COVID-19 doesn’t just change how you do business. It changes how you interact with your accountant, tax adviser and auditor.
Thanks to the cocktail of increased uncertainty and social distancing, ‘traditional’ ways of working have been rendered useless.
Advisers – like many businesses out there – are having to adapt to these new hurdles. And of course, some will fly. Some will fall.
Deafened by the silence?
The level of communication you’re receiving and the quality of the conversations you’re having shouldn’t have been impacted by COVID-19.
In fact, you’d expect to be having better quality conversations at such a critical time for many businesses.
Technology like Microsoft Teams means you can stay in touch (virtually) and still have that face-to-face meeting, or that chat over a coffee. And greater planning and assistance by all parties will be essential when it comes to efficiency and cost control.
So, is your adviser giving you the quantity and quality of conversations you need right now?
No? Maybe it’s time to look elsewhere.
How do I go about it?
Now is not the time to make hasty decisions and forget the normal rules of business. Take your time. Do your research. And make sure your adviser is the right fit to support both you and your business through this pandemic.
Be sure to ask about their digital capabilities, such as their approach to your stocktake, or attending your board meetings.
You’ll want to know about what technologies or client portals you’ll be using to interact. And you’ll want reassurance that your data will be secure within that system.
Ask to speak to their clients about how they’ve found going through a remote or digital process. You might need to make allowances – every company has had to make decisions, react quickly and learn along the way – but you’ll get a feel for how agile, responsive and proactive they’ve been in meeting the challenges. You can read more about remote audits and stocktakes, here.
Documents and proposals can be shared digitally. Panels and pitches can all be carried out over Microsoft Teams or Zoom. The entire process can be adapted so that the normal rules of good governance can still apply.
Is now a good time?
Well, if not now, when?
While the economy is slowly starting to open back up, the ripple effects of the coronavirus pandemic will be felt for years to come. We know that. And this no longer feels like a short-term blip.
There’s a lot of uncertainty out there. Understandably. So, it might not feel like the right time to be bringing a new relationship into the mix. But ultimately, it’s the strength of that relationship that will determine how effectively you respond to the challenges and opportunities ahead.