The challenges of advising business clients during and post the Covid-19 crisis

August 21st 2020 | Posted by Dave Cross

The challenges of advising business clients during and post the Covid-19 crisis

The challenges of advising business clients during and post the Covid-19 crisis

This is a challenging time for businesses and their accounting advisors alike. The very nature of a pandemic is that it’s unpredictable. This means that the financial effects are also hard to predict.

However, businesses are still expected to manage their financial resilience and to manage liquidity efficiently. This means that they require accounting advice and expertise more than ever.

The challenge of keeping up to date with the latest situation and information

Given the need to manage their financial situation, businesses obviously want to be aware of, and understand, the help and support that they have access to. This includes government initiatives such as the deferral of VAT payments and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The problem is that although there are certain fixed legislative factors that accounting firms can advise about, there is also a lot of uncertainty. The country is now in a period of recession and local COVID-19 related restrictions are a major cause for concern for businesses, especially in the hospitality sector.

The challenge of advising clients during this period of uncertainty

During these uncertain times there are three main challenges that accounting professionals are facing when it comes to advising clients:

  • Providing reassurance and advising about potential financial assistance.
  • Understanding ongoing legislative changes in order to be able to communicate them to clients.
  • Sharing valuable tools that enable clients to embrace changed working practices such as working from home.

In order to embrace these challenges, accounting professionals need to be creative in the way they provide advice.

Providing advice and support to clients at this difficult time

In order to be successful in maintaining valuable relationships with clients at this time, accounting firms need to think carefully about how they provide the best possible advice and support. There are several areas that the best professionals are paying careful attention to.

Assuring continuous research rather than comprehensive knowledge

It’s impossible to be an expert in legislation and business support right now. This is because the landscape is subject to so much ongoing change. For instance, there are calls to provide tailored government support for businesses that are located in areas affected by ongoing restrictions.

The important thing is for accounting professionals to assure clients that they are on top of researching changes so that they are aware of the latest advice and information.

Communication that explains as well as informs

This is a confusing period for everyone when it comes to dealing with the running of a business. For this reason, clients value explanations rather than basic information.

Many top professionals are choosing to contact clients by telephone or video, rather than email, so that comprehensive explanations can be provided.

Producing packages that can be accessed by clients when required

The problem with having lengthy explanatory sessions with individual clients is that they are time-consuming and may not necessarily represent billable time.

This is why top accounting professionals are investing time in producing advice packages that can be accessed by clients whenever they are required.

The difficulties created by COVID-19 will continue to have an impact for some time yet. Accounting professionals need to think and act creatively in order to combat the challenges of advising clients during this period.

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