Partner An unnamed firm
Columnist
Share this content

Covid-hit accountants are suffering in silence

The Imprudent Accountant asks whether too little attention is being paid to accountants who are struggling to survive the ravages of the pandemic

5th Feb 2021
Partner An unnamed firm
Columnist
Share this content
A length of rope almost broken with the strain
istock_rope_AnthonyBoulton

Over the last nine months, we have all been able to comfort ourselves with the knowledge that the accountancy profession has weathered the pandemic far better than almost any other.

Surprisingly, given the usual breadth of responses from subscribers to AccountingWEB, nobody has argued with this proposition.

While I have little doubt that the general principle is valid, there must be some accountants who are finding times tough for a variety of reasons.

These are most likely to be practices that specialise in relatively narrow areas.

Tough times for niche accountants

One example might be those that have relatively few clients, where a large proportion of their key clients and biggest fee payers have been finding times tough. It must therefore follow that there will be a knock-on effect for their professional advisers. This is probably something of a rarity but could still have a devastating impact on those at the sharp end.

As a long-time advocate of building up niche skills, I also recognise that there can be downsides to becoming a leading light in a limited field.

Any accountant who has made his name in the entertainment industry is going to be facing the stark prospect of working almost exclusively for clients who have had little or no income since last March and could well be in the same boat through most if not all of 2021.

As we all know, helping clients to prepare accounts and fill in tax returns showing hefty losses and seeking repayments to keep themselves afloat is not the way to build a healthy, wealthyneeebunts anat is not the way to ss="s-sy ha eefty, function(event) { '> leipt typxr a v e all know, helping clients to prts notsust eowinknow,ace-back-loan-cl seemething of a -_ileiprA0ights/bouno> __li ponsored">Sponsored

iv>k-los"> Pg ld aely to be practices that a xioreddev( Pednotsustoredude that thee5a23ftpnmod

These are most lsam/div> _sa> /gednotsus1areaecas-7nate(otsuudes that a _ /gednotsus1areaecas-7nate(otsuudes that a _ /gednotsus1areaecas-_ /gednotsus1areaecaefore(j,f)item sidebar-ix"> b'yShe /gednotsus1areaecas-_ /gednotsus1ta-element="carrges sidebar-ix"> b'ySh enbar-ix"> b'ySh enbar-ix"> b'ySh enbar-ix"> b'ySh enbar-ix"x"> b'ySh enbar-ix"> b'ySh a-_stime> 5 gesb:p">