Our clients are a diverse and wide-ranging group. No two clients have the same needs and wants and it’s what I love most about being an accountant in practice. 

But there are two qualities that pretty much all of them share. They are hard-working and they are adaptable.

Those two qualities are going to be in demand like never before in this ever-changing landscape. 

But hard work isn’t much help if you haven’t got a clue what to do next. 

This week I had an online meeting with a client where we discussed four different courses of action over a particular issue. I summarised them by saying that the only way to ensure we did the right thing was to get a time machine, travel forward in time 12 months and look back and consider what we should have done. 

Ultimately, decisions have to made on best guesses about what the future holds.

The alternative is to do nothing. 

But how should you be spending your time when you have no idea what the future holds and very few customers to serve? One client told me he’d washed the car and tidied his man drawer on day one and it was now time he got back to work. 

Once again, friend of the firm, Steve Backley has produced a short video based on his own experiences of setbacks in his sporting life to help our clients focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t. The password to watch is BackleyBlack2.

I’m sure you all have your own lists but just to help, here’s a suggestion of a few things you can do now that may (who really knows?) benefit your business when life eventually returns to normal:

  1. Read. I’ve recommended so many business books over the years to so many people but you all have such busy lives that its difficult to find the time. Now is that time. Somewhere along the line A4G will publish a list of all the best business books we have come across
  2. Exercise but not too hard. A moderate level of exercise every day that doesn’t leave your body’s reserves depleted will help you recover quicker if you get ill
  3. Do a list of all the things that your staff get wrong when they’re busy. Draw up checklists on how to do those things right. When you’re back, you can use these to train people properly and reduce errors
  4. Consider how your business can do some or all of what it does online. There have been some great initiatives in the past week such as this company featured on the BBC website yesterday.
  5. Sort out your profile on LinkedIn, connect up with your customers, suppliers and anyone else you work with regularly.
  6. Consider other social media sites that might be appropriate to promote your business on. Even if you have nothing to promote now because your business is essentially in hibernation, there may be a big demand for your product or service afterwards.
  7. Update your database of potential customers
  8. Sign up to training videos on stuff where your knowledge is weak. You may never have as much time again to do things like this
  9. Get your accounting records up to date and if you’ve passed your year-end let us know. No excuses for leaving it until the deadline this year
  10. And while you’re about it, if you use a bookkeeper that you rely on, learn how to view some of the reporting functions on your software so you can review your management accounts. These will never have been as important as they are going to be over the next few months
  11. Move your accounting records to the cloud if you haven’t done so already. If you’re not sure whether you’re using the best package for you, read our article on “Which accounts package should I use?”
  12. It’s not just accounting records that should be on the cloud (or at least on a server that can be accessed remotely.) Paper is the enemy because it can only be seen one person when it might be required by multiple people in your organisation. Get it scanned and saved into directory
  13. Do a list of what your employees could be doing if they haven’t been furloughed
  14. Review overheads and consider cost reduction websites that you’ve never had time to look at before
  15. Learn to use communication tools such as Microsoft Teams, Skype and Zoom. If its good enough for the Prime Minister and the cabinet, it’s good enough for us all
  16. Read blogs. My favourite is Seth Godin. Read back over previous posts and I’m sure you will find all sorts of inspiration and food for thought.
  17. And if you are inspired, start writing a business plan. This might get changed a lot as the weeks go by but the act of writing things down will get your mind thinking
  18. Keep in touch with your customers. They might not need you now, but they will need you again. Don’t expect that they will definitely come back and use you when this is all over
  19. Keep in touch with your staff especially if they are furloughed. They might be enjoying the free time now, but you will want them to come back to work refreshed and ready to go whenever that is
  20. Start drafting role pages for the different roles that exist in your business. This will create clarity and accountability when staff are back and you start getting busy again. And it will make your business less dependent on you.
  21. Draft some case studies about some of the best work you have done. These could be used on your website, in other marketing materials or as part of proposals for new customers.
  22. Ask your best customers for testimonials for use on your website or some of the other social media that you have set up (see above).

Whether your business has gone into hibernation or simply downsized, the list above will get you ready for when things return to some kind of normal. 

Tomorrow we will be giving the finer details that you need to get right if you are furloughing staff next week. If you’re not signed up to receive our daily emails from our Coronavirus Business Advice Hub and would like to receive our daily updates, please subscribe here.

Contact me today!

Malcolm Palmer


Managing Partner

01474 853856

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