Accountants can excel during coronavirus outbreaks in Five Simple Ways

On reflection, the reputation of accountants, we can be a little disappointed.

The surveys of businesspeople will regularly show the accountant as the most "trusted advisor." However, it seems that accountants' understanding of what they do and their contribution is still comparatively poor.

COVID-19, with the Delta variant, can alter all that.

Much of the support provided by the Government in this crisis is given through the IRD and MSD. And who is it who typically supports businesses and individuals with their IRD and MSD relationships? It is, indeed, accountants.

Below are suggestions for how one can stand out in these troubled times.

1. Proactively communicating with clients

Sending emails occasionally to share information about the government support and mentioning to contact us if help is needed will not cut it.

After a long time, if the accountant rings, a client says that thinking of you and wants to tell you about some things that could help you.

The accountant was having a beneficial conversation. Mentions that being on the phone from 7am to 7pm every day, working through his client list.

Being a small client, they reacted very positively to the accountant for being contacted.

It is expected that clients will react the same when you call them, particularly if one has to demonstrate that they too are going through their situation and have specific ideas for improving it.

2. Having Communication often in different ways

Different people understand the information in different ways, and most of us need to be open to information multiple times to understand it fully.

The possibilities for Communication are:

• Phone call

• Email

• Video call

• Live webinar

• Pre-recorded video

This type of Communication has its place.

If we had a choice for two, it would be email and video calls. Emails allow you to provide comprehensive information that your clients can re-read as many times as required.

Most businesses will be sending automated emails rather than customizing them for every client. That could take too stretched to be done on a large scale. So instead, the follow-up video call gives each client their specific situation to be discussed and seeing them face to face, one can know if they understand or not.

It is just so much more involvement for the client. However, you may have some clients who are not comfortable using video or don't have the equipment, so that a phone call will be appropriate in those cases.

Suppose you do all of your Communication via email. In that case, you are missing an opportunity to engage with your clients fully and ensure they truly understand what they can do to help themselves.

I have noticed a few accountants recording videos recently to explain the support available for clients. I think this is an excellent technique to combine with email, such as sending an email with a written explanation and inviting the clients to watch the video, which they might prefer.

There could be quite a few live webinars being run in the last couple of weeks, and this is a one-to-many approach that could be useful. However, there is no substitution for one-on-one interaction.

Indeed, the one-on-one takes longer. This is convincing that what will enable one to shine.

In these challenging instances, one can put in the extra hours to look after their clients and be rewarded with loyalty.

3. Using simple English in explaining things with practical advice for each client's situation

Being a subject matter expert can be straightforward, to forget that your audience (your clients) will not have the same level of understanding and may not even understand some of the words used.

Tailoring words for a respective client based on their level of knowledge and also their specific circumstances.

Understanding that is also helpful to do a quick summary. At the end of the conversation, you and the client will be taking the agreed actions and by when. This significantly reduces the chances of any misunderstanding.

4. Considering a lasting relationship and not a transactional relationship

It is an honest opinion to say that most accountants normally retain their clients for many years.

There are several reasons for this, and one of them is that clients perceive changing that accountants are a big deal. Something hard to change. A bit like changing your doctor, bank, or dentist.

Just because the client is sticking around this does not mean that they are well looking after.

With the current COVID-19 crisis, there has already been ample online discussion about whether the clients should be charged for the extra work done to support them during this difficult time.

The answer is. It could vary on the relationship one has with each client and the extent of the work to maintain.

If the accountant had a phone call for about 15 minutes, and that was all required. In this case, it is not suggested that charging the client would not be the ideal consideration.

If this approach is taken to call the clients, tell each client upfront: "in case you are worried, this call is free with no charge…". Then, your clients will thank you.

Some of the clients will likely expect to be charged or even insist on it. If you are doing a lot of work for them, of course, that is an acceptable expectation. However, that does not imply you cannot give them extra value in recognizing the trying times.

Everyone is impacted, and all are taking a bit of a hit to do their bit.

5. Demonstrating empathy

Several times, it has been stated that the COVID-19 pandemic is together a health crisis and economic crisis.

This means that it is a social catastrophe. Human beings worldwide, including clients, are being impacted in ways that most would have considered unconceivable only a few months ago.

The job as an accountant is to do everything to support the client to cope in their business and financial matters in the beneficial means attainable to minimize the impact.

In these outrageous times, it is also to be human and demonstrate empathy. Referring to Collins Dictionary defines empathy as "the ability to share another person's feelings and emotions as if they were your own."

It is a crucial way to show we are caring. Perhaps the irony is that, in reality, one could also be going through the same things as the clients.

Being mindful to ensure the focus of the conversation is the client. It is all about the client being kept at the forefront.

What we need to see happening after the passing of this crisis. At barbecues and other events, the clients tell their friends how excellent their accountant was and how much they helped them. This is what the accounts want their clients to be talking about.

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Being experienced with an accounting background, we can offer a wide range of reliable and accurate bookkeeping services. A common question often asked is, "What exactly does a bookkeeper do? "The answer to this question is shown below for our services as specialist bookkeepers. We can,of course, modify our services to suit the needs of your business whether you need a few of these services or all.

·      Accounts Receivable*-Invoice preparation and follow-up with the client

·      Accounts Payable* - Suppliers' invoices are processed and paid when due.

·    Bank Reconciliations -Reconciling Bank and Credit Card accounts with daily bank feeds

·     GST Filing                        - Timely filing of Bi-Monthly or Six-Monthly returns

·     System Training               - Training is required whenever you choose new software. We provide free training.

·    Accounting Software conversions – With our expertise, we can switch your accounting information to XERO/MYOB

·        Payroll

·        Unlimited Email Support

*Note:- Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable are closely monitored to ensure that your business has no issues with cashflow

Payroll Management

Business Pillars offers all-inclusive payroll services that help your business run efficiently. We are committed to being legally compliant. Our services are built to simplify payroll processes for small to medium-sized businesses throughout New Zealand.

PAYROLL processing made easy

We provide the most updated payroll solutions tailored-made that is affordable to your requirement. We are committed to taking care of all the work demanded, allowing you to focus your time and energy on more essential things you love to do.

Our payroll services are:

·        Employees pay, On-time payments including benefits, reimbursements, deductions, Weekly/Fortnightly/Monthly

·        Employee PAYE

·        Payday Filing   – Timely filing returns to IRD

·        Leave entitlements– Accruals for each type of leave

·        Leave Payment - As per Holiday Act 2003

·        KiwiSaver contributions

·        Maintaining payroll records – payments and documentation

GST Filing

Timely Processing

We ensure that we file all GST Tax returns two weeks before the due date. We keep our clients informed before we proceed. This ensures that the client is at ease.

·        GST Filing        - Timely filing of Bi-Monthly or Six-Monthly returns

Monthly / Quarterly Advisory

The clients are in a position to process their reports from the software chosen. Based on the service requested, additional reports are also given that are not available in their chosen software. These reports enable the client to make corrective business decisions. Business Pillars reaches out to clients who require more assistance.

Monthly Management Meetings

The primary purpose of a monthly management meeting is to get the business to grow. This is either done through a phone call, zoom, or meeting in person.

Cash flow Management

Managing cashflow is a significant responsibility faced by most small businesses. We reach out to businesses making it stress-free to ride on the highs and lows of the cash flow throughout the year.

We assist in producing a cashflow statement which is a financial statement that summarizes the amount of cash entering and leaving the business. The cashflow statement measures how well the business can manage its cash position, meaning how well the business can generate cash to pay its debt commitments and fund the day-to-day operating expenses.

Budget Forecasting

Small business budgeting and forecasting

We need to get some relevant numbers to know what the future will look like regarding a business. Budgeting and forecasting will help to support this vision. Business Pillars can work alongside you to understand these basics so you can build a financially sustainable business.

What is a budget?

The budget estimates how much money will come in and go out from your business over time (usually a year). Budgeting and forecasting normally benefit all businesses and first-time startups to see if they can afford to run the business and compensate for all their hard work with a good return for their initiative.

What are the main principles of having a budget

Budgets forecast the money-making possibility of a business. It will also highlight things like:

  • How much will it cost to startup?
  • How much money is needed to borrow?
  • When will be the breakeven point?
  • How much should the customers be charged?
  • How many staff are needed?

Monthly / Quarterly Advisory

The clients are in a position to process their reports from the software chosen. Based on the service requested, additional reports are also given that are not available in their chosen software. These reports enable the client to make corrective business decisions. Business Pillars reaches out to clients who require more assistance.

Job Management

Job Management is software that supports project managers and teams to complete client requests and projects efficiently. Most professionals depend upon this job tracking software which assists them in supervising multiple sections of a business. Business Pillars are here to assist in setting up this service to track income and expenses related to service jobs.

XERO and MYOB both have the capability for Job Tracking

These are the advantages:-

·        Create quotes immediately

·        Easily track jobs from quote to invoice

·        Schedule the jobs on the go

·        Get paid quicker