"There’s a changing landscape ahead, it’s time to flip the thinking” says Paul Surtees, in our latest webinar.
From rising fuel prices, supply chain delays and staff shortages to increases in minimum wage, all driving inflation to uncomfortable levels. There’s a huge amount going on in the world. And with a new government lending scheme heading your way, there’s a lot to cover and help your small business clients navigate.
In our recent webinar, Paul takes a look at what’s in front of us and offers Capitalises views of how we can help turn these headwinds into tailwinds. Offering small businesses advice and direction to help them tackle what lies ahead and encourage healthy, sustainable growth moving forward.
Here’s some of the hot topics covered and how you, the accountant, can be the pain relief for your clients' pains.
What does the changing landscape look like?
Whilst there is a lot to be uncertain about in the future, what is certain is that prices are rising fast and inflation will be with us for the foreseeable future.
Paul describes allroads are leading to higher cost of goods, lower gross & net margins and a world where credit control becomes more important and internal and external capital becomes central.
"Thinking about rising inflation is where the focus should be,” says Paul.
It’s something that we’re all feeling the impact of, from both a business and personal perspective. Paul offered optimism when looking to the future, suggesting “when it comes to the changing landscape, let’s flip the thinking.”
What can we do to change headwinds into tailwinds? What support can we offer our clients? And how can you make it a huge opportunity for your firm.
The British Business Bank estimates that without the government lending schemes, more than 500,00 businesses would have failed. The current Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS) is set to officially end on 30th June. But, is it really the end? Paul explains what the future holds.
Although not formally announced, there’s been indications of a new RLS scheme starting in July for a duration of 2 years. Lending options on this new scheme will in the main require a personal guarantee (PG). The scheme offers the safety rails to small businesses to continue recovering and growing in the turbulent times.
Although this is good news for the lending market. What can you do to start preparing your clients for the road ahead? And how can you best spot your clients at risk who need these types of funding solutions?
How to start preparing for what’s ahead?
Paul offered the strategy of taking a look at today’s challenges and breaking these down for each of your businesses in your portfolio.
Using an example of a small UK Pub, he labelled some of the challenges they may be facing.
Lack of workers: Historically low unemployment and emigration through Brexit has had a huge impact on the way businesses are able to hire, train up and retain workers. Not to mention a desire to work differently through remote and hybrid working. Obviously this is not possible for a pub!
Unsteady demand: Covid has had a huge impact on the demand for pubs, with lockdown shutting them completely, to summer booms and back again.
Rising costs: Rising costs can be felt all around a business. From stocks and supplies to energy bills. As well as increased risk to profit margins and late payment problems. In fact, The Office of National Statistics found that 48% of UK small businesses currently trading reported that the prices of their materials, goods and services have increased.
Disposable income changing: Inflation is increasing the cost of living meaning disposable income is changing. This has knock-on effects on consumers but also your clients, and how much their business can afford to adapt.
Once we acknowledge the headwinds our clients are up against, we can help them spot the risks to their current business position and navigate solutions to prevent them.
This really helping your clients become less “reactive” and more “proactive” to the market. Helping protect their business and adapt to the threats to lessen the impact.
"It’s time to look at how we can prepare clients ahead of time” says Paul. Not only can this benefit your clients, but also opens new advisory doors for your firm. “Every one of those pain points you can translate into an accounting service”.
If you're wondering how…
How can you help your clients get ahead?
Paul talks about how you can use these headwinds to help your clients get ahead and stronger, yet also build client depth within your firm and develop your value proposition.
"It’s all about translating these headwinds into value” by encouraging action from your clients. Here’s the ways Paul believes you can begin to do this:
Clean your clients data
This is all about helping your clients get ahead and see the benefits of becoming more digital.
If you have clients that are hesitant to move data to cloud accounting, it could be a good time to explain to them that cloud accounting shows them their data in real-time, enabling them to see their business position clearer.
This gives you more transparency and insight. Which is critical for you as their adviser, to help them stay ahead of a world that is constantly changing.
Collect and understand the right data
Understanding where your clients business is and how to work towards where it wants to be, starts with simply gathering the right data. This is a great opportunity to help progress compliance accounts into management accounts.
In this changeable climate, you may want to change your quarterly client meetings and opt for regular monthly meetings where you can review new, fresh data.
Get their credit and debt under control
With lots of change in the landscape, boosting your clients credit score can help them tackle these changing economic factors with their best foot forward.
Access to up-to-date and accurate management and filed accounts, can help you dive into your clients business position and help them alter areas of their business that are impacting their bottom line, or their credit score.
For example, taking a critical look into your clients' debtor books. Paul mentions that this is a huge area that can impact credit score.
Do they have bad debts that could be recovered? Can you help your clients control their credit terms better?
If you’re looking for a tool to give you insights into your clients credit score, credit risks, payment performance and much more, keep reading. We’ll introduce you to our Monitor platform which does just that, all in one place.
Creating the business plan
"Deliver their financial forecasts - Plan A, B and C” says Paul. This is all about creating business plans for your client that bring about action and accountability.
Set goals with your clients within a time frame and figure out a way you can help them achieve them.
Business plans help you and your client better deliver on plans, work towards business growth and manage outcomes. Whilst offering you and your client confidence about what you’re working towards.
Monitor the business risks and opportunities that lie ahead
Creating business plans is great, but if the last couple of years has taught us something, it’s that plans may need to be changed.
Keeping ahead of the changing landscape is all about regular monitoring of business factors. In Paul's UK Pub example he stated the four challenges the small business faces, and how this simple strategy can be used for all clients.
However, this can be time consuming and can require a lot of prep from you.
Paul talks about how you can use cloud accounting and data to provide insight to your clients. And how having tools on hand can do the work for you.
With Capitalise Monitor, risks and opportunities will be tracked and identified for you across your entire portfolio. Driven by rich insights from Experian, providing credit profile and risk data. Best yet, Monitor applies to all companies regardless of whether they’re cloud or non-cloud connected.
By tracking data, spotting challenges and giving you actionable insights, you can now enter client meetings with actionable insights to better advise your clients. Without the need for extensive prep.
Paul says “these insights translate into action”, we have the access to the market for you.
Not only can Monitor provide you with proactive conversation and triggers to encourage healthy business growth, but also helps you create client engagement with the Capital Report feature.
Capital Report is a shareable feature that lives inside Monitor. Designed to bring all your clients insights together in one, easy to navigate place in a shareable format to supercharge your client meetings. If you want to learn more about Capital Report, read our FAQ article here.
With new challenges arising this year, Capitalise is here to help empower you to help your clients become healthier and look to you more than ever.
It’s time to get started
Don’t waste time, reach out to your dedicated Partnership Manager now to get started. If you don’t have a partnership manager then click here to book in some time with the team who can talk you through the platform we have. And how it can help you sail through these changing landscape headwinds.