It's Accountants' Time to Shine

Accountant's Minute 232

Greetings: we hope that you’re well and you're starting to develop strategies for your clients to emerge from the COVID-19 coronavirus lockdowns with reinvigorated businesses.  We believe that there is a tremendous opportunity for accountants to perform a 'Chief Financial Officer' role for your clients to assist them to survive the very challenging times that will be evident post 30th September 2020.

The Australian Government’s Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, pulled no punches in an interview in the Financial Review on 18th May 2020 “Banks Warned: Don’t Pull The Plug Too Early”.

Kate Carnell "urged banks to support businesses well beyond the hibernation stage of the COVID-19 crisis, as lenders prepared to 'check in' at the end of June with borrowers who requested a repayment holiday".

Ms Carnell said "it was important for banks not to jump the gun on relaxed lending conditions, because many businesses might not fully recover from the crisis until late 2021".

"The banks need to be reasonable. Don’t pull the plug too early" Kate Carnell said.

I believe that the likely position in October will be that banks will be very reluctant to lend any more money to SMEs and that there will be very little joy out of trying to obtain a government grant because the banks have already lent a very large sum of money and the various governments have probably spent about 3 years' worth of the normal amount that they would make available as grants in a six-month period.

Many of your clients have availed themselves of the opportunity of asking you to perform a wider range of duties over the last 2 months – why not discuss with your clients the broader range of services that you could offer on a permanent basis to help them survive in their businesses beyond the end of the government's support at 30th September 2020?

I believe that all accountants should be offering a 'Chief Financial Officer' range of services to assist your clients to add value to their businesses.  This will require the implementation of strategies which include:

  • Budgets to at least 31st December 2021.
  • Cashflow Forecasts to 31st December 2021.
  • Determination as to whether any additional funding is going to be required and then preparing loan applications to try to secure those funds as 'Coronavirus SME Guarantee Loans' prior to the end of that lending program at 30th September 2020.
  • If your clients would like to raise more than $250,000, it may be necessary to consider capital raising either utilising Section 708 of the Corporations Act or Crowd Sourced Funding Equity Raising.
  • To give yourself enough time to prepare Budgets/Cashflow Forecasts/Projected Balance Sheets/Business Plan and other documentation required so that strategies are well established prior to 30th September 2020, it is probably best if you start this process now.
  • The next few months offer you a significant opportunity to convince your clients that you can offer a broader role, on a permanent basis, as your client’s 'Chief Financial Officer'. This is your opportunity to shine!

Last Friday we conducted the fifth webinar of the "COVID-19 Survival Panel" webinars with presentations by Paul Barnaby, Predictive Accounting Consultant and Australasian representative for PlanGuru and Trent Butler, Chartered Accountant and Managing Director of Trent Butler Consulting Pty Ltd who talked about positioning yourself as an expert to generate new leads utilising digital transformation.

Paul Barnaby indicated that 'predictive accounting' is nothing more or less than looking to the future in terms of financial statements.  Paul indicated that his role is to make accountants look like “superstars”.

The PlanGuru software enables proper 3-way Budgets, comprising Budgets, Cashflow Forecast and Predicted Balance Sheets to be prepared in under 60 minutes.  Paul presented a case study which highlighted the unique features of the PlanGuru software.

Trent Butler, identified the opportunities that accountants have to better utilise social media products such as LinkedIn to target specific types of businesses that you might be able to convert to becoming a client of your firm.  This approach will be very beneficial if you decide that you want to be known as an 'expert' for certain types of businesses or professions in that you could then directly target the members of those businesses or professions with information articles pertaining to the services that your accounting firm could offer to add value to their business.

You can view the recording from last Friday's webinar, featuring Paul Barnaby and Trent Butler, by clicking here.

The next "COVID-19 Survival Panel" webinar is being presented on Friday 20th May 2020 at 12-noon AEST, with keynote presenters Amanda Gascoigne, Amanda Gascoigne Consulting and Peter Towers, ESS BIZTOOLS.

Amanda Gascoigne is a chartered accountant who offers a consulting service to assist small and solo accounting practitioners to develop their market contacts and improve their communication by social media and other services.

Peter Towers will present an outline of these services that accountants will have to provide as part of the 'trusted advisor' status to convince SMEs that accountants/accountancy firms are able to perform additional business tasks similar to what a Chief Financial Officer would perform but in most cases on a 'virtual basis'.

You can register for the complimentary webinar to be presented on Friday 22nd May 2020 at 12-noon AEST by clicking here.  If you're unable to attend the webinar, but you would like to gain access to the webinar recording, if you register we will send you the recording link.

Want to know more about the services that are available from ESS BIZTOOLS and our Affiliates to assist you to proactively assist your SME clients on a wide range of business services performing a Chief Financial Officer role?  If so, I invite you to visit the ESS BIZTOOLS' website -> Survival in Difficult Times -> Learn More where you'll be able to view an overview of the material included in the product packages that incorporates COVID-19 products.

If you would like to have a one-on-one discussion, please send us an email: peter@essbiztools.com.au.

Stay safe!

If you have a friend or colleague who you think might find this article interesting, please feel free to pass it on to them.

Have a great day!

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