Embedding the ‘new normal’ into your practice
IFA member Ermal Krutani says that careful planning and effort will be required to bed in a new way of working with clients post-lockdown and beyond.
I asked a fellow accountant if he was safe and well in these strange times. He said that things ‘weren’t good’. As a small IFA practice he’s facing additional hours of work and has furloughed a member of staﬀ . The work, of course, has expanded in terms of both providing support to stricken clients but also managing admin that his furloughed colleague would have undertaken. He was going into the oﬃce, handling calls and sorting out paperwork, on his own.
Altogether, it’s been a big challenge for his ﬁrm and is one that I am sure has been replicated among other IFA practices. As an IFA branch ambassador, I have a duty to help members and share my knowledge and experience, which might be useful in their own practice or work environment.
Serving with Devonports, one of the largest IFA practices with 22 staﬀ, has seen me embrace one of my true professional passions: using technology to build robust systems to make life easier for our people and me.
We’ve seen accountants using their existing systems remotely and accessing online communication tools where they previously wouldn’t have done so. However, none of this has been rigorously tested beforehand.
We know that client interaction and support can be a great fee generator, but the models can be diﬀerent between ﬁrms. However, there are things that will be fundamental to your ﬁrm’s performance, whatever the oﬀering and whether away from the oﬃce or not.
There are so many factors to consider, and therefore any tech changes must be taken seriously. Data security and privacy, anti-money laundering, IT security etc. Many of these options can be hosted online by a provider – in other words, cloud computing. This even applies to management of your phone systems.
The technology is out there but you need to make wise decisions that also suit your budget - it’s so easy to get carried away and the cost could outweigh the beneﬁt so a good and careful study of your business processes would help.
I have been visiting Accountex, QuickBooks Connect, and other accountancy software exhibitions for many years and have seen that separate solutions for everything will cost a lot and outweigh the beneﬁts.
When you are using the independent software for diﬀerent processes the issue lies with integration, in particular understanding and then deciding which points will require manual intervention or data input.
We hear that post-coronavirus there will be a different world, but you can embrace and utilise tech already in existence, embrace change and be prepared for more to happen. After all, we do live in a very dynamic society where change is a normal process. Be responsible, stay safe and work smarter.
Ermal Krutani is an IFA member, branch ambassador for our Kent region, and a director at Devonports Accountants