How is the IFA supporting me in these unprecedented times?
With lockdown coming into eﬀect from late March across the UK, the IFA – as with any other employer – was asked to direct staﬀ to work from home. The ﬁrst thing undertaken by the IFA was to set up a Covid-19 resources page on our website.
These resources provide a one-stop shop of important links to a range of resources. These cover things like the ﬁnancial reporting implications of the pandemic through to health and safety, contracts, pensions and of course wellbeing.
As government schemes have evolved and been modiﬁed as time has gone on, so our online resources are updated as well.
Member Support Group
The IFA then wanted to provide more consultative support to our members. We already had in place our regional network and branch ambassadors – and we asked them to act as contact points for support provision. They were happy to help. The branch ambassadors and others made their contact details available for support.
They have provided help in directing members towards technical information or as a sounding board for the challenges being faced. This facility is available Monday to Friday, 0900-1700.
Questions, answers, and lessons
The initial communications taken by the Member Support Group were around furloughing (the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme), plus government funding and support in terms of CBILs.
As time progressed, its purpose has shifted towards the peculiarities of developments to the Job Retention Scheme, and iterative changes to funding and grant oﬀerings.
The support group has had an opportunity to understand what members’ clients, as well as their own, are doing in response. Some practitioners’ clients have rejigged or pivoted their business models to survive. For example, restaurants oﬀering takeaway services; and pubs becoming grocers.
We have also found that more of our members have been advising around cash management; in terms of supporting clients from a cashﬂow forecast perspective.