Five ways to support your clients in the new normal
The disruption created by the pandemic has been challenging. And it’s now clear the associated problems will run into 2021, and possibly beyond.
By putting a series of steps in place to support clients and offer value, not only will your accountancy practice be able to help them, you’ll also be able to position your practice and your team as trusted advisers.
In June 2020, Sage conducted research amongst 2,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the UK to provide a snapshot of responses to the coronavirus disruption.
It revealed what measures businesses are taking to respond to during these unprecedented times. The results revealed that the biggest challenges for businesses were adapting to restrictions (65 percent), reduced demand (44 percent), cash flow problems (39 percent) and supply chain disruption (32 percent).
Yet these are clearly areas which responsive accountants are well placed to help with.
Below, Sage share several pointers your practice can do to give your clients the support they are looking for as they tackle the challenges due to coronavirus.
A responsive accountant can offer support in the following five ways:
Understand what client knowledge of some areas around the emergency coronavirus government legislation might be limited – and be prepared to fill that gap.
For example, with the Job Retention Scheme being extended until December 2020, furloughing staff is an option that’s back on the table. But businesses may need to gain knowledge of employment and contract law to make sure things are done correctly.
Accountants may already have this knowledge and, if not, they’re better placed to learn about it than the client.
Ensure you keep in touch with your clients so they don’t feel abandoned. Some of the conversations you have could be more emotional than usual and will certainly cover different topics.
But your ability to provide an overview of a company’s finances and to apply this to the emergency offerings from the government and elsewhere has never been more vital.
Help your clients understand what financial support is available to them, and that measures are at their disposal, such as the Job Retention Scheme, the forthcoming Job Support Scheme, loan and grant offerings, and HMRC’s Time to Pay.
It’s a good idea to segment your client base based on who is likely to require more help, or who may need certain kinds of funding or support from the initiatives announced by the government.
You might even create group video meetings with these clients, or webinars, to discuss what they can do.
Be prepared to offer the support clients need to get through grant or loan applications. You may need to provide key financial reports for them, for example.
Some of these applications are going to be vital for their continuation in these trying times and is therefore vital for them remaining as a client for your firm
With in-person client meetings on hold for now, your clients will be working with you remotely to go over their financials. If they need support with their cloud accounting software to do this, you’ll be in a good position to help them.
By providing support around this area of remote working, you could offer a valuable service to your clients. Any help you can offer will be undoubtedly warmly received.
The concept of a trusted adviser has never been more relevant. As your clients seek guidance during difficult times, offering support to help their businesses keep moving is vital.
By going the extra mile to provide the assistance that your clients – both existing and new – require at this time, not only will you be helping them to get through times of uncertainty, you’ll also give your practice the best opportunity to keep thriving both now and in the future.
For further insight and our latest research on how you can boss, working with your clients in the new normal visit our website.