Over the period of last one decade, I had been grappling with the high work low pay situation and has been trying to understand the whole scenario around it. I have realized that the finance industry especially the consulting services is so saturated and is not getting its worth. We did a study and based upon our observations and discussion with Chartered Accountants, Lawyers and Accountants we have found out 7 shocking mistakes which we all consultant do which has deteriorated our worth. What are those:
Free Knowledge Sharing:
In today’s modern app world, we have noticed that most of professionals including the high end ones are ready to share their insights and knowledge free of costs on the social media platform. Its true, that knowledge when shared increases but that doesn’t work in a competitive market like ours. Those fulfilling their political needs would certainly do prove their credibility and gain confidence of voter. But in normal circumstances free replies to queries on social media platforms not only deteriorate the value but also creates a trap, coming out from which is highly difficult. We need to understand that TCS will never teach engineers at Infosys or a chef at Marriott will never cook for Taj. Because if they do, the entire market goes for a toss, nobody will get its worth.
There is a tendency that whenever a client walks in, most of professionals try to step into his shoes and try to show empathy by providing solutions beyond themselves. We fail to understand that in this time shortage world nobody would visit us till the time he is in dire need. And that is when we should spin the coin to our value. I have seen that from newly passed out to senior most consultants offer year round consultations, telephonic consultation to the client in their meager annual audit fees only. The very approach is faulty. Does a doctor charges annually for year round treatment. He Charges you every time you step in. Annual Audit/Compliance is all together a separate job but that doesn’t mean your knowledge comes for free. And in this process, client starts taking the consultant for granted as if there was never an obligation to pay for his time.
Jack of All:
In the world of cut throat competition, one can find visiting cards of consultants claiming to provide all services under one roof. All means all i.e. GST, Income Tax, ESI/PF, Payroll, Auditing, Company Law, Trade mark, IP laws, Startup Registration, Drafting Services, Book keeping etc. etc. Uh, how is that humanly possible. Can a person having 24 hours a day even working for 15 hours do all that in a setup which is highly corrupt and process oriented. In the era of frequent changes, most of the consultants try to become jack of all by searching clients query on the web and answering them instantly without going into depth of the matter. This obviously would leave the consultants with meager fees and running after their clients.
Over Importance to Client:
As I came into practice, I had always been taught that client should not go at any cost. This had put immense pressure on mind and has created an illusion of giving over importance to the client. But the truth is that client himself is more shrewd than you are. Client is nobodies. He comes with a purpose, once fulfilled, he never turns up. But the industry norms have been set in a way that we go and help the client by going over the top. When someone has such an influence over the consultant, you are obviously expected to compromise and go as instructed by the client.
Not Charging your worth:
In the garb of acquiring clients we tend to render our services at meager price and even for free at initial stages without expressly mentioning the client that its merely an introductory offer. The fees charged at the inception sets your benchmark and clients tend to continue to pay according to it. This leaves the consultants to ask for more which never happens creating a situation of embarrassment and frustration.
Not Defining the Scope of Work:
Most of us as a consultants feel that once we have taken up an assignment, all the legs of the assignment becomes our responsibility. Whereas the fact of the matter is that there is no responsibility other than that specific assignment. For example when a client approaches you for an opinion, we feel that the telephonic consultations around the opinion are complimentary, but no they are separately chargeable. We need to tell this to client. Or another example would be where you have filed a return for the client, we assume that any query raised by the tax around that return is included in fees for filing of return. No that’s not the case, you should separately bill for that. There is a dire need that consultants should precisely define their scope with the client and remain within its boundaries. Any excess work should be duly billed. Time is money after all.
Not Relying on Outsourcing:
We need to understand that we are not married to client. We have a fear that if we refer them to a specialists, he would be gone. He is just a client. Instead of becoming jack of all and providing inefficient services, it is better to pass on the assignment to a specialist. Outsourcing would help you provide better services with client satisfaction and higher margins. The fear of loosing the client has to go, because if you continue to become jack of all, day is not far that once client grows, he will step out of your office. Instead of that, try sending a message to the client that you are a specialist in a particular domain and charge handsome fees for your services. As a consultant we should now start relying on outsourcing our work to make life easy.
The above views are personal based upon analysis, discussion and observation made by Unitax Team over the period of 10 years. The consultant may vary to our view which we respect.