In all my years of being an accountant, the last few months have been the busiest. Both current and prospective clients have sought our help during this pandemic.

Here at Nabarro Poole, we haven’t been selling our services as we usually would. Instead, we’ve focussed on adding real value to our network – whether they’re clients or not. As a result, we’ve actually won new business. It’s all about being proactive…

We have asked some clients for feedback and I wanted to share what we have been doing.

Responsive accounts

For some businesses, their sales funnel completely dried up in the wake of the lockdown. Our immediate reaction was to update their cash flow forecast. This provided them with information on their run rate (how fast they’re spending money) and run way (how long it’d take to run out of money). Clients could see what their monthly losses would be, along with the time span of profit reserves.

Delivering this information was actually a very straightforward task. All the legwork is done throughout the year. Because we recognise the value of continuous oversight – whether it’s business as usual or there’s a sudden financial crisis – we provide regular management accounts. That meant that we didn’t have to quickly prepare a full set when the unexpected actually happened.

Scott Belfield from K2 Heating and Cooling has been a client for 16 months. His words – “We started receiving quarterly management accounts when we joined Nabarro Poole Ltd. last year. Before the lock-down, these provided real-time profitability, up to date HMRC liabilities and allowed us to plan for growth (new hires, etc.). Post lock-down, these accounts and the information that we had to hand became invaluable. We could identify costs that could be cut/postponed as well as chasing up customers that had due and overdue invoices.

In everything we do for our clients, we strive to ensure that they have visibility over their finances and understand what this means for their business. We let them know how much they have in the bank, their overheads, and what would happen if business suddenly ceased… So, really, there’s always been an unknown situation we were preparing them for. In this way, our clients are probably more prepared than most.

Additional support

The difficult decisions came next. With the announcement of the job retention scheme, employers had to decide whether they would furlough staff who couldn’t carry out their work, or reduce the pay and hours of those that could.

We found that our clients relied on us as a sounding board. We’re a business owner just like them, after all. No tax advice, no sales pitch – we could simply just be there to listen, understand and support them.

This has helped us to build even stronger relationships with our clients. In fact, our relationships with them are at an all-time high. Our team has gone above and beyond our regular accounting duties to help our clients do things like complete loan scheme applications. And as we’ve provided this at no extra cost, we’ve shown just how dedicated we are.

Scott – “I was really pleased with the extra support that Tyler and his team were giving to us, including making the furlough claims on our behalf. It was only after speaking to a number of other business owners and finding out that they had been left without support from their accountants, that I realised what an amazing job Nabarro Poole were doing!

Valuable advice

During the early stages of the lockdown, it was tough to keep up with the government’s announcements. So, I penned a series of summaries on the most recent support mechanisms and sent it to both our clients and contacts – anyone I thought it’d be valuable to.

We got great feedback from this. Around 90% responded saying how practical this help was. It supported their decision-making process, allowing them to see what they could do and when, and what they had to consider along the way.

As a result, not only do we now have more positive, stronger relationships with our clients, but also with those in our network. We hope that our support will be remembered once we’re out the other side of this pandemic.

Lucy Smith from Lucy Smith Photography wasn’t a client at the time (but is now) and her feedback was great to hear. “Tyler’s updates are hugely helpful. He is able to communicate the help available for small businesses in a way that HMRC seemingly can not. Tyler for PM!

The future

Of course, not all accountants have taken this approach. We’ve onboarded some new clients recently who have come to us from referrals. Their accountants either hadn’t offered support or hadn’t been in touch at all.

Yet winning new clients was never part of the plan –  we just wanted to help those who are struggling. It’s great that we can be more involved with new businesses and offer hands-on support during this time.

In terms of our existing clients, we think they’re now seeing how valuable it is to engage in their financial matters and protect themselves against something like this happening in the future. We’re happy to work more with them and add further value, so that they can be as prepared as possible.

So now I ask you this question: what is your accountant doing to help you through this crisis, or the next? This, I think, is the ultimate litmus test for a great accountant.

If you ever need the help of Nabarro Poole, just ring me on 0161 998 4276 (I’m in the office by myself and love to talk!) or email tyler@nabarropoole.com.