While many people are talking about the impact of Corona Virus on the economy, GDP, running of businesses, taxation frameworks, etc, but are silent about changes that need to be incorporated in working style of Chartered Accountants especially those who are doing practice solely or in partnerships with small teams. All disruptions, be it is political or social or economical or health-related one, motivate us to change, and if we fail to change ourselves with changing times, chances of our survival reduce significantly with each passing day, hence we must review our existing administrative processes and change them in a timely fashion so that we can serve our clients in an effective and efficient manner. In this article, I will talk about the administrative changes that Small and Mid-sized CA firms should adopt to increase their work efficiency.
Sole proprietors tend to keep their data in his/her personal laptop or desktop and access it as per his/her convenience but the problem starts when you are working with a team that needs to access the same data frequently. For that many firms set up local data servers and nods, which allows data access to every person in the team, but it has a constraint i.e. non-accessibility of data outside office premises. Due to this most Small and Midsized firms were not able to work during the lockdown as implementing Work From Home policy without accessibility to data is nearly impossible. Hence I suggest that CA firms should keep the back up of their data on a ready accessible secured online cloud platform to allow its team to Work From Home without much difficulty.
As we know that almost all businesses will suffer due to Corona and profitability will hit badly, hence clients might not be able to pay you the fees which they were paying in normal circumstances, hence I suggest you, to review the fees for your recurring assignments like Audits and other regular consultancy work, initiate a dialogue with your clients regarding the same and arrive at a decision which is not detrimental to any of the party involved.
As we know that our expenditures are already fixed but the flow of income is uncertain, hence we have to review our client base, identify clients who pay fees on time, and who doesn’t. Since it is general practice for most of us to take fees after giving unreasonably long credit period to our clients and hence after lockdown we must develop a “Bill Follow Up” system which involves sending timely reminders for fee recovery. For a few identified clients, we need to implement the “Instant Billing and Recovery” process. Also, we need to take care of avoidable expenses and reduce them significantly.
Small and Midsized firms are still functioning traditionally when it comes to the collection of data from clients and providing various certificates, reports, etc to them. It is the right time that we must slowly shift from traditional paperwork system to the digital system where all data collection, processing, generation and issuance of certificates, reports, etc happen over the internet. It will allow us to maintain social distancing as well as reduce the paperwork and maintenance of physical files significantly. However, this will take a significant period of time to get implemented properly.
(The author of this article is practicing at Indore and can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)