How Accounting Firms are Responding to the Pandemic
The coronavirus has shaken up all industries, and the accounting sector is no exception. CPA firms need to adjust to the global impact of COVID-19 accordingly. How are they soldiering on? Read on to find out how firms are altering their accounting workflows in the midst of the pandemic.
Social distancing in accounting
According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno’s College of Business on accounting firms, the shutdown of schools and nonessential businesses has urged CPAs and their firms to quickly adapt to the situation and adjust their operations to serve their clients. Others even had interactions with clients that had to change significantly due to social distancing measures.
Some firms opted to create pickup and drop-off stations or car-side services to cater to clients who may not be familiar or unable to access electronic documents. Some firms had to resort to transacting by mail, courier, emails, telephone calls, and virtual meetings through platforms like Zoom or Skype to continue communicating with clients.
Adjustment in the accounting workflow
Many firms also had to change their accounting workflow and employee interactions in response to social distancing rules. Some offices were quick to transition to a fully remote work setup due to the already existing digital-based infrastructure. Other firms, however, are unable to let their employees work from home because of risks when it comes to safeguarding client data. To comply with social distancing, firms have had to implement measures like a six-feet-apart rule to ensure everyone’s safety in the office.
Accounting firms also put a great emphasis on continued communication during this time. They mentioned that it is vital to ensure that both staff and clients understand what is going to happen and the options they have moving forward. Additionally, they make themselves available to promptly answer questions in an effort to mitigate employee stress. Some even threw virtual pizza parties and daily coffee meetings to allow employees to stay in constant contact, as well as offer a social outlet.
Various firms also emphasized the sheer importance of communication between staff and clientele to maintain and strengthen relationships. Employees need to have a thorough understanding of the new workflow, while clients have to be informed of the options available to them.
For some firms, the transition has been seamless and easy because of their clientele or how their company was initially set up. For those accounting firms not yet using practice management software, now would be a good time to look at solutions like Financial Cents.
What’s more, some firms reported that they had to adjust client fees due to economic conditions. Many clients are undergoing financial distress, and firms want to communicate how they can serve their clients in new ways. As a direct result of the pandemic, these services include assistance in the application of new loans such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL).
Ultimately, though, accounting firms understand that during these times of uncertainty, maintaining a positive firm culture, responding to the clients, and treating employees well strengthens firm loyalty and client relationships. Companies that follow these basic principles will come out of this pandemic stronger. If you’re an accounting firm and need assistance implementing or learning about task management and practice management software, we’re here to lend a helping hand.