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Lockdown 2 heightens work pressure for accountants

As we sink into a second lockdown, the accounting community voiced their concerns for the ever-changing government schemes.

11th Nov 2020
Community Assistant AccountingWEB
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Covid-19 2m warning
istock_lockdown_John Longley

This Halloween marked Boris Johnson’s announcement of a second national lockdown, bringing with it an onslaught of switched schemes and new guidance.

For many accounting professionals, the announcement meant further waves of a workload that had only just begun to settle.

“Does Rishi hate us?” questioned AccountingWEB reader accountantccole upon hearing the news. 

“Are we doomed?”

Some believe 2021 will be a complete write-off in the aftermath of this year. “Are we all doomed?” questioned AWEB reader sanjay100.

There appeared to be no hope for the future of the business: “Inevitably we will lose clients meaning bad debts and those who remain will have trouble paying. Good relationships will turn sour.”

This has been a continuous worry for many accounting professionals in terms of their projected payments; one user described spending “the whole of Covid chasing old debts”.

Other readers urged them to employ a monthly direct debit or subscription-based payment plan with their business, which has been growing steadily in recent years.

Lockdown limits

While the second lockdown is set to last until the 2 December, there was some scepticism from the readers after the first lockdown stretched months past its initial estimation.

Some readers were sure that these restrictions will follow suit, with predictions that normality will not return until at least April 2021.

“The problem is it won’t be JUST ONE MONTH, it will be at least three,” said valakot. “You must be blind not to see this.”

“A month is a long time in Covidland,” lionofludesch replied. “HMRC could’ve changed their CJRS advice a dozen times in a month.”

Some readers were even sure there was a deeper meaning to the new restrictions, naming the whole thing a “conspiracy”.

“Clearly the government couldn't be bothered to work out the final details with regards to JSS by the end of October,” said reader Paul Hawes, “so instead announced a national lockdown again as an excuse to keep the furlough scheme running.”

Confusion in the community

The majority of AWEB readers appeared to be confused about the details of the ever-changing government work schemes.

“There are so many calculations going round at the minute, I’ve got totally lost,” said AccountingWEB reader Barbara G in her search for extended CJRS answers.

“What an utter shambles,” agreed user NYB. “We may as well pluck a number out of the air to put on our wages slips… I haven’t a first clue what I’m doing.”

With a wave of users “not sure how much more [they] can take”, this lockdown appears to be pushing the profession’s boundaries to its limits. “As a profession our voices are not heard enough,” argued reader jonibarnes. 

In a post titled in out in out, ireallyshouldknowthisbut had some words of advice for any professionals struggling with their phone ringing off the hook: “I find just singing the hokey cokey is now more or less as useful than actually telling clients what we know.”

What do you think about the new restrictions? Let us know in the comments, or share your thoughts in our Any Answers forum.

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