Leading a team and delivering high levels of service to clients is a demanding task during normal circumstances, how has that been affected by working remotely?
Although I can’t say that working remotely hasn’t had its challenges, if nothing else simply because it is a new experience for all of us, our investment in new technology and systems over the last 12/24 months has meant what could have been a major problem has only turned out to be a case of getting comfortable to a new way of working.
Our team have been amazing in their work ethic as well as continuing to deliver a first-class service to our clients. I am more than delighted to report a significant number of clients have told me how well our team have communicated with them, delivering new, and what could be complicated, and sometimes disappointing, advice, in a timely, caring and clear manner.
Clearly managing a team remotely needs a high degree of planning, internal communication and feedback, but the evidence so far, suggests that we are coping well with the enforced changes. We have an experienced team who are able to advise our clients on whatever issue as it arises as well as help in advance so that they can themselves continue to run their businesses in these difficult times.
If we can help to get all of our clients through and out the other side of this pandemic and succeed in the future then we would have done well. That is certainly our aim.
Although Covid-19 has been unprecedented in its impact, do you believe the combined years of experience at England and Company allowed you all to act swiftly and provide the guidance clients needed?
England and Company have been serving clients for 40 years now, with the current Directors and staff bringing many years of experience to the table. Although no-one has ever seen anything the like of Covid-19, we have been here long enough to go through economic uncertainties and recessions in the past, as well as the good times (which I am sure will come again) and our practice, has always offered the very best professional advice.
In addition to our usual communication routes, throughout the current situation, we have given our regular briefings to keep everyone abreast of changes and support announced by the Government. I am certain this has been appreciated by everyone.
We are here to continue to support our clients, to continue to provide critical advice, and to just lend an ear should that be what is needed.
The full ramifications and effects of lockdown are perhaps still far too difficult to predict. What can companies do to best prepare for an uncertain future?
The best advice I can give is to continue to talk to us. It’s very hard to give blanket advice to everyone, that’s just not what we do here at England and Company. We like to talk to our clients, giving them specific advice that applies to their business or personal circumstances. Maybe that’s what makes us a little different to the normal accountant. If I was pushed to say one thing, perhaps know your business, know its strengths and its weaknesses and manage these as best you can.
Over your career you’ve seen the role of an accountant and the accountancy sector change, has that been reinforced during recent weeks and how do you see it changing in the future?
Many of our clients are already recognising that they need more than the basic accountancy service offered by the standard accountancy practice, that is why they turn to England and Company. Our involvement with clients is far greater, we act as business advisors and can provide critical consultation and expertise in all financial areas of their business.
Going forward I only see that level of involvement growing, this crisis will have left many companies realising the importance of robust financial safeguarding and planning.
It’s in these areas the skills of a proactive accountancy practice are vital.
Matthew Rees – Chartered Certified Accountant
Director at England & Company
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