How is your accountant supporting you through the pandemic?
There has been a broad range of levels of support offered by accountancy firms throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to their clients. They range from very hands-on and proactive to very hands-off. letting clients fend for themselves (sadly, I’ve heard some terrible stories).
It would be unfair to suggest that there was a perfect response to this crisis. Afterall, it pretty much blindsided all of us really didn’t it? We certainly were not able to pull out our “Global Pandemic Operating Procedure” folder and get stuck in immediately. Like many other small businesses we were also struck down initially with a bit of paralysis and panic. We’re a small team with families and every day brought a new set of challenges. It took us a moment to find our rhythm.
However being an accountant, especially to a small business is both a privilege and a responsibility. We knew early on that we had to become a source of knowledge, support and reassurance for our clients. We are often their first port of call in any crisis and we had to help them understand the implications of complicated procedures such as furloughing staff, applying for grants, loans and delaying VAT payments. Every moment matters when you are in the eye of the storm, and with so many small businesses and livelihoods on the line, the stakes have never been higher.
Having the right team around you, allies that have your back is going to be essential in the months ahead and we all negotiate the economic implications of the tsunami that just hit. Additionally, there is a chance that talk of second waves and further local lock-downs are not unfounded. I don’t want to scare you, rather prepare you and ensure you are preparing yourself.
Things we did/are doing during COVID:
Sent regular email updates on the government support available to all clients - and boy did this change a lot!
Offered free of charge telephone/ zoom consultations to all clients to help them understand what support they could claim
Provided all clients with a free cashflow tool & guidance on how to use it (link to tool)
Submitted furlough claims on behalf of clients to HMRC free of charge (a lot of accountants charged for this service)
Provided a friendly ear - some clients just needed some reassurance or even just to chat through the challenges of juggling childcare & work with someone who understood. Boy do we understand!
Fitted a secure drop box at our office for clients to drop off paperwork without having any face to face contact to maintain social distancing protocols.
Just before the pandemic, we had already introduced client portals for e-signing which really reduced the need for post/paperwork which has been brilliant throughout COVID. It’s a keeper for sure!
By offering home working and flexible hours to our staff, we have been able to ensure we still meet client deadlines while also looking after our families. Wins all round!
Supported clients in tax planning including reducing payments on account
Providing free advice to a number of facebook groups for small business owners feeling financially vulnerable
We take the view that we were all in this together and that this should NOT be an opportunity for us to profiteer from our clients in their time of need. We have always felt small businesses succeed if we all look after each other and have a long-term outlook.
When the chips were down, did your accountant step up to the plate?
Contact us today for a free no obligations quote😊👍
☎️TEL: 01480 775 611