How to improve business resilience during this time
4th Jun 2020
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In this post, we guide you through the steps you can follow to prepare your firm and your clients’ businesses for any eventuality.
It is often said that crisis and opportunity are two sides of the same coin. While the coronavirus crisis is a challenging time for all, some accountants have already been able to see that there is always something that can be learnt as we face any adversity.
In this case, the threat that coronavirus presents to businesses provides a valuable opportunity to create or update a business continuity plan that will help you protect your firm and your staff – no matter what the circumstances are.
Many businesses didn’t have a plan in place and, as such, they’ve have had to improvise to deal with the major disruption caused by the outbreak.
More often than not, businesses focus on the most immediate and productive issues. But failing to prepare for the future can bring more problems down the line. Now that the most urgent part of the crisis is over, it is time to reassess and prepare for what might happen in the next few months.
For instance, what will you do if a key member of the leadership team becomes ill? And what will happen if a major client or supplier announces they’re shutting down? Having a strategy ready to handle these challenges is essential.
Below is a plan that any business can follow to prepare for any circumstances they may face during months of economic uncertainty and sector disruptions.
How to create a business continuity plan
Document roles and processes: A good business continuity plan includes contributions from every part of the company.
Identify risks: Even after the COVID-19 crisis, chances are your firm will have to deal with other important problems through its history – these could include fires, flood, a power cut, supply chain issues, or an IT outage. Focus on the risks that are more likely to happen and that would have a bigger impact.
Calculate costs: Calculate the cost each risk could have to your business, and prepare to cover the costs of the ones that are more likely to happen.
Focus on policies and resources: These are the two elements of your plan. The policies are the measures you’ll put into practice if your business is hit with a crisis. The resources involves the personnel, the facilities, equipment, legal support and funding for necessary for business continuity.
Split your services into essential, important and non-essential services: Essential services should be up and running again within 48 hours. Important services, within two to five days, and non-essential services should be back within 10 days.
Clarify roles: You’ll need specific people to adopt specific roles. If a team member is not available, who can take on their tasks? Who will be in charge of implementing the business continuity plan?
Goals and actions to take: Your goal could be keeping financial losses to about 80%, fulfilling two thirds of customer orders on time, moving employees to a remote working setup, or getting the business fully operational again in two weeks. Include a simple, clear list of actions to take for each department.
Testing and revising your plan: Circulate your business continuity plan for comment from all parts of the business and keep it constantly updated. Also, put it into practice every six months to see how you can improve it.