The Covid-19 pandemic, coming as businesses were trying to prepare for Brexit, made 2020 a difficult year. Changes in how and where we work came on stream without warning and businesses had to adapt rapidly in order to keep going. Platforms like Zoom enabled us to continue communicating with clients and teams while back office activities like bookkeeping and payroll were able to keep going thanks to cloud-based systems. For much of the year, pandemic support payments from Government helped to offset the financial impact of lockdown for many employers and individuals.
Working from home
A new lockdown in January 2021 has many people working from home again as the New Year gets underway. Technology plays a key role enabling businesses to continue trading and many of the lessons learned in 2020 will continue to be relevant in 2021, not least lessons about GDPR which will be increasingly important as more businesses go online. This is an area that I have already put a lot of work into at GroForth and where I will continue to focus in 2021 as it is important for our clients to have confidence in the systems and services that we provide. Elsewhere on this website, I previously shared some tech tips along with advice on how to make the most of working from home.
Various Government led supports were put in place during 2020 to help businesses and individuals cope with the impact of the pandemic. For employers, one of the most welcome of these was the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme which was replaced in September 2020 by a new Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme. Elsewhere on this website, my colleague Nikki Johns answers some frequently asked questions about the EWSS.
With the pandemic still very much with us at the time of writing, it will be important that businesses continue to avail of relevant supports when necessary this year.
While the pandemic saw many people working from home in 2020, it created new challenges for some business owners who found that the pressure on their time increased. This contributed to growing demand for GroForth services, particularly our bookkeeping and payroll services, which can be tedious and time-consuming tasks for non-financial people. Signs that you might need help in this area include things like backlogs starting to build up.
Over the years, I have found that many business owners benefit from outsourcing their back office administration as it gives them back valuable time and can provide insights that help them develop their business.
As Aileen O’Meara, a GroForth client whose company specialises in media training and consulting, puts it:
“From the time that GroForth took over the books of my small business, I have had all my returns on time, I know exactly what my profits are, and where my main revenue stream is. Not only are they helpful and understanding of a non-mathematically minded person like myself, they make my accounts clear and accessible.”
Business All-Stars accreditation
As the year drew to a close, we were delighted that GroForth achieved Business All-Stars accreditation for the second time. This accreditation recognises our team’s hard work and professionalism in delivering high-quality bookkeeping and payroll support services for our client base of growing businesses, technology companies and accounting firms. Knowing that our business processes have been independently examined strengthens the entire team’s confidence, reassures clients and enhances the GroForth brand.
Following the end of the Brexit transition period in December 2020, major changes affecting trade with the UK came into effect on 1 January 2021. While various forms of support are available from Government, Local Enterprise Offices and other sources to help businesses cope, it is likely to take some time to get used to the new trading environment. If GroForth can assist your business in any way, please let me know.
In business, things always change. No doubt, 2021 will have lessons of its own to deliver but for now, at least, here’s hoping lessons learned in 2020 will help us navigate the challenges that lie ahead.