The last two years brought plenty of challenges but here at GroForth, we also learned a lot about our strengths and our priorities, says SARAH DALY.
GroForth has always been agile. We pride ourselves on our ability to take change in our stride but the last two years really brought home how things like our early adoption of cloud-based technologies, video conferencing and flexible working have strengthened our resilience. These were some of the key factors that enabled us to continue serving clients seamlessly even when we couldn’t get in to the office.
We weren’t alone in enjoying the benefits of technology. For many of our clients, the ability to do business online saved the day. It enabled them to adapt, to be flexible, to keep in touch and to remain productive.
In common with other businesses I’ve spoken to, we found that productivity actually increased during the lockdown—so much so we’re taking what we learned in the future. There were fewer distractions and less time spent travelling. Now we know we can leverage that experience to continue to deliver more for our customers and our staff.
However, for all the benefits of cloud technologies, Zoom, Skype and various online platforms, another lesson from the pandemic was that too much screen time drains our energy. We need time out to take better care of ourselves. Better physical and mental health and prioritising a more sustainable work/life balance are as important for our business as they are for personal wellbeing.
Thanks to the pandemic, we also appreciate the importance of relationships more than we did before—whether it’s the support of our families, our staff, our customers, suppliers, business partners, our friends, our communities or our service providers. Learning to place more value on our business and personal relationships and support structures may turn out to be one of the most valuable lessons of the last two years.
While the pandemic brought many changes, cash is still king. Managing cashflow correctly not only enhances business performance, it also improves our ability to withstand a crisis and puts us in a stronger position to bounce back.
Good cashflow management will be very important in the coming months so it’s worth taking time to check that you are getting the basics right— invoicing on time, making it easy for customers to pay you, chasing money that you are owed and credit checking new customers.
Likewise, strong financial controls are important because they help minimise the risk of running out of cash. Now is the time to sort out your monthly management accounts and do your financials on a timely basis. We previously shared tips on how to set financial controls. If you need help, contact our management accounting team for assistance.
The disruption of the last two years helped some businesses uncover completely new opportunities while others face new competitors and/or a dwindling sales pipeline. After any period of significant change, it’s worth taking a really hard look at your business. Is it time to change structure, diversify, merge with another business or enter into some other type of collaborative arrangement? If you have growth ambitions, could this be the time to look for potential acquisitions? Your accountant is the best person to advise you on these matters.
For GroForth, technology will continue to be a key driver of change and innovation in our business as we work to enhance the bookkeeping and payroll services we provide for our business clients and the back office support we provide for accounting firms. We’ll take good note of the all the lessons we learned in the last two years and bring them with us as we step into the future.