In a matter of days, most businesses, including your firm, have been flipped outside down due to this fast-spreading virus. So today, I want to provide you with a CPA firm coronavirus survival kit to help you get through the turbulence.

Below you’ll find my 15-point survival kit to ensure you get through this relatively unscathed.

Let’s go…

The Good News

cpa firm coronavirus sunrise

If we can use Wuhan as any indication, the worst part of this situation should be done within about 8 weeks time.

And while it certainly won’t be business as usual immediately following that, I think we’ll certainly start to see a recovery, economically speaking.

So the good news is that you probably need to weather a difficult storm for the next 2 months, which, fortunately, isn’t a super long period of time.

In that sense, I am predicting that this will be a relative blip on the map with regard to the growth of your firm.

That being said, I do want to provide you with a CPA firm coronavirus survival kit to make sure your business runs smoothly in these times.

Your CPA Firm Coronavirus Survival Kit

I’ll break down your CPA firm coronavirus survival kit in a few sections:

Sales & Marketing

1) Halt anything overly “salesly”. It is currently leaving a bad taste in people’s mouths and most aren’t receptive at the moment. The dust needs to settle a bit. Instead, I believe the most effective form of marketing at this very moment is to provide assistance and content that supports your clients during this time.

Some are even giving away free stuff. I’m not saying you have to go that far, but I believe efforts in this vein will go a long way.

Here’s an idea:

Organize a free 1 hour Q&A live stream for your clients where they can ask whatever questions that are on their mind in a group setting. I’m seeing many doing this at the moment to not only help provide support, but to build goodwill and to grow their community. In fact, I’ll be doing this for my newsletter readers in the coming week using Crowdcast.

Here’s what it would look like:

2) Sales don’t need to stop. In fact, leverage your existing client base to see how you can better assist them during this point in time by offering services that can help them out quite a bit.

Two additional services that you can offer that I think can make a lot of sense right now:

3) Marketing doesn’t need to stop either. You can work on your website and build-up content now, and release the changes once sentiment returns back to normal. As an example, I have blog posts I’m writing up now, unrelated to this whole mess, which will be released in due time.

Client Management

4) Go above and beyond with your clients in times like these. First, they need your help. Second, you need to solidify your base. Some of your clients may go out of business, some may reduce their plans with you, so you need to shore up your existing base to protect those fees.

5) Consider offering your clients payment plans to help keep them as a client if they’re experiencing cash flow issues. If you’re using Practice Ignition to manage your engagements, payment plans are super simple to set up.

Here’s an example of how you can split payments:

practice ignition invoice schedule

6) Be cool, calm and reasonable with the advice you’re providing your clients. Don’t suggest anything rash. You can prepare for the worst, but you can also look to see how other parts of the world (ex: Wuhan) have been recovering and the length of time it’s taking for a slow return to normalcy.

7) Check-in often with your clients. Ask them how they’re doing. For some of your larger clients, consider a weekly touch-point meeting with them. Be closer to them than ever.

8) As Canadian & US tax agencies have delayed tax filings until June & July respectively, defer filing taxes for those that don’t owe taxes in order to focus on other priorities.

Operations

9) You absolutely need to shift to remote work right now.

Yes, it may not be your normal way of working, but the long term ramifications of not heeding this advice could far outweigh any short-term discomforts.

A few simple tools and processes are all you need (described below). And for a complete, comprehensive guide to remote work, there’s a good one here.

remote work

10) Maintain your team culture and team spirit during remote work by implementing these 4 tips.

11) Ensure your strategic plan is updated to take into account an upcoming quarter that will likely be uncharacteristic.

12) As I’m speaking to an audience of CPA’s, I probably don’t need to tell you this, but, update your cash flow projections to take into account any lost revenues.

Technology

13) To help you work remotely, implement these 4 best communication apps for accounting firms immediately if you haven’t already. And for #3 on the list, I have additional tips here.

14) Now is a good time to start shifting clients resistant to change over from desktop accounting systems over to cloud-based systems like Xero and QuickBooks Online.

In fact, I can actually suggest 147 cloud accounting software apps for your firm to implement if you’re looking for more ways to automate.

Other CPA Firm Coronavirus Measures to Take

15) Keep yourself sane by engaging in some kind of extracurricular activities. I listed 4 of my current ones in my recent newsletter. Just sitting at home working all day will drive you nuts, so find some outlets.

CPA Firm Coronavirus: A Sign for Your Model

cpa firm coronavirus sign

Is your firm’s business model in line with where the world is heading? It should be a pretty easy question to answer.

Some firms have had a major disruption to their operations, while others are continuing to operate smoothly. This is because the latter has been set up for remote work and cloud-based tools from the get-go.

If your firm is the former, then use this as a sign to start shifting your model into something more future-proof.

And if you follow the above 15-point CPA firm survival kit, you should be A-OK once things pass.

Stay safe out there and good luck!