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Accountants will play a ‘key role’ in supporting businesses post COVID-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused major disruption to economies and financial systems worldwide. Accountants work with all businesses and sectors so are able to obtain a full view of the different scenarios that businesses throughout the UK will be facing as we start to work through the rest of 2020 and into the future.

Iain Wright, the (ICAEW) Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, Director for Business and Industrial Strategy, recently commented that the accountancy profession has a key role to play in helping businesses navigate their way through the perils of the crisis. He highlighted that ICAEW members such as ourselves at Seymour Taylor, who run businesses and work with clients every day, see the areas that clients may be struggling with.

The immediate priority for many businesses we have found has been to reassure staff as much as possible, whilst ensuring that sufficient funds are kept in the system to help cash flow, sometimes in the face of falling demand. Obviously this hasn’t been the case for everyone; some businesses have thrived during this period either by refocusing their efforts into an area that was required such as PPE or plastic screens, or they have been agile enough to respond quickly to the challenges ahead, or their services have been needed for others to respond.

With the latest measures recently announced in the Chancellor’s Summer Economic Update  businesses will be able to access new forms of funding during the difficult months ahead. Businesses will also be looking for specific advice. At Seymour Taylor, we recognise the importance of staying close to our clients and ensuring that they know that they can reach out for support from us when they need it. 

Communication has never been so important. But what should businesses do post COVID-19 and how can Accountants help?

There are some key things that businesses can do:

Re-evaluate your business plan

When you last wrote your business plan you would have considered the following areas;

  • What is your market opportunity?
  • Who is your target market?
  • How will your team resource to enable delivery of your plan?
  • What is your pricing structure vs your competitors?

Prior to Covid-19, you probably had a clearly defined plan. This is the time to review what you had previously and to look at the way forward.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How is your business doing now?
  • Are there new opportunities that you can explore?
  • What is your target market now? Has it changed?
  • Operationally how does your business need to change to deliver its products or service and how will your team be structured to achieve this?
  • What are your annual targets? Do they need to be reset?
  • Does your business need a new vision and/or mission statement?
  • How will you communicate this to your team and motivate them?

Some of these areas will throw up new challenges:

  • When will this end?
  • Are consumer buying habits going to change short term or long term?
  • How will these changes affect your pricing strategy or the services you sell?
  • Can you increase sales conversion?
  • How do you achieve sales in this challenging environment?

Flexibility will be important, as will be testing and learning new things in this new world.

The Coronavirus pandemic has been a challenging time for many businesses. Some businesses have adapted more easily than others. Now is the time to take stock of the areas of your business that were not prepared and maybe need to change and adapt going forward.

What are the goals of your business now?

We have been working with clients on their financial forecasts. It will be important to look at the financial structure for this year.

  • How does the cash flow projection perform against your plans?
  • Are your new targets achievable?
  • Are there effects of unachieved targets what might these be?
  • How can you improve the projection?

A healthy cash flow in your business will be key. Ensuring you get paid on time, and managing your own outwards payments will help you to manage a healthy cash flow.

Ensure you stay top of mind to your customers.

Marketing is also a key element as you go forward. You will need to continue to create awareness of your product or service. How you market to customers/clients may have changed or you may need to adapt your plan to consider some of these key areas;

  • Who are you marketing to now?
  • How can you get this target marketing to see your brand messaging?
  • What elements of your marketing plan needs to change?
  • How can you stay top of mind with consumers/potential clients?
  • Have you got the technology in place to deliver digital marketing initiatives?
  • What budget do you have available?

Planning, forecasting and resetting targets is vital for businesses right now.

Now is the time to reflect how the last four months have gone and to review what went well for your business, what didn’t and how you want to proceed in the months ahead.

Finding the time to do this may be challenging but it is an important thing to do as a business to move forward.

As accountants, providing support and advice for our clients during the pandemic has been key. Going forward there are a number of ways we can support clients further. This could be by ensuring you are equipped and set up with cloud accounting and technology tools, such as AutoEntry, to guarantee you can manage your finance functions remotely, or by accessing our Outsourced Accounting Services such as payroll, management accounts or cash flow projections freeing up your teams time. Or you could be accessing the specialist advisory services that we offer such as Strategy Days or our Outsourced Finance Director service to assist you. An investment now may make a big difference in the future.

If you would like a free, no obligation quote or conversation about any of our services please contact your usual Seymour Taylor representative or contact us via or call 01494 552100.

This blog is for guidance only, professional advice should be obtained before acting on any information contained herein. The information was correct at time of publishing (30 July 2020).