Who We Are, and How We Do It
Baystate Municipal Accounting Group approaches each and every engagement from a team perspective, which allows each solution to be evaluated from multiple angles of municipal finance expertise. By approaching the services your Town is looking for with this Team lead review, you are receiving a well thought out and presented solution based on the experience of not just one individual who is working on your account, but the experience of each and every one of your team members. How do we price our services to be affordable when so many individuals are working on each account? The answer is a combination of two very simple concepts:
1) We spend the majority of the work week together in the same office working through whatever issues come up, in real time, to get the answer when you need it. We conduct a large percentage of our operations offsite from your Town Hall through a combination of technology, and tools to empower management and department heads to get the information they need when they need it. By spending less time on the road, we are spending more time engaged in completing the important operational work for your Town.
2) Each team member is assigned specialized processing roles to make sure that each facet of your project is primarily worked on by employees who are familiar with the intricacies of the process. Whether its Accounts Payable processing, budgeting, year end closing, the Recap, or cash receipts, we have people who have years of experience processing each of these tasks. The benefit to the Town over a traditional employee based solution is that in the case of a bottleneck, unexpected situation, or last minute processing request, we are able to assigned additional staff to get the final product complete, at no additional cost.
How Do We Price Our Services?
We strive to price all our services with both your budget, and the service level you are looking for in mind. Based on our delivery model, we are able to provide the same amount of hours, a level of service that is equivalent and in many instances more robust than an onsite employee, at a cost that is generally 25-30% less than an employee. Currently we offer two levels of service: Accounting services and Finance Director services. Accounting services is a turnkey solution for the Accounting office - from Accounts Payable to reconciliation and year end close. Everything that is statutorily required under MGL, plus a number of added extras. The Finance Director service builds on the Accounting services and adds high level budgeting, analytics, forecasting, capital planning, and advanced reporting and management metrics to help keep up to date on the financial position of your Town.
While we won't say that one size fits all with both services or price, we think we have come up with something that is pretty close to the mark. For new contracts executed between 11/1/2016 and 6/30/2017, we will stick by the pricing outlined below as long as you can provide us with a little information showing the current state of your financial position.* The best part of our pricing is the predictability. Because we base our foundation pricing on the results of your Recap, as soon as your tax rate is set, you know where to budget for the upcoming year.
* Already in great financial shape? Awesome. If you can show us that your cash is fully reconciled between the Accountant and Treasurer, and the receivables are fully reconciled between the Accountant and the Collector within the past three months, and you have had an audit in the past two fiscal years with minor management letter points, then we guarantee the pricing outlined in the table above. If not, there is a one time charge to get your affairs in order, and then its business as usual from there.
How Can We Afford to Price at This Level?
"Why would you pay the same amount per hour for Accounts Payable Processing as you would for Budgeting and Financial Management?"
Any Town that has received quotes for similar services in the municipal market knows that the normal pricing structure for interim and project based services comes back anywhere from $90.00 to $125.00 per hour. How is it then we can afford to price at the the example above? The answer is quite simply the division of labor, and the fact that we have structured our own offices in a fashion very similar to each Town Hall across the Commonwealth. We have a range of people, with specialized job functions, who have set salaries and costs. Unlike other consulting shops that are made up of various free lance consultants, or need to charge $100/hr+ to make up for lower volume, we price based on the capacity of our operation, and our ability to balance the amount of work coming out of the market with the appropriate staffing levels back at our office. Why would you pay the same amount per hour for Accounts Payable Processing as you would for Budgeting and Financial Management?
Over the course of a three year contract, we are generally able to hold a consistent price based on the overall volume of work. Additionally, through our referral program, we have been able to reward municipalities through discounts, rebates, and additional services at no additional charge. For each new client that is on-boarded into our system, the overall cost for all clients continues to decrease.
How Do We Compete With An Employee Experience If We Work Offsite?
Each and every engagement that we undertake is a relationship, and like any relationship, it has to be built on trust, consistency, and honesty. We try very hard to complete all our work offsite, at our own offices, where we have the resources to commit as much time as necessary to complete your project. For every hour that we are on the road to a client site, that is an hour taken out of production that needs to be made up somewhere else along the way. It's not that we don't or won't work onsite at your Town Hall, it is more correct to say that we will work onsite when necessary. Our on-boarding process involves regularly meeting with department heads, staff, management, and other key officials in order to build trust and a comfort level that enables departments to reach out to us as if we were employees, onsite full time on a weekly basis. This trust and transparency, combined with consistent results and timely information builds the relationship to allow for us to work very efficiently, without the need to be at Town Hall. There are always meetings, special appointments, and other times when a presence onsite is going to be best solution, and we make sure that it is a priority to schedule ourselves there to support the Town to the highest level possible.