Covid-19: a practitioner’s experience, part 2

Infinity Partnership associate director Greg Houston ACCA says quick thinking and a proactive approach have been key to helping clients

Published 7 April 2020

At Infinity Partnership, we did some quick thinking as we devised and implemented our client-focused response to the covid-19 pandemic.

Our first step was to develop a bespoke communications strategy, with a designated in-house team given responsibility for preparing online content and engaging with clients.

We swiftly reconfigured our website to focus on covid-19 and set up a special section just for updates, so clients are always in the loop. Every new article is supported with posts on LinkedIn and Twitter to flag whenever our website features new material.

We email clients with the latest government announcements, ensuring our statements are not only accurate but also tailored to each client’s requirements. We like to think we are more than simply their accountants in these unprecedented times, and many of them have commented on our proactive response.

There have, of course, been practical issues: we initially had to work through a backlog of emails due to the sheer volume of communications received, but the depth of content on our website meant clients still had access to relevant and up-to-date information.

The advice and assistance available from ACCA and the banks are exceptional and helps us to communicate with clients at speed and with clarity. In fact, the way the whole ACCA community from local level to the global network has pulled together to support each other has been incredibly heartening.

Cashflow dashboard

We have been actively approaching clients to help them secure grants and other support, creating a simple cashflow template to give them an up-to-date dashboard view of their financial situation. We are also looking at research and development tax credits to help clients recover cash.

In short, as a proactive business adviser we are exploring every possible means of helping companies through this extremely difficult period.

The website has certainly been a key factor in our overall support proposition; we have experienced record volumes of traffic over the past two weeks. We have also used MS Teams and Skype to replace face-to-face meetings.

Once this crisis is over, these tools will likely become more regular features of our everyday work as their usefulness has become evident to clients and staff alike in recent weeks. Overall, home working has not been a major issue for us because of our recent investment in technology solutions.

It has been a remarkable effort by all 25 Infinity staff, from managing partner Simon Cowie to our trainees. Like many accountants up and down the country we have certainly been working long days.

We realise those days are not yet over. There is undoubtedly some way to go, but we will always be here to help our clients.

Greg Houston is an associate director at Infinity Partnership and chair of the ACCA Aberdeen and North of Scotland Network