Today is Halloween in the US and Dia de los Muertos in Mexico. It is a time based on the idea of reflecting on death. Now we aren’t being morbid here – instead we grinned at the amusing irony of the timing of this article on LinkedIn which is an obituary to the billable hour.
We absolutely agree with the downsides of billable hours. All of us at Elm, in prior points in our careers, have had ourselves and clients held hostage by the almighty billable hour. Over the past several years, we decreased our use of hourly rates and billings – instead working on a daily rate or, increasingly, on a fixed fee basis.
Given all that is right with eliminating hourly billing, a reasonable person might ask why doing so remains ubiquitous for consulting/auditing firms? Yet another irony for those of us who help client organizations in changing their internal culture – because it’s the way it’s been done in the past.