Offices are not dead - they just need repurposed

14th Feb 2021
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I talk to a lot of accountants, every day - I'm a practice broker as well as a business broker. 

Office space, or rather the question of whether or not retiring accountants want the buyer to retain it,  is a recurring theme when discussing practice sales - so much so that my postcode search function may no longer be fit for purpose!

Covid has made lots of practices realise that clients never really cared for the annual accounts meeting and staff can quite happily work from home. After all, productivity is not difficult to measure in accountancy.

So, what should you do about your office - keep it or ditch it? Obviously if you are in a lease you're choices are limited. Let's look at the pros and cons:

Pros :

1) If you are in a good location it is an advertising opportunity especially if you have local appeal , either the frontage or extra messages on the wall, subject to the necessary planning constraints , in estate agent parlance

2) It is a good base for clients who like to meet face to face

3) It gives staff a base and a hub to connect , even if on a less frequent basis

4) There are times where home working doesn't work

Cons:

1) The running costs - from rent to overheads to business rates

2) Looking around a space intended for people that is way below capacity can be depressing

3) If you are an owner occupier you could let it or sell it and put the proceeds to good use

So what is the solution, given the mix of pros and cons?

Maybe it is time to rethink and or repurpose?

Perhaps you sublet, as there is always demand for low cost office space even for home-workers who feel the need to get out the house for personal or commercial reasons. You benefit form lower overheads plus a rental income.

By slimming down you can keep it as a hub to meet clients and staff, or a decent background that is quiet for social media postings to promote your business. Or you could offer a free business clinic to reel in new clients - try doing that in your lounge at home!