Jody Padar is a CPA with 25 years experience. She founded her New Vision CPA Group out of the frustration of working at an “old school” firm. Her “why” is to change the culture of traditional CPA practices.
Jody has written two books to help accountants create a better experience for their customers and employees. Her first book is The Radical CPA, and the second is From Success to Significance.
[00:00:00] Welcome to the Art of Value Show, Jody Padar. Jody has been a CPA for 25 years. Her firm is called New Vision CPA Group. When I asked Jody to describe her firm she said there's two whys. The first is for their firm. They want to use technology to grow as close to their customers as possible. But her personal why is that she's out to change the culture of CPA firms. To that end she's written two books. The first one, The Radical CPA, and her second book to be published soon, From Success to Significance.
[00:00:36] When I asked Jodi something unique about herself, she said she's a bad TV junkie. Now you may wonder what that means. She likes to watch shows like the 90-Day Fiancée and Sister Wives. You can find her online at New Vision CPA dot com and the Radical CPA dot com. Jodi welcome to the show.
[00:00:55] Thank you.
[00:00:56] It's a pleasure to have you. We actually got to spend two and a half days together back in November at the Value Conference. So first thank you for attending but it was really fun just to get to hang out with you in some of your peers.
[00:01:10] It was a great event. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot too actually.
[00:01:13] Well I appreciate that and we'll talk some more about that maybe later. But let's start where we always do what's the most important thing you can share about pricing.
[00:01:22] It's a process. So, I think everyone thinks you wake up one day and you know how to price. And I think I've been on this pricing journey for like 12 years now and I keep evolving to the next level. And one I think I kind of get it. I totally get like thrown off my rocker and I have to like kind of re-evaluate everything that I thought that I knew and start over.
[00:01:49] So you get to a point where you say OK here's a new concept we're going to implemented and then you get to a point where you're like OK now we've got to evolve that again. Do you have an example offhand that might demonstrate that?
[00:02:01] I think what happens is like your pricing evolves as you and your firm evolves and so that I don't think I realize because I think your brand is always evolving. And so, then what happens is this stuff that you used to accept as being a really good price. Three years ago is no longer the right price for your firm because your firm has evolved its set has evolved as well as you've evolved in what you understand the value to be.
[00:02:31] And so then you have to evolve everything around with that in a different way to say it is as you learn and grow as the leader of a business that influences your business which in turn you're going to be creating more value for the customer and as you're creating new types of value you're increasing the value that you do create your pricing has got to adjust accordingly.
[00:02:53] I don't think most people get that because we live in a fixed price world. Most people who price things think that pricing is the same and they don't realize the subjectivity of it and I think that's the hardest part to understand.
[00:03:07] Do you find that CPA and bookkeepers wrestle with the subjective component more than anything else that's always been my observation from the outside CPA or trained on numbers, debits and credits, give me a formula, and this idea of using subjectivity to come up with a price which initially to CPAC bookkeepers is just another number that is just something that's hard to wrap not your brain around but your heart around.
[00:03:34] Yeah, I mean I think it's hard to put subjectivity because to me a number is a number and whether it's five million dollars or 500 dollars to me is the same number. Right. And how I'm going to treat that number is the same. So, then you asked me to put a price around it. And it's hard for me to bring back in all the other things that make it a different thing and the risks and everything else that makes it subjective and so that the hard part. Because when I look at a number whether the numbers 500 dollars or 5 million dollars to me is just a number.
[00:04:12] In other words it's the context of the number which gets into what our friend Ron Baker says about pricing the customer not the service you need to understand the context around the number because it's that context that determines the value that then you price.
[00:04:27] And it's hard for me to put context because again when I think of context I think of all these other facts that are creating that context not necessarily subjective intuitive things because they're not facts that have to go into that context as well the circumstances right.
[00:04:47] Because I think in fact not necessarily circumstances and it's those circumstances that create the context that I think is so difficult to wrap your head around is the difference between objectivity i.e. facts and subjectivity as you refer to it circumstances as we were talking before the show getting ready to record. You know I asked you about your background and you mentioned you know you started out in another CPA firm and basically you said this is not the way I want to do business. So, you branched out on your own to create your own firm and I mention you know I'm an outsider looking in. Meaning I'm not an accountant or a bookkeeper but some of the things that accountants are being asked to do to me seem like common sense. But yes, some people say common sense is not so common. So let's back up to actually your first book I want to go through some of these tenets and see where you are today because obviously you wrote the first book a while back but there were 14 as you outlined some of to give them and then we'll kind of go over each one so the cloud or cloud technology social business not social media value pricing which obviously is my big one and then process which I would almost maybe describe that also is journey I think processes are ways to kind of put milestones along the journey. But let's backup cloud technology as a software guy and like you know you told me during the show prep you're like we been in the cloud for 10 years and I'm like so. But that's a big deal.
[00:06:15] Why is that a big deal because most accounts haven't been in the cloud for 10 years so what happened was this 10 years ago the technology for accountants wasn't where it should be. They weren't they weren't producing those technologies because accountants were adopting them. And so that was one of my things is to help push the adoption so that I could get better technologies for my customers. But the reason it's so critical is because from what the cloud does is it allows us to share data and that data sharing that gives us insight which can allow us to create more value which in the past. If your accountant isn't in the cloud you don't have that opportunity to create as much value and the other thing it does is it takes the time because we used to spend so much time just doing the work.
[00:07:07] If you allow the technology to do the work now you can actually spend time on inside. And you know I love Ron but twenty-five years ago it was a lot harder to price for value because we were so busy just doing the work that it was harder to find the insight or to charge for the insight because we spent so much time doing the work and we couldn't even think about it because we were just doing it.
[00:07:32] Part of that is what you're selling we used to sell doing the work and now we really need to be selling inside because that's where the value is for the customer.
[00:07:42] Absolutely. And how do you build two minutes you can't it doesn't work anymore. The old model doesn't work because you can't build two minutes.
[00:07:49] I would say that I think the old model doesn't work even if the cloud didn't exist. I think the cloud just another reason because it's another reason to go that direction that you should be going anyway.
[00:08:01] I think the cloud is making everyone realize that they have to move that way anyways because I say good CPA have always been the most trusted adviser for 40 years.
[00:08:13] If you were to talk to my dad is also a CPA and I originally joined him and when you talk about my dad my dad has always had that most trusted business advisor relationship with his client. But when Turbo Tax came around it changed everything. Right. Because now all of a sudden people thought they could do it themselves. But then what they quickly realized is that the insight is what they were really paying for what. But that's changing because the Internet has changed everything. So, we have to re renegotiate where our value comes from and we have to figure we have to figure out how to express it we have to figure out how to sell it and we have to figure out how to deliver it. Because just because we know it doesn't mean we're very good at delivering it.
[00:08:59] And a lot of times accountants and bookkeepers have been guilty of giving that stuff away right because they've been selling the doing instead of selling the inside selling the knowledge they've been giving the stuff away that's most valuable. And so actually the cloud it's going to force you to do that and that's what allows you to have this kind of relationship. You talk about with customers. You have to change that whole mindset which is hard to change mindsets one of the most difficult things in fact we'll get to mindset in a minute. Let's add in the second tenet that you talk about you call it social business instead of social media. Why.
[00:09:38] I have over 350000 followers on LinkedIn and I have over 11000 followers on Twitter. So, I built my business on social and part of it was because I was an early adopter. But what I realized very quickly was that community came from social media, and I created business rounded whereas everyone else is still like pushing out marketing messages.
[00:10:03] All I did was take regular business development skills and I moved them online and I connected with my customers in a different way. And it was innovative at the time. And what I learned was because I was solving business problems not because someone told me I should go to the cloud or I should use social media. What happened was is I was a young mother who was starting a firm and I couldn't go to a Chamber of Commerce chicken dinner because I didn't have the time to go. I had to figure out how to build a business around it. And so, what I started to do is I started connecting with people on social media and that's how I built my business. And so, everyone like looks for these outside forces instead of actually trying to solve business problems. And when you look at a problem to solve that from the business problem of a sudden you can be really innovative and figure out new things and you know change the business and change a business model.