A deadly virus on the streets. Millions infected. Loss of thousands of lives. Shortage of daily essentials. These are tough times that will be remembered for long.
In these tough times, the business world has also been affected. Financial markets are uncertain; businesses are struggling to operate – some have already closed down, and people need financial advice. Now is the time when accounting firms need to offer as much support as they can to help their clients fight the COVID-19 crisis.
Some accounting firms have already implemented a business continuity plan by leveraging the power of cloud-based accounting systems and have started assisting clients remotely.
In this article, let’s have a look at the possible ways accounting firms can offer their support during the coronavirus pandemic.
1. Communicate Frequently
During the current crisis, your clients are stressed about everything in life, from essentials to the survival of their business. They’ll always look for someone who is ready to help and is better equipped to manage their finances.
Be frequent in your communications either through email or phone. You can send daily emails with beneficial money-saving tips and tricks to your clients. Let them know that you’re available for their help and ask them to keep in touch regularly. This way, you’ll get to know about their problems sooner and might solve them better.
2. Consider Cash Flow
Not every business or client is at the same financial level. You are aware of the clients who have steady finances and of those who are operating hand-to-mouth. Be in touch with the clients more who are in deeper trouble and offer them your advice or help in every possible way.
It may be a good idea to go out of your way and provide support on a personal level as well. After all, it is about the survival of their business.
Now is also a great time to perform a cashflow audit and do a complete analysis of their financial health, offering a new layout you might have for them to overcome the current situation.
3. Help in Getting Financial Benefits and Loans
Governments all over the globe are providing benefits to businesses and business owners to fight the pandemic situation. Also, several states and cities have come up with unique benefits. For instance, San Francisco has come up with the COVID-19 Small Business Resiliency Fund.
Your accounting firm can significantly help your clients claim such benefits. You’ll know what your clients are eligible for and what benefits they can get. You can share relevant details with them and help in completing the process.
4. Confirm Taxes Early
The deadline for filing taxes in the USA has been extended to July 15, 2020. This means that most people will defer doing accounts.However, you should plan to do your clients’ taxes in the next week or so and stop waiting for the right time to complete the process.
If you can convey the same to your clients, it might save you and your clients a lot of unnecessary hassle. Give them gentle reminders for the same and arrange everything from your end in the meanwhile.
The fact is, once they realize the benefits, they’ll appreciate your work more than before.
5. Advice on Business Costs
Analyze the business expenditure of your clients and come up with a list of non-essential expenses. Necessary expenses such as salaries, payments, tax liabilities, etc. should not be affected by declining sales, but everything else needs to be managed properly.
This is the time to think laterally and come up with creative and innovative ways to save expenses. You can also advise them to defer some costs until the situation is back to normal. This is the time when some tough decisions will have to be made.
6. Advise on the Supply Chain
Supply chains are deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses that import their supplies from the most affected countries are suffering the most. Some of them are already derailed and struggling to survive.
Advise them to look into their supply chain deeply and find an alternative for every supplier. Ask them to create a roadmap of the future and start importing from countries that are least affected by COVID-19. Also, it won’t be harmful to know from where their suppliers import.
7. Encourage Timely Payments
During a crisis, there is a temptation to delay the payments and hold onto as much cash as possible. However, as good as it may sound, such temptations should be resisted. Holding onto the cash means that the health of the economy is being compromised. People who need money will not get it timely.
Suggest your clients clear all their debts and ask for payments from their clients. This way, the economic cycle will remain functional. In case your clients are not able to make complete payments, ask them to keep clearing their debts in installments.
Recommend Them to Think of the Future
The virus will go away one day, and everything will be back as usual. But this does not mean that you and your clients forget all the learning. The economic landscape is set to change permanently, and you need to advise them about their plans.
What could have been done differently? How to prepare for a similar disaster in the future? These are some areas where their business expertise and financial guidance can help them strengthen their financial health.
It would be best if you were in constant touch with your clients, and they should know that you’re there for them. Ask them questions about their personal lives and their business, advise them to take better steps, and empower them with your knowledge and expertise.
Do you want to serve your clients better during the COID-19 pandemic and wondering how technology can help? Get in touch with a Solutions Consultant at 855-270-6252.
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