Tips for a Great ROI Plan with Jackie Meyer
On episode 69 of The Unique CPA, Randy talks to Jackie Meyer, founder of Meyer Tax Consulting, about running a completely virtual firm using her ROI plan. They also discuss her tax planning program called Tax Plan IQ, which helps people in the industry get around confusing AICPA standards, and what types of leadership will help your business succeed.
Hello, and welcome to the Unique CPA. I’m your host, Randy Crabtree. The goal of our show is to keep you at the forefront of the changing face of public accounting by having conversations with fascinating leaders and bringing you their stories, insights, and advice. The Unique CPA podcast is brought to you by Tri-Merit, the specialty tax professionals. Today our guest is Jackie Meyer. Jackie is president and founder of Meyer Tax Consulting. Meyer tax is actually a completely virtual firm that offers concierge tax service and accounting services. She also runs a training program for accountants called the Certified Concierge Accountant. She’s developed a tax planning platform called Tax Plan IQ. She has been named CPA Practice Advisors 40 Under 40 since 2018, so four years in a row now, and she hosts a Facebook group called Accounting Firm Influencer that has over 5000 members. I’m going to stop there. Jackie, welcome to the Unique CPA.
Thank you so much, Randy. Good to be here.
Yeah, no, I appreciate you being here. You and I have been in the same place a few different times. And we got to talk in the last few months. I was very intrigued when I saw all these things that you’re doing, and I thought, this would be a great person to have on the podcast. So I appreciate you being here.
Yeah, of course. Yeah, I don’t know. When you list all those things, it just sounds so much.
Yeah, in reality, I probably could have listed more. Same thing when I get intros, I’m like, don’t say all that stuff. Just say here’s Randy. But you’ve done a lot, so I wanted to make sure I touched on all those. You’re doing a lot.
Thank you. Thank you.
So I want to touch a little bit on all those. And there’s one thing I didn’t mention, we’ll touch on later, too. But, we’ll talk about leadership because you’ve got some unique things going on. A unique tie-in into the unique CPA, you got some unique things going on with leadership as well I want to touch on. So first, let’s just kind of go through the list because everything you’re doing really intrigues me, and first, just Meyer Tax. I mean, Concierge Tax and Accounting. Concierge, I mean, that’s interesting. Let’s start there. Tell me what you mean by concierge and what the goal of Meyer Tax is.
For sure. So we started in 2010. And this concierge practice – we have less than 100 clients that average around 15,000 a year. These are high net worth individuals that have already sold some big company, and they’re just kind of running a family office at this point, getting some board income, consulting income, stuff like that. We really enjoy working with those kinds of clients. I live in one of the highest median incomes in the nation, South Lake, Texas. And so it just kind of naturally arose. As you know, I got a few years into my practice.
All right. I think we may have talked about this last time you and I talked, but I’ve been in South Lake more than once. My sister-in-law lives there, and my nieces grew up there. So I’ve been there more than a few times. It’s a great area.
Yeah, we love it.
All right, you have a niche. You’re virtual, which you and I talked about beforehand. There are topics I really liked talking about. But I liked this concierge. So with the concierge, part of what I found really interesting was the way you’re pricing this and your value pricing, subscription pricing. How would you explain it? And give us an idea of how you came up with this and what you do.
Yeah, well, I call it the ROI method, which is something that I’ve actually trademarked. It’s something that we’ve put into my tax planning software that you mentioned, Tax Plan IQ, that got released last year. But it’s all about just visualizing the return on investment for the client. And I think our industry is so scared to do this because the AICPA has these mundane or outdated rule of thumb about contingent fees that no one quite understands. I actually joined the AICPA Practice Management Committee last year, and I spoke at the High Net Worth National DC Tax Convention this last fall about the ROI method and how it’s okay to do it. It’s okay to value price. So I want to get the word out that that’s an OK method and that it’s actually a very profitable method, and the clients are so overly satisfied with it too. I just really want to infiltrate our industry with that message.
I think that’s great. So when you’re talking value pricing, is this one fee fits all? Are you still making this fit the specific situation, or do you have a menu of things they get to select? How does it work?
So we have three different package levels and honestly most of our clientele now fall into that highest package level. We’re not really servicing lower ones. If people want to go to my website, it’s MeyerTax.com/packages, and you can see exactly what we’re offering. But it’s a custom priced quote for all of the compliance plus planning services that are involved. And there’s different phases that might be involved. So when we first onboard a client, we might have five or six strategies that we want to focus on in phase one. So they would pay an implementation fee. That averages around $30,000 with us, and then a monthly maintenance fee for their continued quarterly annual work. It doesn’t necessarily mean we’re working with them monthly, it just depends on the package level that they’re on.
Okay. When they sign up for this, we got the initiation fee or the setup fee, I think you said there’s like maybe six key things. Is the subscription pricing or the value pricing, just these certain services? What if somebody comes up with something else – hey, we haven’t talked about this, we just decided we want to set up this living trust that we need your input on and that wasn’t part of this plan. Is that an additional fee then? Or is this all inclusive?
Yeah, so we would re-quote them based on out of scope work. So you have to be really specific about that because otherwise people could start 10 new businesses with the custom fee that you quoted them, and then you could really go underwater with it.
Okay. You and I talked before we started taping too, that I had a discussion with Ron Baker, who was the value pricing guru last week. He was talking about his value pricing 2.0, which he was saying is this subscription pricing, all inclusive, anything you need – but there has to be a limit on that, like you said.
I keep wondering, and that’s what I’ve been asking Ron and Ed Kless. What is the limit on this? Now, what really works well with their subscription model is high volume. That’s the difference between what we’re offering, and what they’re talking about. When you have high volume, you’ve kind of got this insurance gap, right? If you go way overboard in services with one client, you might make up for it with another client. But when we’re talking about a really boutique company like mine, you don’t have room for all that out of scope work.
That makes sense. All right. Well, I just wanted to talk about that because I find it really interesting that niche you have and then how you’re pricing that. Like you said, anybody can go to your website and see, and I saw that there too. You’re out in the open with everything you’re doing, which is really cool to see. All right. You mentioned this, let’s move on, because there’s a bunch of topics I want to talk about, and we have a time limit. It is tax season right now. So we probably should value your time. We’re going to value price your time right now.
Yes, all right!
But let’s talk about – you mentioned the Tax Plan IQ – this new software program that you released, you said last year, is that right?
Yeah, I call it my third child, because I have two real children, and then this is my third baby that came about during COVID.
We were already paperless and virtual, and so we were kind of made for the pandemic, if someone can be made for something like that. It kind of gave us extra time while everyone else was scrambling to be like, you know what, this is something that accountants need, and we need to get it out there. I’m tired of waiting for someone else to do it and so here it is. I partnered with one of our software developers that does our practice management software called Count. The rest is kind of history from there. So we have 130 accounting firms organically within just the last year that have joined Tax Plan IQ, and we’re really, really excited about the future of it.
So how does it work? Does it tie into your tax software and pull out pertinent data? Or do you input things? How does this work? And what’s the output?
Yeah, so the only third party integration that it currently does is with Count, that practice management software, since they were our developers. We’re always looking for other kinds of third party app integrations, like invoicing systems or anything like that. But you input really simplistic information. You input what the client’s taxes were the prior year and what their taxable income was. It then calculates all these fields for you, their marginal effective tax rate, and then you’re actually just visualizing the tax savings for every strategy that you add. So it’s not a tax projection software. It’s not saying you owed 50 last year, you’re going to owe 60 this year. It’s saying we can save you $75,000 by implementing this, this, and this strategy. It’s kind of like the tax manager that everyone always wanted. You can track an entire tax planning engagement. So from the proposal, the ROI proposal that you show up front all the way through to tracking all the tasks on the back end, It’s all in there.
Oh, nice. Nice. So you said you have 130 CPA firms now using this?
Yes, yes. And that’s all organic growth. We’re actually going to actually start marketing soon. And who knows what’s going to happen, it’s so exciting.
It is exciting. It’s a great tool. It’s something that we’ve talked about internally, with just the corporate tax incentives that we work with, is developing a software to go in and then basically, give it to them so that they can use that, and then go pull out of their clients’ databases there, wherever it is, whatever software was served, or Pro Systems or Access or whatever they’re using, and be able to pull that out.
You should do it! Definitely do it.
We need to talk to you, we’re going to have to team up with you and come up with this plan.
That sounds good.
That’d be great. All right. So that’s Tax Plan IQ, but we’ll give everybody a link to that in the show notes as well. Everything you’re doing then is going to tie into this education part you’re doing with this Certified Concierge Accountant. I think you’re probably, and I don’t wanna put words in your mouth, but you’re probably using the strategies that you developed for Meyer Tax, and how you’re doing the pricing, how you’re doing the niche, and then that with the Tax Plan IQ, and now we have CCA, what’s that about?
What it’s all about just educating our industry to be better, go beyond the limits that you think that you’re at. I know what it’s like to have a suffering practice. We’ve all been there, done that, where you just get overwhelmed. I mean, I grew a little too fast. And I think a lot of people, if you’re good at what you do, you can identify with that. And so it’s just all the best practices that I’ve used in my firm, and then my business coach, Chuck Bauer, has used with his clients for decades to better their firms. So we’re just trying to increase revenue, we’re trying to increase people’s time off. We’re trying to increase client satisfaction. It’s not rocket science. It’s just basic things that help people do that day-to-day.
Well, it sounds like a win-win-win. Less time, more happy clients and more income for you. And probably more money in the clients pocket as well.
Yes, for sure. Yeah. More ROI for the clients.
All right. All right. That’s awesome. And what is this? This is a program that CPAs can sign up for? Is it monthly, weekly, quarterly? How does it work?
Yeah, so we run six month masterminds. So it’s small group intensive, so to speak. People can go to yourcca.com, and you can check out our current programs. We also actually just released, in January, full tax planning technical education. This is something that, as you know, is hard to come by in our industry. I’ve kind of taken all of my most favorite strategies and put them into ‘how do you actually implement this stuff?’ And we’re teaching that to people too. So we’re really excited for that.
That’s great. You have your hands into a lot of different things. It’s pretty cool to see. We’re touching on a lot of things. The one thing that I teased at the beginning was leadership. You’re actually getting a doctorate in leadership, is that correct?
Yes, I am insane, and I decided to pursue a doctorate in leadership because as a business coach, I didn’t have any official training other than the success of my firm. And I thought, you know what, what better than to get that doctor title to help me out, right? I’m in the middle of a four year degree, so to speak, with Regent University. It’s actually a Christian-based leadership program, which adds a whole other flavor to everything that’s really, really fun. But I write 3000 to 6000 words a week. So much content that’s there. But luckily, I’m on the Forbes Finance Council, so I get to publish a lot of that stuff, too. So it works out.
Well. That’s funny. I just had a discussion with them today, as well. And looks like I’m going to be one of your teammates on the Forbes Finance Council.
Awesome. It’s really fun. I like it.
Is it? All right. I publish an article a month or something, and we’ll just add some more and put it in Forbes as well. So that’s cool. That’s awesome that you’re on there, too. Now at least I know somebody on that council, and I can ask you the ins and outs of it.
Yeah, for sure. Welcome, welcome. Yeah. So I mean, there’s all kinds of different types of leaders. There’s different pillars of leadership. There’s a lot around transactional leadership, which is really not something you want to do but what most accounting firm owners do because you weren’t taught anything different. I see that a lot when people are going up into the 1 million, in gross revenue, kind of range. Then they realize once they have a big enough group and team that something has to change for people to stick around. Then they kind of become more of that transformational leader. But I want to encourage people to really become that transformational leader before that. And so with these different levels of leadership, you’ve got people that are leaders by title – that’s very transactional – you might be a trader leader, where you’re like, if you help me do this, I’ll do this for you. But then the transformational is just a whole other level. You’ve got servant leadership, which is giving back to your people, leading by serving, what can I do to help you? Then there’s a whole new level that I’ve created that I’m hoping to be on like a TEDx someday, I call it love leadership. It’s where you’re truly just loving the people around you and really going the extra mile to serve them in their best interest.
That’s awesome. So that’s a goal of mine to have the TED talks or the TEDx. I was thinking about that recently. You and I are going to just follow the same path on some things. I guess you might be ahead of me, though.
Yeah, we’re like new besties. It’s great.
Exactly. I have a talk I’m in the beginning stages of putting together that’s not around tax or anything like that, and probably ties in leadership. But it also talks about – sorry, this isn’t about me, this is about you, but we’re going to go into this for a second.
No. I want to hear it. Tell me, tell me.
So I had a traumatic event in my life, a stroke eight years ago, and then how that affected me, and how that changed the way I look at everything, and how that has really transformed our business because of the stroke. And me personally, for the better, which I feel guilty saying that because not everybody that survives a stroke is at that same level. I’m very fortunate that I’ve come out of it completely healed, but just that whole transformation due to this traumatic event, and how that helped me in business. So that’s kind of what I’m developing.
Yeah, sometimes, unfortunately, you have to hit a low before you can really get to those highs. Not going to that extreme with a stroke and whatnot, but there’s all kinds of health concerns that happen to accountants every day.
Mental health, physical health, all that stuff. And so what I’m trying to do is avoid that for a lot of people.
We used to actually not accept brand new firms into our coaching program, thinking they didn’t have enough to bring to the game. But we started allowing that a couple years ago and realized these are people for the molding to just skip all the crud and just get straight to amazing firms. So it’s really cool to see people be able to do that and being a part of people’s lives to where we don’t have to see them go through that suffering.
Yeah. And that’s my whole point, too, is don’t wait for a traumatic event. Let’s do this early on, let’s start to value, let’s do self-awareness. So, cool, that’s awesome. I assume these newfound skills that you probably already have, you’re just getting a title for it now with the doctorate, but those I’m assuming you’re going to incorporate in obviously business, but then into your training program as well.
Oh, for sure. Yeah. I mean, I’ve got a team of a dozen. We’ve been through all the ups and downs, just like everybody else. We still have our staffing problems. We’re all going through the great resignation right now.
But we need support. We need to be surrounded by other people that are going through similar things, and know that there is a better way and that you can get there.
Well, that takes me to the one thing that we skipped, but it’s your accounting firm influencers. 5000 members on Facebook. That’s pretty impressive.
Thank you. Yeah. So I have been doing speaking events, starting with QuickBooks connect back in 2016-2017. I miss QuickBooks connect, and other conferences. I speak on CPA Academy, I give some free CPE that way. I know you do a lot of that stuff, too. This group grew, again, kind of organically from people that just saw me speaking and they wanted to continue that discussion. So I formed the group Accounting Firm Influencers. Please join us if you’re on Facebook. I promise it’s not as bad as the rest of Facebook stuff is. We have a lot of members that are only on Facebook now because of the group.
So we have a lot of fun on there. We get to complain to each other, we get to joke, but really, we’re supporting one another day-to-day with all the stuff we have to deal with in this industry.
I think that’s important, to have peers that you can bounce things off that you can, at times, complain with, at times, share successes with, share ideas with, and I assume that’s what it’s all about. In fact, I think, your enthusiasm and your knowledge is all infectious and just that you can share that with this Facebook, that you could share this with your training, that you can share it with your clients and create the Tax Plan IQ, and the leadership, it’s just very impressive. It’s great to have you on here. All right, so the final question that I have, and this is something that I had done from the beginning, and for some reason skipped a few and now I’m back to it, is tell me what your passions are outside of work, what you enjoy doing. I don’t know how you have time, but you do because that’s the goal of how you set things up. But what are your passions outside of work? And what do you do?
Traveling, I love to travel. Yes, and drag my family along with me. So I have a five-year-old, an eight-year-old, and then my dear husband, and we travel as much as possible. We fulfilled a dream last summer of taking a whole month off. So we went to Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, and we’ll go back to Costa Rica this summer. And then we’re headed to like St. John or something, some cool place like that. I just love exploring different cultures and then trying to give back while we’re there too. So we try to find something like in Dominican Republic, we found an animal shelter one of the first ones that we’d seen pop up in the area. We went there, the kids got to play with the puppies and give them a donation from Tax Plan IQ because we try to donate 10% of our profits away from that company as well. But yeah, travel is my thing. I love it.
Yep, I’m with you there. My wife and I just got back from two months on the road two days ago, working on the road, but still traveling, so we got to explore the US Southwest, Arizona and California.
We had a great time, and I’m looking forward to getting back out to some European cities again soon, which I always enjoy that. Well Jackie, if anybody wants to get a hold of you one way or the other of any of these different things, I’m assuming there’s probably one place that they can find out more about you and the businesses.
Yeah, actually. My public-facing website just about me is jackiemeyercpa.com. That’s M-E-Y-E-R, and then you can always email me if you’d like – CPA@meyertax.com. I’d be happy to chat with anybody or get to know you there.
All right, Jackie. Well, it was a pleasure having you on. It was what I expected. Very informative, and some things I didn’t expect with this leadership, so that’s awesome to hear.
Thank you, Randy. Really appreciate it.
All right, I want to thank everybody for listening today. Thank you for joining us today. And you could find all the links and show notes for today’s episode as well as more about Tri-Merit at theuniquecpa.com. Remember to subscribe and join us for our next episode where we’ll be going beyond compliance into forging new pathways of delivering value to clients, diversifying your revenue streams and leading-edge management techniques and styles.
About the Guest
Jackie Meyer is the founder of Tax Plan IQ, a software designed to help accounting firms keep track of their tax planning. She is also a coach for the Certified Concierge Accountant Mastermind Group to help tax firms operate more efficiently. Meyer is the creator of the Accounting Firms Influencer Facebook group, which includes over 5000 members who support each other through the accounting industry’s daily occurrences. Jackie is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Leadership at Regent University.
Meet the Host
Randy Crabtree, CPA
Randy Crabtree, co-founder and partner of Tri-Merit Specialty Tax Professionals, is a widely followed author, lecturer and podcast host for the accounting profession.
Since 2019, he has hosted the bi-weekly “The Unique CPA,” podcast, which ranks among the world’s 5% most popular programs (Source: Listen Score). You can find articles from Randy in Accounting Today’s Voices column, the AICPA Tax Adviser (Tax-saving opportunities for the housing and construction industries) and he is a regular presenter at conferences and virtual training events hosted by CPAmerica, Prime Global, Leading Edge Alliance (LEA), Allinial Global and several state CPA societies. Crabtree also provides continuing professional education to top 100 CPA firms across the country.
Schaumberg, Illinois-based Tri-Merit is a niche professional services firm that specializes in helping CPAs and their clients benefit from R&D tax credits, cost segregation, the energy efficient commercial buildings deduction (179D), the energy efficient home credit (45L) and the employee retention credit (ERC).
Prior to joining Tri-Merit, Crabtree was managing partner of a CPA firm in the greater Chicago area. He has more than 30 years of public accounting and tax consulting experience in a wide variety of industries, and has worked closely with top executives to help them optimize their tax planning strategies.