As coronavirus cases soar across the USA, it will take time for things to come back to normal. This time will go into our history books as no one would have imagined the impact of a microscopic virus.
It is crucial to ‘slowly’ revive the economy. This ‘new normal’ will bridge the gap between an economic crisis and our safety from the virus. The ‘new normal’ may also mean to make significant changes in business processes or business models.
Businesses across the country are taking steps to prepare themselves for the time ahead, especially accounting firms. Those firms which adapt to a ‘new normal’ and mold their accounting strategies around the same will be back in the game sooner than others.
Are You Ready For The Future?
These are unpredictable times that no one could have guessed. In case a similar situation arises, is your accounting firm ready to take the load? What if another pandemic occurs in the future? What if an earthquake hits your city? What if your data is hacked? Is your Business Continuity Plan strong enough? What do you need to do for better planning?
Let’s have a look.
1. Establish a Pandemic Preparedness Team
Form a team in your accounting firm that monitors critical business operations and reports directly to senior management. The core responsibility of this team revolves around looking after accounting activities and managing them for business continuity in case a disaster occurs.
For instance, setting up the required IT infrastructure or VPN might be the most important activity, while other activities such as hiring new people or training employees could be at the bottom of the priority list for them.
2. Review the HR Policies and Practices
Closely monitor the HR policies and make necessary amendments. Analyze the attendance percentage and identify critical pillars for the functioning of your organization. Learn to function without them as absentee rates can shoot up during a crisis (be ready for working with half of your staff).
Work towards increasing employee motivation, allow flexible working hours and be sensitive enough to provide them with extra sick leaves.
3. Promote Remote Working for Future
With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the world is undergoing the largest remote-work experiment. Most experts believe that this is a blessing in disguise for organizations to implement a remote-work culture.
According to Gartner, the new generation wants more flexibility with their time, and the demand for remote work will increase by 30% by 2030. In case a crisis occurs again, your accountants will not face any difficulty working from home – the productivity will not be impacted, and your business will thrive despite the crisis.
4. Review IT Actions
IT, as a business function, is better prepared for business continuity, but you should be prepared for the worst. Identify critical equipment in the supply chain and keep some extra stock for the same.
Another alternative is to minimize the use of IT infrastructure and migrate to the cloud. You can choose a cloud service provider to host your accounting software such as QuickBooks and store your data. This will help you and your employees gain access to the data remotely without the use of any additional hardware.
5. Extend Personal Hygiene Protocols
A few years ago, people believed that by 2020, we would have flying cars, and all the vehicles would run on electricity. Who would have thought that in 2020, we would be advising others to wash their hands regularly?
Once the pandemic is over, it is critical to extend the personal hygiene protocols in accounting firms around cleaning and washing their hands.
6. Review the Finance Implications
No one would have imagined that almost every business in the world would suffer because of the coronavirus. But you’ll have to revise all the forecasts and communicate the same with the business owners, suppliers, and investors.
It is also critical to keep your financial treasure healthy to survive the current situation. Consider seeking loans or government aid to support the cash flow.
7. Establish a Robust Communication System
The current situation is temporary but has created a long-term environment of remote working around the world. Hence, we cannot neglect the importance of a robust communications system.
Establish a communications system for such cases – assign a spokesperson to keep regular contact with the accountant’s on the firm’s behalf, communicate with pre-approved scripts and messages to check on them, and promote greater communication within the team.
8. Review the Business Impact
Break down the task of analyzing the business impact into multiple activities and business areas. Form a team that understands the ground reality in the worst-hit countries (if they are a part of your client’s supply chain).
Is public transport working? Are schools open? How much is the load on their medical infrastructure? Are plants and factories working? These are some questions you should consider to serve your clients better.
9. After Action Review
Identify the lessons learned based on your observations and use these results to make your workplace better. Also, identify the areas which need improvement, plan and implement strategies, and schedule future exercises.
These were some of the actions needed to be executed in the future. Every company, especially accounting firms, will have to work hard to survive this pandemic. A steady and thoughtful approach, along with these tips to manage your accounting process, can prove to be vital for its survival.
Wish to know how you can future-proof your business? Call our Solutions Consultant at 855-879-5481.
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