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Alexis Phillips

During these uncertain times, the current pandemic has proven to be a crucial landmark for accountants. This is because professionals in this sphere have been required to step up to the plate more than ever before, acting as trusted advisers to both their clients and members of the community. This has provided accountants with a promising opportunity to add value and build respect across the profession. 

For smaller practices, employees being forced to work from home has accelerated their uptake of technology. This will ultimately benefit them moving forwards as updated systems, software and processes will enable them to operate with increased flexibility, while providing their services more seamlessly and efficiently. Zoom and other video conferencing services, for example, have been brilliant tools with which to keep in close and direct contact with clients and maintain good relationships.

Interacting with clients via Zoom might be significantly different to how business was typically conducted in the past but it paves the way for a totally new and up-to-date way of working. It may depend on the age and attitude to technology of the client in question as to whether they are happy to continue collaborating in this vein in the future but it does offer a clear solution that works well in the current climate.

More traditional firms who acquired new clients during lockdown will most likely be more keen to conduct meetings face-to-face but there is no reason why both methods of staying in touch and communicating cannot happily coexist.

Some of the bigger organisations have been cautious about reopening their offices and feel that a catch up at a networking event is enough to effectively keep in touch at this time. It is this sort of activity which might become the new normal while other business continues to be conducted remotely.

What is clear is that during this difficult period, accountants have continued to support and advise their clients. Despite being an industry which relies so heavily on others, we have observed that many mid-tier firms are thriving as they adapt to and embrace new ways of working. This means that they have benefited from an increased demand in their services from SMEs across a wide variety of sectors. A rise in furlough and audit related work, alongside the provision of  external guidance, has resulted in a higher intake of clients for accountancy firms, which is a great achievement during such an uncertain time.

Hopefully, we will see this trend continue as lockdown restrictions are lifted. There are endless possibilities across this arena right now and it will be exciting to see what accountants intend to do next and which of their intentions will stick in the long-term.

To discuss how the current circumstances have impacted your practice or career in more detail, please get in touch with Finance Consultant Sam Hood: shood@merje.com