Could your accountant do better?


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Did you feel you got the support you were looking for from your accountant during lockdown? Business Control’s Richard Starkey reflects on why that might be and how it’s never too late to make some changes.

When we first entered lockdown, in March 2020, no one really knew what was going on. There was no hard and fast business guidance from the government; we had no choice but to take the rules that were issued and try to interpret them for our customers in the best way we could. From furlough to flexible working and revenue forecasting to council rebates, we had to get to grips with vast amounts of new information while at the same time presenting a professional and supportive front.


It was no mean feat but we’re feeling pretty proud of what our incredible team achieved.


Why bring this up?

It’s come to our attention that while we were nose to the grindstone, doing our best not to leave any of our customers in the lurch, some of our competitors were not, seemingly, so conscientious.


Clients who have moved over to us recently have told stories of previous accountants who weren’t available for questions and who furloughed their staff (an interesting decision since accountants and payroll masters were allowed to work during lockdown). Worse still, we’ve heard tales of businesses who had to do all the research and paperwork themselves in order to apply for the support to which they were entitled.


Surely that is the entire point of employing an accountant in the first place.


I digress

This isn’t meant to be a competitor bashing piece, it’s merely designed to highlight that if you experienced apathy from your accountant during the last year or so, perhaps there are better options out there. We believe it’s during challenging times that true partners demonstrate their loyalty and their worth. That’s why at Business Control we didn’t take the easy option, we put ourselves out front and doubled down on the service we delivered. And we know that in a time of such uncertainty it was incredibly gratefully received.


What now?

Today, as we begin to emerge, we’re aware that businesses still need help with pandemic-related activities. It’s realistic to think the impact of everything that’s happened will be in evidence for some time. There’s deferred VAT and bounce back (CBIL) loan payments to be made which are dependent on revenue and profits. And cash flow will need to be a focus for many companies if they are to survive trading in this current climate.


Short term support

As experienced accountants we can lend our assistance to all aspects of financial and management accounting as well as tax implications and future proofing.

When it comes to simply managing day to day operational matters, we can offer advice and insight based on actual figures. We can also create a suite of bespoke real-time reports that will give senior teams every confidence in the decisions they’re making and the strategies they’re putting in place for the future. 

If you’re looking to begin expanding again, we can help you work out the figures. Taking on an extra employee is a big undertaking, it requires understanding where the additional business is coming from, are they income-generating and if so how long will it be before they pay for themselves? What does the pipeline look like and are the funds there to pay for them in the longer term?  There are many ongoing costs to consider on top of the recruitment and salary provision, pension enrolment and laptop or PC costs for example. Put simply, we can help you ensure it’s the right decision at the right time for your business. 

And then of course there are one-off projects we’re happy to get involved with. Employee benefit schemes such as company cars, for instance, or socially responsible initiatives like council ebike schemes. All of which require a degree of evaluation to make sure the numbers stack up and they’re taking your business in the right direction. 


Opportunity knocks

As well as creating uncertainty and extra burden, it’s undoubtedly true that the pandemic has created opportunities for many businesses. And we feel it’s our responsibility to help our customers recognise these, whether that’s a potential new revenue stream through digitalisation, or a business model change to better meet customer needs in a post-pandemic world. 

Our customers aren’t accountancy trained; in many cases they’re not even interested in the numbers. They’re cooks or designers or salespeople; their skillset lies elsewhere. So it’s important that they can rely on us to know all the ins and outs, to make sure nothing is missed. And crucially, to present everything to them in language they can understand to inform strategy decisions and discussions (which we can also support by the way). 


Be positive

Overall, the outlook is positive. We’re seeing businesses getting back out there, building back up and even generating more money thanks to digital revenue streams added or new markets entered over the last 18 months. Travel and entertainment are coming back, possibly not as quickly as we hoped, but there is a distinct feeling that things are starting to get back to normal. 

What’s my biggest piece of advice for the future? 

As always keep an eye on the figures and find yourself an accountant who you trust to pull out all the stops when the chips are down.


Check out our Accounting for COVID-19 blogs here periodically to get the very latest insight and information from the Business Control team.


Better still, you can access a whole host of resources for business owners including blogs, smart guides and infographics for free. Simply opt in here

Business Control Limited
Red Lion Yard,
Odd Down,
Bath, Somerset,
BA2 2PP,
United Kingdom

Registered in England
No.: 04516455

ICO Registration
No.: ZA428499

Call: 01225 840538