Managing Your Employees and Clients Post COVID-19by
This article aims to serve as food for thought for accounting professionals as well as the broader accounting community as you consider your post COVID-19 business plans.
Additionally, it also delineates concepts relating to managing a team, clients and the overall business as they recover from the repercussions of the pandemic.
Leading an accounting firm is a daunting task. It entails a lot of responsibilities, people management, decision making and a host of other tasks. It is especially challenging when the business is faced with a crisis.
Every step you take will have a direct effect on the business. Quite often, managing a team of accountants is the most important role one will play as a leader.
Accounting professionals are hardwired to be exceedingly logic oriented, it comes naturally to them. This also helps them towards being exceptional managers. Each and every accountant out there is in a constant effort to learn from the crisis and gradually regain normalcy.
In a time like this, it is essential both as a business and as an individual to be open to changes. Trusting your team with the responsibility will work as a morale booster and will naturally bring in benefits.
Senior team members or firm owners need to take a leadership stance and motivate your staff towards making the best of their opportunities. Accounting is a complex business area, hence it is important to develop nimbleness while facing a challenge. Shared responsibilities and a shared narrative towards taking on a challenge will work mutually for the team as well as the business.
In our current setting, client relationship takes on a completely new meaning. As an accounting professional, it is necessary for process reorientation and looking at the client-practice relationship from a different perspective.
Clients as well as professionals have had a mutual sense of urgency towards recovering from the current state of play. This is a time to come together and rise above the challenge. Moreover, instead of launching an aggressive hunt towards bringing in new clients, you should look toward investing in building relationships with clients; both current and prospects.
Your actions as a professional will speak a lot about you and will translate into a strong brand image. A few points one could focus on towards enhanced client relationships in a post pandemic era are:
1. Staying reachable: One thing the pandemic has barred individuals from is the sense of togetherness, be it for business or otherwise. Pertaining to social distancing and lockdown restrictions, accountants must make sure that they remain available to their clients.
Being reachable is not only about returning emails. Make sure that you are proactively reaching out to your clients and making sure that you are providing all the help you can. Let your value as a business and as an individual set you apart from the competition.
2. Offer a helping hand: How you engage with your clients will speak a lot about your professionalism and personal brand. Additionally, it will also put you in the good books of your competitors. This relates back to how the profession relies so much on networking and word-of-mouth.
Engage with your clients regularly and offer to help with a pragmatic win-win strategy towards coming back stronger from a crisis. A good way to achieve this is by offering tailor-made solutions for clients. It could be a simple clean up exercise at no extra cost, or just advice on how to navigate through a business-related challenge.
It is imperative that as an accountant, this is a time to be empathetic and to work with clients towards a greater good. This will work in tandem with returning back from the current crisis with strengthened client relationships.
As an accountant, steering a business through a crisis is perhaps the biggest test of leadership. Smart accountants should look at this from a pragmatic approach and see this as an opportunity for growth. A complete recovery from the pandemic will take consistent efforts. However, there are a few aspects which become especially necessary in the current backdrop.
Adhering to safety precautions, accounting professionals have had to digitize the way they operate and connect with peers. Additionally, accountants are beginning to use more AI-backed accounting solutions to serve clients while maintaining the same levels of accuracy and timeframes. Now is a good time for professionals to regularly incorporate these tools to their practices to be better prepared to meet client requirements as they recover from the impact of COVID-19.
A part of rebuilding your practice is going to include reassessment of your client requirements. It is firmly believed that the one who is proactive in gauging altered client requirements will thrive.
Surely, rebuilding your practice is going to require much more than a strong team and a strategy. It will need to be a joint effort from everyone as professionals and human beings to come back stronger from the pandemic. It would be exciting to know your thoughts on how and why you would approach the challenge at hand.
Uday Ranpara is a practicing chartered accountant with experience spanning over a decade in financial and accounting consulting. Mr Ranpara also serves as the director of Initor Global, which is an international accounting and tax preparations outsourcing services firm, working with a host of CPA firms and professionals across America. He also...