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Browns Briefing: The role of accountants in times of uncertainty

Stuart Brown | 12 August 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a surprising and significant impact on the world as we know it. Many countries have experienced wide scale lockdowns and economic downturn - it truly has been the global event of a generation.

These have been, and still are, deeply uncertain times and nobody is unaffected by the pandemic. Businesses of all sizes and across every industry are under huge pressure. Months of furlough, office closures and government support have left business owners in the UK asking how they can move forward safely. People have needed to know who they can turn to for support.

For many businesses, large and small, the answer is their accountant. 

Why do businesses see their accountant as the ‘go-to’ adviser?

There are a number of reasons that businesses and finance teams turn to their accountants and business advisers during difficult times. Trust is a significant factor and isn’t something to be underestimated. 

Trust and confidence are built over years of handling clients’ financial affairs. Accountants have been on-hand before to answer queries and to tackle investigations, guiding clients through every milestone and providing both technical expertise and specialist business support when it is needed. 

Accountants are also in a position to assist businesses with loan applications, ensuring that their financial information is up to date to provide the financial data for management to make informed business decisions. They can act as that all important third party to liaise with authorities to delay payment of tax and to delay reporting deadlines. 

Trusted advisers will act as a bridge between government and clients, answering concerns and providing knowledge of the government support initiatives that are available, which has been invaluable during the COVID-19 crisis.

When clients turn to their accountants for help, it is important that they are available, especially in times of distress. At Duncan & Toplis, we supported our clients and local businesses in a number of different ways as soon as the gravity of coronavirus was realised and continue to do so. Our team sent frequent updates to clients, keeping them informed on the constantly changing support landscape, calling them and offering guidance, letting them know that we were still there.

A time of change

Thankfully we live in an age where accountants can perform much of their role remotely. Be it emailing, online research, telephone calls, video conferencing or the use of remote software. This has enabled quick access to information and communication with clients. Prior and planned future investment in technology has proven to be of great value. 

It is likely that we will look back on this period as a time of great change. Although many things will return to normal, some will not. As accountants, we must continue to be there for our clients, to help them to adapt and to be resilient in a changing world. 

We do not know when this pandemic will be over or what the next major challenge may be, but we do know that accountants will have a role to play in supporting businesses large and small to overcome the obstacles they may face and emerge on the other side, stronger than before.

 

If you would like professional advice or guidance, please contact us today!

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