As the lockdown is gradually relaxing and accountants are looking at returning to work, we look at what has changed for practitioners during this difficult time, and how they will work back towards stability in the coming months.
Increased opportunity to work from home
During this time, working from home has become the norm for accountants - although this is not without its challenges. But, with technology like accounting software, video conferencing, and online collaboration tools, it has generally proved successful.
Going forward, working from home will become much more common. This can cut down on required office space and save money for practice owners. Allowing employees to continue working from home, or having more flexible working agreements, can save on overheads and help practices recover from any lost business during the outbreak.
COVID-19 has had a big impact on job security for employees who are furloughed, or have been made redundant. For those employees who are furloughed, managers will be making decisions about when they can return to work. And, for those who suffered through redundancies, there is the potential to either start their own remote practices, or begin the search for work as businesses get back on their feet and open up new job opportunities.
Increased incoming work
There is the potential for a rush of incoming work from clients who have usually sent their records early. As there have been extensions in deadlines from HMRC, for example with Making Tax Digital, accountants can expect clients who have paused during lockdown to start getting their finances in order. This will require juggling an increased workload with the practical aspects of returning to work, and could take careful planning to ensure the process goes smoothly.
Increased credit control
One lesson learnt from the loss of business during COVID-19 is the need for increased credit control due to clients being unable to pay immediately for services.
Clients may be having cash flow issues in these times. So chasing your clients, setting up payment plans, and encouraging direct debits are ways to ensure you can get paid once accounts have been submitted.
Rebuilding your client base
Unfortunately, some clients may have experienced bankruptcy during COVID-19. This will result in a loss of clients and income. Rebuilding your client base will become a priority.
Many people have used furloughed time or redundancies as an opportunity to start a side business, or to make their passion their full time job. As the nation starts to recover, it’s likely that many people will start looking at self employment, or founding their own businesses as a new start, and will be in need of accounting support.
A free accounting software like Bokio is a great solution for small business clients. Bokio offers bookkeeping, invoicing, expenses, and Making Tax Digital solutions. It makes it easy to collaborate with your clients, so you can focus on offering high value advisory services.
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