Marking 30 years at England and Company Partner: Cheryl Lawes – shares her thoughts on the current situation and how Entrepreneurs can prepare for the next 6 months.
England and Company team act as skilled and trusted business advisors to so many of the clients it serves. How many have called upon that level of guidance in the last few weeks?
I have worked at England & company for 30 years this week and never have we as a business community faced such a serious challenge as the consequences that arose from this pandemic.
There was certainly no Furlough for my team! It’s been non stop.
The whole client base needed support overnight as they were forced to shut down. Assisting them with Furlough, Loan claims and now assisting them to reopen has been relentless.
We’ve obviously offered financial and tax based support, but probably more than ever our clients have been looking at us for strategic advice.
“How do we do this and ensure that we survive and protect our teams from redundancy. What can we do to ensure our longterm future?” It been a common thread.
You’ve assisted clients through many challenges and unforeseen circumstances during your career. This global crisis certainly happened faster and more dramatically than most. How have England and Company adapted to assist its clients?
Thankfully, we invested in IT last year, to all be able to work remotely with the same level of data protection we have in the office, so on some level we were ready. We simply left the office one day and picked up from home the next. It was seamless. But then we worked really hard to adapt. We divided our teams up in to information cells so that each cell was truly a specialist on Furlough, Self employed support, Loans, Government Business support and Employment matters. We were able to answer detailed questions quickly and that was what our clients needed. Honest, considered, commercial advice
We also commenced a Briefing program to all clients and these detailed emails were issued daily or weekly, as was needed. They disseminated lots of information in to one resource, tailored to our clients. We gave them instructions on what to do and when, with a commentary on the impact. They were widely shared in our business community, for that we are very proud.
If you ask our team – their summary of the last 3 months would be – its been tiring but they have never felt they’ve made more of a difference and been so useful- and that feedback came from our clients.
An entrepreneur’s journey will often feel like a rollercoaster ride. This crisis will, perhaps for some, be the most significant challenge they face. What advice would you give any director as they look to plan for the next half of the year?
Look at where you are now, with a realistic eye. Come to an assessment of what trading activity you might expect and then work the numbers. The decisions you need to make will become apparent from there. Then use your accountants to act as a ‘sounding board’ .They know your businesses, funding and maybe what we are to expect economically so use these skills to make sure you craft the ‘best’ plan possible for your circumstances..
I know I would say this, but ultimately make your accountant an intrinsic part of your business. Working with the right accountancy firm can make all the difference, make sure they are proactively seeing you and your business through this crisis and gearing you up for a successful future.
Cheryl Lawes – Chartered Certified Accountant
Director at England & Company
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