Via Going Concern: Killing the Billable Hour With VeraSage's Ron Baker

Monday, February 01, 2010 , , , 3 Comments

I got to grill VeraSage's Ron Baker this weekend for my column this morning on Going Concern and it couldn't have come at a better time.

Stay tuned for an exciting announcement about where JDA is taking her own "hours" but in the meantime, enjoy my 15 minutes with Ron!


In his 15-some years crusading against the ridiculous measurement of “time” as a performance gauge, Ron has made quite a few steps in the right direction. Seven to ten percent of 90,000 firms have moved away from time sheets and toward “value pricing”, with 1,000 or so firms eliminating the billable hour completely. While he admits it’ll be a cold day in hell when the Big 4 follow suit, he’s encouraged by the momentum.

“There is a change and it is coming from customers,” he says, “[unfortunately] the billable hour has survived many recessions.” The rigid “that’s how it’s always been” structure of public accounting, specifically, doesn’t seem to be taking the idea well. “They’d rather be precisely wrong than approximately right,” he says of major accounting firms trapped in the billable hour vice.

Encouraging value pricing in pay structures is a slow process, he says, equating the movement to that of Germ Theory in the 1800s. It was hundreds of years from the time “contact contagion” was theorized to the time it was generally accepted in medicine and eliminating the antiquated pricing structure of employee incentive won’t go down without a fight either.

If you'd like to read the rest (you should, especially if you're like JDA and get done in an hour what most people can't manage to tackle in a week - suck it, underachievers!), head over to Going Concern. Please, or else my editor will beat me.

Jr Deputy Accountant

Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard.


Anonymous said...

"As a person who can tear up in one hour what five people can’t even accomplish in two, I get it. Boy do I get it."

next batter up - the on deck circle now warming up is "Wage Bubble" - he's looking a little worse for the wear these days, Dickie.

Well, you're right Ernie. Wage has been packing on the pounds in the last few seasons and his swing is showing it... and that monster on the mound, Deflation Market has been showing us some wicked stuff in these past few innings...

Dickie, I think Deflation is really starting to settle in and some of his better stuff is still to come...

is it just me or does this blog need more damned commentary?



It isn't just you. I have a loyal bunch of very quiet, very obsessed readers.

Not everyone knows about the "anonymous" trick ;)

Anonymous said...

I don't get it... or maybe I'm just an annoying prick. Here it is there is a perfectly good venue for writing/speaking one's mind with like minded individuals (shit I link Claire McCaskill's office with this blog and some others) and nothing on several threads.... crickets.... I know you're getting read, but hell, I LOVE reading the commentary on these things because it gives me the point of view of others who are in different circumstances and in different parts of the country. It's valuable stuff in some instances. I don't think JDA is going to hunt anyone down and break their fingers for posting a comment. (could be wrong - sometimes a little frightening). I'm just saying, I'd like to read more of what is going on in other people's neck of the woods relative to the subject matter. Then again, maybe I'm just a prick with too much time / ADD issues on his hands.