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How Accountants Can Help Clients Weather Financial Storms

September 1, 2020

By now, the wide reaching impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been felt by businesses and organisations across the world.

According to key findings from a recent PwC Survey, 63% of organisational leaders are planning changes to products and services and 41% are considering altering pricing as a revenue strategy to remain competitive. PwC findings indicate that COVID-19 continues to set the pace for risk outlooks and organisational growth plans across industries.

Customers will have different wants and needs now, and accounting clients are no different. Continue reading to discover how accountants are key in helping their clients weather financial storms to emerge stronger.

COVID-19, the global economy and modern accounting

The long-term impacts of economic downturn and turbulent stock market conditions are still unknown. But, most professionals unanimously agree the global economy will be rocky for a while to come.

While businesses have gradually begun to reopen, social distancing and government health guidelines have affected spending habits. According to Statista, in the financial products and services industry alone there has been a 6% increase in clients deliberately making purchases online as a result of COVID-19.

This is a relatively large shift in a short space of time. However, on or offline, accountants are the professionals best placed to consider the financial impact that the virus will have on each one of their clients' businesses.

So, how do accountants help businesses?

An accountant will help you create a financial plan. This involves providing key insight on cash flow patterns, inventory management, pricing, and business funding all while working with you to create a business budget aligned with your business goals.

Even during an economic downturn, when growing your business your accountant is an essential resource that provides advice and helps you manage complex processes. There are currently huge rifts in the way some companies are thriving through COVID-19, while others in the travel and public events sectors are struggling to stay afloat.

Regardless whether business is booming for you or not, the pandemic has highlighted how important it is to have a strategic handle of your business finances to best prepare you for whatever the future may have in store. 

So, what are the specific ways accountants help businesses in times of economic difficulty?

Quality accounting services involve regular communication

In any moments of crisis, it’s only natural that a client looks for guidance. Accountants with strong communication demonstrate to their clients there is someone there who cares about their business and its success.

Quality accounting service providers will think nothing of sending a round of emails to their clients, or picking up the phone to make sure there are no major financial issues that may be going undetected. 

The advantage for the client is an effective and personalised service. The benefit for the accountant is that they are aware of any problems and can jump into action more easily to help find the right solution.

Planning ahead in uncertain times is key. A forward-thinking accounting professional will encourage their clients to proactively get account information over to them early. Having clear channels of communication allows the accountant to more efficiently prepare cash flow strategies, tax plans and avoid late payments.

Client services accountants review business costs and help avoid late payments

While it’s crucial for companies to properly manage all costs and expenses in normal circumstances, time of future uncertainty demands an even higher degree of attention.

When business is slow and sales are down, there is always a real temptation to make late payments. An accountant will help you resist this urge, guiding you with expert financial advice that will help preserve your company’s reputation. 

An accounting professional will likely use accounting metrics to track and compare your organisation's key performance indicators (KPIs), such as the time it takes to pay invoices or using analytics to identify long-term trends. KPI strategies may include:

  • Accounts Payable KPIs
  • Accounts Receivable KPIs
  • Internal Accounting Indicators
  • Reporting System to monitor KPIs

Accountancy service providers work hard to maintain regulatory compliance

Regulatory compliance continues to become a growing priority among accounting professionals and clients alike. This is because non-compliance can have serious, sometimes even devastating, consequences.

While accountants are primarily hired to help businesses stay fully in control of their finances while minimising overheads, great accountants will also help clients reduce risks and comply with legal regulation.

A quality accounting service team will have dedicated accounting compliance specialists who are technically skilled with extensive practical and commercial knowledge. In an increasingly global world, expertise will often extend to help multinational organisations meet a diverse range of compliance obligations across different jurisdictions.

Especially during times of international crisis, an accountant will help your company navigate complex regulatory compliance much more easily.

How accounting helps in decision making during financial storms

Accurate accounting guidance gives management leaders and key decision-makers important information regarding the financial position of the business, including profits, loss, costs, liabilities and assets. 

Accounting prevents the mismanagement of assets, while efficiently increasing production, profit, and controlling costs. Especially during times of unprecedented crisis, this means that accountants fill an integral role in supporting the overall development of an organisation.

COVID-19 has, and will undoubtedly continue to affect the way businesses and consumers operate. Once the dust settles after the pandemic, it’s in the best interest of companies to properly evaluate what the crisis has changed for them. Accountants will help to encourage clients to continuously look ahead to make sure they successfully weather the storm.

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