In the past 8 weeks, we’ve almost certainly worked harder than we have ever had to before. The constant addition of new initiatives to support businesses, owners and employees has required us to spend time understanding and training up, as well as identifying which businesses or individuals would benefit and how to apply.
But we’re in business to help other businesses thrive, so it’s work that we’ve embraced, knowing that the people we’re helping are desperate for information on how they can keep their companies moving forwards.
So, what are some of the ways we’ve helped our customers?
Like many companies, we’ve embraced technology and approaches we’ve never really used before, changed our working practices and adapted to different environments. Overall, it’s been pretty successful and we’ve had some great feedback from clients.
First up, we set up a WhatsApp chat. A closed group that is predominantly made up of our clients together with some other contacts who have asked for support.
At the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown, when the chat was established, we were disseminating information coming through from HMRC and other reliable sources about support initiatives, as well as dispelling some of the myths. It was also a place for clients to share information about their experiences of applying for loans or accessing the Government Gateway, and to vent if necessary.
This has been a go-to destination for advice and the first place that we’ve shared news, learnings and processes. The feedback about this has been really positive, with many saying how much they’ve valued having someone on hand, pretty much all day and night!
Through the WhatsApp group, people have been able to instantly contact Miguel, but the team leaders, in particular Nancy and Emma, have also been available to handle questions as well as to process applications and offer advice and support as needed. Being at the end of the telephone or Zoom call has been just as easy as being there in person. Although it has meant that we haven’t been getting through the quantity of Milky Way Magic Stars that we normally do at every meeting!
In another attempt to try to help company owners manage their stress, we’ve also been sending each of our customers round-up emails, with detail not only on how bookkeeping and accountancy clients can get in touch with their Blue Rocket members of staff, but also with more detail on the support packages being made available.
Where there is general advice for all, or learnings that can be shared, we’ve included this and distributed it to all our clients, sometimes a couple of times a week. These are becoming less frequent for now, but the process is there should we need to pick them up again.
We’ve continued to produce blogs which we hope are useful and share these to our database of clients and contacts, as well as through our social media channels to help anyone looking for some advice. We’ve drawn on the knowledge and experience of our wider network to give advice on other relevant aspects of business – including strategy, marketing and HR – as well as our knowledge of the value of cash flow documents or bookkeeping. One that has been particularly valued is an article which includes a tough times checklist on how you can keep cash in the business and reduce outgoings – you can read more here.
You might have heard that some accountants were starting to charge additional fees for time spent processing furlough claims and payroll adjustments. For now, we’ve taken the decision not to add further charges despite the increased workload. We feel that our clients shouldn’t face additional fees for accessing a system designed to help businesses reduce costs. If the systems become very time-consuming in the future, we may have to rethink, but for now we’re trying to do our best to help by sticking to our existing plans.
We want our clients’ businesses to be in the best shape they can be, short term and long term, so our doors are always open for offering help and support. If you think that kind of support could benefit you, drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with some details about what you’d like help with and we’ll do our best for you.