Accountancy Profession’s Response to Coronavirus Video Discussions

In light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Accountancy Age is hosting live video conversations with leading accountants every other Friday for them to share how they’re responding to the challenges they face and how they’ll continue to support and navigate their clients through the crisis.

The next hour long discussion will take place at 2.30pm on the 29th May and will focus on key areas such as cash management, counterparty risk, security risk, business recovery; as well as understanding how to benefit from government assistance.

Speakers:

  • Michael McCaw, Editor, Accountancy Age
  • Mark Lillie, Global Technology, Strategy and Transformation Lead, Deloitte
  • Stuart Hurst, Director of Cloud Accounting, UHY Hacker Young

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Previous discussions are available to view on-demand below.

Discussion 4

The fourth discussion focused on government assistance, adaptation and the future for new talent.

Here are a few of the key takeaways from the discussion:

  • Working with clients on Government coronavirus intervention has been challenging, as different organisations have received different information – partly due to the fast pace of these Government programmes. “Everybody’s learning at the same time,”.
  • The pandemic has forced many markets to adapt. Such as a struggling pizza restaurant deciding to react to market demand and provide bake-at-home pizza kits. In turn, this bolstered their cashflow and has allowed them to fill a niche in the market – much like accountants can do.
  • The stream of new talent coming into the profession will begin returning to normal, but recruits need to be patient. Students waiting on internships have also been impacted, but there will be a constant need for new talent. Recruits should spend this time polishing their CVs and working to diversify their skills.
  • Internships may change in form, depending on the length of lockdown. Some internships may become virtual or otherwise change their form. While waiting for these changes, students are advised to find ways to make themselves stand out once a sense of normalcy has been re-established.
  • Accountants should look for ways to add value to their services, such as being a sounding board for clients and offering support to business leaders. Technology can help facilitate this e.g. scenario planning to cashflow forecasting, but accountants need to actively look for solutions.

Speakers:

  • Michael McCaw, Editor, Accountancy Age
  • Feargal McCormack, Managing Director, PKF-FPM
  • Andy Atkins, Partner, Bulley Davey
  • Ian Brown, Consultant, Bulley Davey

View the on-demand discussion here

Discussion 3

Our third discussion focused on IR35, the VAT deferral, and searching for the new norm during this global pandemic.

Here are a few of the key takeaways from the discussion:

  • While IR35 has been delayed due to coronavirus, contractors and freelancers will still be affected. “Some small businesses have had to be very innovative” to stay afloat in these strange times.
  • Pulling IR35 was a practical decision by HMRC to divert resources but the delay came too late to properly assist contractors and businesses. Even though there are many unknowns to IR35, advising clients to prepare for the situation as best they can is still important.
  • While ‘cash is king’, it was stressed the importance of forward-planning and focus within accounting, adding that the current environment is “about making sure that your business is still there and trying to still operate”.
  • Big shift around accountancy software as more firms leave their ‘old-fashioned approaches’ behind. Effective technology is beneficial for both clients and firms “It’s not about crunching through a bag of receipts; it’s about making sure that the information is real-time and then looking at it” and seeing where value can be added.
  • Moving the wider industry to cloud-based software is essential, even in an uncertain time like this, accountants should be looking at their technology to see what works, what doesn’t, and what will work in the longer-term.

Speakers:

  • Michael McCaw, Editor, Accountancy Age
  • Richard Hepburn, Operations Manager, Gorilla Accounting
  • Kath Docherty, Strategic Development Manager, C&M Accountants

View the on-demand discussion here.

Discussion 2

Date: 14th April

This session discussed how the accounting profession is assisting SMEs, and the internal and external responses firms made in the wake of the crisis.

Here are a few of the key takeaways from the discussion:

  • Accountants’ clients are being “bombarded” by government announcements, and are struggling to understand them all
  • The IR35 delay has provided a cash cushion for those who were prepared for the original deadline
  • Where possible, keeping staff on now will benefit in the long term as the situation improves
  • The government needs to provide much more detail on CBILS and CJRS

Speakers:

  • Michael McCaw, editor, Accountancy Age
  • James Poyser, CEO, inniAccounts
  • Gedalia Waldman, head of Audit, Grunberg & Co

View the on-demand discussion here.

Discussion 1

Date: 27th March
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This session discussed how the accounting profession is tackling a nationwide lockdown and how to best support clients on key challenges such as cash management, counterparty risk, security risks, business recovery; as well as just how helpful both the UK government and regulators are being for firms and their clients.

Here are a few of the key takeaways from the discussion:

  • Government measures to deal with coronavirus are welcome, but there remains many gaps. Similarly, in the US, there are problems for SMEs accessing funding
  • Communication is more important than ever. With working from home in place accountants are finding it crucial that communication lines with clients are open
  • The advisory role has become more important, with accountants offering far wider reaching business advice
  • Tech uptake could be accelerated by coronavirus, as accountants who rely heavily on paper-based processes could struggle

Speakers:

  • Michael McCaw, editor, Accountancy Age
  • Margaret Laidlaw, head of UK entrepreneurial business, Mazars
  • Stuart Hurst, director of cloud accounting, UHY Hacker Young
  • Dan Zitting, chief product & strategy officer, Galvanize

View the on-demand discussion here.