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How Ad Valorem helped clients in lockdown

Ad Valorem founder and managing director Nigel Adams describes how his family firm helped clients chart a safe passage through the lockdown restrictions.

10th Dec 2020
Content Marketing Manager Xero
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Ad Valorem - Xero UK's 2020 Mid-size Firm of the Year
Ad Valorem

In many ways, the Covid-19 pandemic was the ultimate test for the business agility of accounting firms. Not only have they been forced to adjust and transform their service offering rapidly, they also had to guide their clients through periods of extreme uncertainty.

Milton Keynes-based accounting firm Ad Valorem is no exception. With clients ranging from start-ups to larger businesses turning over £25m, the Xero Mid-Size Firm of the Year for 2020 covers a broad spectrum of industries, including e-commerce, manufacturing, tech, and recruitment.

Immediate action

“Soon after lockdown started, we realised we had to move fast to help our clients adapt to the intimidating challenges presented by the lockdown restrictions,” said Adams. “We migrated more than 130 clients onto Xero, which enabled them to access their accounts remotely. It also gave us the ability to advise them with up-to-date information.”

Ad Valorem used cashflow apps such as Futrli and Fluidly to assess the impact Covid-19 has had on client businesses. “These tools helped our clients identify whether funding was needed to cover the impact of Covid. We would then assist them when applying for loans and grants,” said Adams.

Support starts at home

“Our whole team began working from home within 24 hours, with our Head of Operations Alex Combes overseeing the IT and equipment transition. Being a cloud-based practice certainly made this transition a lot easier, and team members were able to log-in from home within hours,” he continued.

During the lockdown, Ad Valorem focused on supporting the team more than ever. To help people stay focused and motivated, it implemented several wellbeing initiatives, including its popular Step Challenge.

“The working day can eat into social time when your working from home, so to keep active, employees were encouraged to walk several thousand steps per day. Prizes were awarded to those who managed to sustain it for a full month,” said Adams.

Prizes included vouchers from local businesses to support the community economy, so the incentive scheme boosted local business and Ad Valorem employees alike.

The second lockdown

Just like the first time around, the practice supported clients during the second lockdown with regular email summaries of the government support initiatives to help identify who is eligible for the latest aid packages.

“As a result, we’re assisting many clients with CJRS calculations and submissions. We’re also continuing to help clients understand their cashflow by preparing forecasts and advising on potential scenarios,” Adams explained.

“This is where Xero’s value truly shines,” he continued. “Based on accurate and real-time data, it gives our team and clients the ability to collaborate quickly. Making informed decisions relies on having an accurate and up-to-date picture of your finances and the damage intensifies if you don’t respond quickly to developing situations.”

Real-time data is also essential for preparing cashflow forecasts, otherwise it’s impossible to know the starting position of the forecast, he added.

“The automated chasing function in Xero helps with credit control, and the Stripe integration means many clients now pay on receipt of invoice. As a best practice, we use the Draft Invoice function in Xero to track our work in progress on the Xero Dashboard.”

The Ad Valorem Covid-19 experience has been repeated at many practices across the UK during the past nine months – proving definitively that when economic storm clouds are looming on the horizon, proactive business advisers can protect and grow client businesses and manage the things business owners don’t have the time to manage themselves.

If you’re an accountant or bookkeeper in practice, join the Xero partner programme to get tools and resources to set up your practice and clients for success.

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