There’s little doubt that the disruption created by coronavirus (COVID-19) presents challenges to businesses. But how can your accountancy practice offer support to your clients at this time of uncertainty?
By putting a series of steps in place to support your clients and offer value, not only will you be able to help them, but you’ll also be able to position your practice and your team as trusted advisers.
In this article, we share some pointers that will help your clients. Plus, there’s advice from accountants on what they are doing to support their client bases.
Five ways to support your clients
Julia Wedgwood is the product manager for accountants at Sage and a familiar face within the accountant community.
Here, she suggests several things your practice can do to give your clients the support they are looking for as they tackle challenges due to coronavirus.
1. Provide the right knowledge
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, furloughing staff may require knowledge of employment and contract law. Accountants may already have this knowledge and, if not, they’re better placed to learn about it than the client.
2. Offer clarity around financial support
Help your clients understand what financial support is available to them, and that measures are at their disposal, such as the COVID-19 Debt Relief fund and the Sakuma fund,.
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 emergency legislation.
You might even create group video meetings with these clients, or webinars, to discuss what they can do.
3. Support with loan applications
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.
4. Provide technical support
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.
5. Communicate regularly
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.
COVID-19 Business Advice
We are here to support you during this time.
We’ve gathered information and resources to help navigate this situation. You can also find out about support for Sage solutions, including enabling home working.
Conclusion on supporting your clients
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.
And your role as a trusted adviser will be there for all to see.
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