who can you provide the best value to?
- Is this strategy simple or hard?
- Pick an industry, determine services, price, then plan
What Are the Obstacles to Change?
- Loss aversion
- Not enough time – too busy already
The Zone of Genius
- The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks
- Leverage talents
- Next step after hitting a success plateau
- When boredom becomes a trap
- Learning to challenge self again
Favorite Books and Authors
We ask every guest about their favorite books and authors. Here are a few titles and authors mentioned:
- Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
- Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
- Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
- Seth Godin
- Mark Wickersham
What is Geraldine Carter’s And?
Geraldine has a fascinating And, the activities she enjoys doing outside of her work and business. In her 20s, she ran five marathons. The IRONMAN became her next personal challenge to see if she could pull it off. “And it was indeed challenging, but it was a fun day.”