Now is certainly a challenging time to be in business. Business owners are concerned about the future of their business and how they will manage their finances. They need someone to talk through their concerns with to help them clarify what they need to do next and how they can manage.
And that is why I have set aside an hour every afternoon this week to take calls from my clients to talk through their concerns with them and look at the practicalities for their own business. It may seem harsh just to set aside an hour but having received numerous calls at the end of last week I realised that it would be difficult to focus on other work which needed to be done if I kept being interrupted. By setting aside a specific time I was fully focused on what the client wanted to discuss and had all the information available in front of me.
Over the weekend I spent time preparing two emails - one for our bookkeeping clients and one for our payroll clients - setting out all the information which I felt would be useful to them and which was available at the time. I found some of the information changed from Saturday to Sunday and even this morning I checked again and updated what I had written. When I arrived at work I already had more than a dozen emails asking how grants and funding could be obtained. By mid morning I had sent the emails and rather than answering each email query I suggested that they contact me again if they could not find the information they needed in the email I had sent.
Several of my clients thanked me for setting out the information so clearly for them and said that what we do is so important for them. Some asked if they could call me in the allotted time this afternoon and I spoke to several who had specific queries.
Providing bookkeeping and payroll services is so much more than data entry and using technology to do everything. Not only must we have the knowledge and expertise to do what we do properly, we have to keep up to date with changes in our industry. And there are certainly numerous changes to keep up to date with right now! But in addition to that we have to think about our clients and their businesses. They need contact with us. They need information. We have to understand what will be concerning them in this crisis? How can we best answer their question knowing what we know about their business and about them? And how can we best answer their questions without having any more information ourselves than what has been published?
When you work with businesses regularly and for many years you feel a loyalty to them and want them to weather this crisis. I know that they need to have information in a way that is relevant for their business which is why I decided that an email from me would probably help them more than just being directed to a website.
But in addition to looking after our clients I, too, am a business owner and want to ensure my staff are well and coping with the current situation both personally and with their work. Payroll is exceptionally challenging right now and the expertise of our payroll team is key to us ensuring the employees of all the employers we work with receive what they are entitled to and in due course the employers receive what they are entitled to.
Who knows how this situation will progress and how long it will last for but we are here to support all our clients and provide them with the guidance they need to make decisions for their business in these difficult times.