“What a long, strange trip it’s already been!”In September 2019, I finally decided to take the huge and nerve-wracking step of branching out on my own, something I had been considering for a while. I agreed a timescale for my departure from the company I had helped form some 17 years before, and which clients I would be taking with me, amongst other things. I then arranged for my new office premises, software, website, insurance and all the other things that are required. My start date was set to be March 2020. I was all prepared. Octave Accountants Limited was ready……
...And then came a pandemic, the like of which had not been seen for over 100 years.
I can honestly say that for the first week of lockdown I hardly slept, probably like many others in the country.
Then the Chancellor started announcing ways in which the government was going to help businesses: VAT liabilities could be deferred; Self-Assessment could be delayed; banks were going to lend money; and, most importantly, the Job Retention Scheme was announced.
All of a sudden, my phone was red hot. Clients wanted to know if they could take advantage of the schemes, and if so, could I assist them in making the claims…….or rather
“You handle everything, Tony. Is that ok?”
New clients popped up. So many of them hadn’t filed their 2019 tax returns and these needed submitting if they were to take advantage of the Self Employment Scheme. Within a few days, my work appeared to have trebled with the additional elements. That’s ok, I thought. I had planned for expanding anyway, with additional staff.
“Oh, what? You live with someone who is vulnerable and is on the 12-week isolation list?”
…..is not something I thought to ask at interview! Several frantic calls to IT Support later, and all staff are suddenly working remotely.
Now, as we enter June, I look back over the first three months or so of Octave Accountants…… with a smile on my face. Clients have received the support they have needed and are slowly returning to trading. Claims have been made to the various Covid schemes, overdue tax returns have been filed and clients have been advised on their tax positions now and going forward.
So, we now enter what the media are terming the “new normal.”
Lots of businesses must adapt to new regulations on how they operate. Government support will slowly be withdrawn. And banks will go back to being miserly in their lending!
One constant, though, is that Octave will be on hand to assist and advise. And, in these different times, which demand different business practices and approaches, it may well be that you will want us to assist you in different ways.
Annual information is probably no longer enough – now, monthly accounts and regular cashflow forecasting can help you to keep a constant eye on costs and profitability – and to help you to plan for the future from a more informed position.
Maybe you want to gain yourself more management time by outsourcing your payroll and/or bookkeeping functions to us. Is now the right time to harness all the benefits of a cloud-based bookkeeping system like Xero, Quickbooks or Sage? We can assist you with the transfer, providing training if required. Away from accountancy, we can offer you the help of our trusted HR contacts and the business turnaround experts with whom we work.
If any of the above sounds interesting to you, please just give me a call – obviously, without obligation and in compete confidence.
I would just like to end this blog with a thank you.
Firstly, a huge thank you to my clients who have been fantastic. Yes, it’s been stressful for us all but you have been wonderful, and your kind comments have helped me through these unusual times. Secondly, to my fellow accountants whom I have spoken to during this period: we may work for different companies but the mutual support and the ‘sounding board’ we have provided for each other have been invaluable. And lastly, thank you to my family and my staff who have been understanding, supportive and conscientious in equal measures. Thank you all.