In the immediate future, your clients are going to need answers to some rather difficult questions. Here are a list of services that can help you answer those questions, and put your clients on the best possible path in getting through the upcoming financial crisis.
Businesses need to know what’s going to come in, and what’s going to go out in this new normal. The business rules for many of our businesses are no longer in play, and the future is looking uncertain. We may be back to business as usual in six weeks, or there may be a shallow hill we need to climb to get back to where we were before the dip, or the situation may continue to get worse—but we need to be thinking about what lies ahead.
Tools like Xero and Quickbooks have budgeting features you can use to gain some certainty. You can also budget directly in Spotlight Reporting, or budget statically using an Excel spreadsheet. Whatever tool you use, you need to know the numbers.
Timing is essential. You need to know when money will come in, and when it will go out.
There are many features in Spotlight Forecasting that can help you here, including Dynamic Rules to speculate what payment cycles will look like, and the Loan Amortisation Rule if you need to renegotiate loans with the bank. The last thing clients need is to discover that they have a cash black hole, because it can put them out of business.
Pricing and Deb(tor) Management
For the sake of your own business, and your clients’, it’s important to know what your pricing structure will look like in the immediate future. Will you change your prices? What is your debtor policy? Have the conversation with your clients now.
At Spotlight Reporting, we’ve been doing our own scenario planning, to tackle possible good, bad, and ugly scenarios. While we’d like to believe in the good, we also recognise that it’s possible that segments of our customer base will panic, get caught in other matters, and not set aside the time to use our software —the bad.
(The ugly would be a zombie apocalypse, in which humanity ends up in bunkers with shotguns across our laps, but we really don’t think this is going to happen.)
A quick and efficient way to plan for all these scenarios is through Spotlight Forecasting. Over the next few weeks, we will be holding Power Hour Workshops on all our forecasting tools, and you can register for them here.
Most governments have realised that they need to give us more time to plan for tax. Many have also released relief packages, so compliance and relief planning should make up a big part of your advisory focus at this point.
Clients are going to need mentoring to get through the next few weeks and months. Strategy-wise, they’ll be looking for simple, pragmatic goals and actions, but they’ll also need to be accountable for managing compliance and relief applications. While empathy is important, don’t be afraid to be stricter about accountability and deadlines—if clients don’t act now, they might miss out, and be in real trouble down the line.
More optimistically, now is also a fantastic time for amping up usage of cloud technology. We’re all working from home en masse, and the more you learn from deploying cloud technology within your company, the more you can share with your customers. Take this opportunity to get to grips with the cloud, and you’ll be in a better position overall.
This article contains information from a section of our webinar Advising Clients in Troubled Times. To watch the full webinar, click here.