Microsoft Ditches Hourly Billing for Legal Services

Hourly billing has been dying a slow death in the small business community for years — and now a huge
Blake Oliver
Microsoft Ditches Hourly Billing for Legal Services
By Blake Oliver • Issue #53
Hourly billing has been dying a slow death in the small business community for years — and now a huge corporation is making the move, too. Microsoft plans to shift 90% of their legal work to alternative billing arrangements within 2 years.
David Howard, Microsoft’s deputy general counsel, says that Microsoft “would benefit from moving further away from a transactional model to one that encouraged deeper engagement between our lawyers and key trusted advisers.”
I love this quote because it shows clearly the biggest problem with hourly billing: Knowing that your lawyer/accountant/consultant is always on the clock discourages deeper engagement and collaboration.
When you bill by the hour, you’re discouraging your client from communicating. And if they don’t talk to you on a regular basis, how can you stay on top of what’s going on in their business in order to be a successful advisor?
For this and more of the best links I clicked on last week, keep on scrolling.

Tech Stack
Accounting Today gleans insights from cloud accounting leaders on how to build a “technology stack” for your firm. It isn’t easy, but there’s a big payoff in extra productivity and value for clients.
To run a successful cloud accounting practice you’ll need apps to enable communication, collaboration, and productivity, plus keep employees on track and clients happy. Here’s a list of 12 essential apps to run a successful cloud accounting practice from our friends at Hubdoc.
When You Wish Upon an App: We Need Your Input!
Firm of the Future is looking for your wild, your practical and your what-would-be-the-most-helpful app wish lists. To submit your input, fill out this form by August 31.
Thu, Aug 10, 2017 2:00 AM - 3:00 AM PDT
Whether you’re investing time or money (or both), the biggest question is…. where do you spend it? How do you know it’s going to work? How can you be sure that the efforts you’re making will result in more prospects becoming clients? Join Karen Reyburn from The Profitable firm to find out.
Tips & Tricks
How to Create a Management Report in Xero
Xero’s built-in management reporting feature generates professional-looking reports useful for providing to board members, as well as for guiding your business in making better decisions. Here is Flow’s crash course guide to creating a management report in Xero.
Future of the Profession
The State of Cloud Accounting: Then and Now
Amy Vetter, Global VP of Education at Xero, looks back on how far we’ve come in just five years. We’ve come a long way, but there’s still plenty of road to travel.
Value Pricing
Microsoft Shifts From Paying Outside Lawyers by the Hour
The move could help spur more companies to abandon the billable hour method of charging for legal services.
Industry News
AccountingWEB on the Sage-Intacct Acquisition
Seth Fineberg sees the acquisition of Intacct by Sage as a win-win. Sage gets a mid-market cloud ERP and Intacct gets a global presence.
The activist investor is planning to name a minority slate to the ADP board as he seeks “transformational change” at the company.  •  Share
Sales & Marketing
The Top Five Reasons Accountants Don't Convert Their Sales Proposals
Accountants are generally terrible at selling. Check out this list of the top five reasons we all end up chasing proposals so it doesn’t happen next time.
Involving staff and managing your firm’s reputation on social media
When it comes to your social presence, it’s important that you involve your whole firm. Here’s how to make it happen.
Practice Management
Google Spent 2 Years Studying 180 Teams. The Most Successful Ones Shared These 5 Traits
Insights from Google’s new study could forever change how teams are assembled.
The Single Question that Drives Company Culture
It seems to me that organizations have to choose: Is it shareholders, customers, or employees that will come first? The answer drives your company culture.
App Updates
Introducing Deputy's Report Builder
Deputy’s new Report builder allows you to build and extract any data you like from Deputy.
Why the Description Field Is Costing You an Hour Per Month Per Client
Receipt Bank Customer Experience specialist Hugh Walker reveals how one field could be losing you hundreds in revenue every month.
Remote Work
How Do You Replace Much-Needed Face Time?
Not every client can be seen in person; learn how to work with remote clients and get more done.
This issue was lovingly crafted by Blake Oliver and Phil Gross. Thanks for reading, and have a great week!
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Blake Oliver
Cloud Accounting Weekly features the latest in cloud accounting technology, automation, remote work, practice management, marketing, and more. For additional resources and past issues, visit my website at
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