HOW CAN YOU ASSIST YOUR CLIENTS?
As we enter a new economic period of recovery, advisors may need to consider how best to assist, supervise, and support clients to achieve business restructure, innovation and growth.
For advisors, and in particular accountants, the key areas where support can be provided have not changed. From a financial perspective, a focus on cashflow, working capital, expense minimisation and revenue generation has always existed. Helping clients to structure repayment plans with the ATO and other major creditors such as landlords and State Revenue departments, as well as reviewing finance facilities will also become a major area of work for advisors in the coming months as deferrals and the ceasing of legislative protections start to impact business.
The main change though is that recent events have shown that we operate in more uncertain and unpredictable times. As such, advisors can provide benefit to their clients by interrogating a business's operations more thoroughly, acting as an independent sounding board to assist their clients in structuring operations to comprehensively combat risk. Consider asking some of the following questions:
- Does a business need to retain greater cash amounts for these unexpected events?
- Has the client's market change and they now need to diversify their products or service offerings to deal with new customer expectations?
- Do they need to restructure their employee numbers or retrain their employees to embrace the permanent changes that the business has seen occur in the last 12 months?
- How much has revenue grown or decreased?
- Are cost trends worrying?
While we suspect that soft recovery approaches by the ATO will continue for a period and that the government will continue to be very supportive of COVID impacted businesses, as evidenced by the aviation industry support package announced by Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg on 11 March 2021, a business cannot be overly reliant on these and must restructure themselves to be able to function independently.
To survive and more importantly, to thrive, businesses need to innovate more than ever. While the degree of innovation can vary and is even debated amongst business owners and their advisors, what is certain is that the discussion needs to be had and, in most cases, it needs to be had often.
In essence, an advisor must be in regular communication with their clients. This coupled with the acting as a business's “independent board advisor” forms the crux of the real benefit advisors can provide to their clients.
Look out for our ‘Checklist for the Proactive Advisor' which will be winging its way into your inboxes very soon!
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.