Getting to grips with Brexit: Supporting your clients through uncertain times

2019 has brought with it a great uncertainty and change. Brexit has left the country in suspense for months, leaving many industries questioning their future. While some forward-thinking companies will have done a risk assessment for each scenario, some will be facing the change blind. Where does that leave the accountant?

Regardless of the outcome, uncertainty will have an impact on decisions on investment, exports and employment. Other than the ambiguity that the delays have caused, the possibility of a no-deal will leave even more unease as businesses fear that the UK will leave the EU with no comprehensive and robust trading relationship.

Where does that leave the accountants?

Brexit, regardless of the outcome, will require businesses to increasingly rely on the advice and expertise from their accountants. They will look to their trusted advisors to help guide them through new legislation, new tax and VAT regulations and any other outcomes that may occur.

It is an opportunity for practices to offer new advisory services like forecasting or recession planning. This is the evolution of the profession, with forward-thinking practices taking advantage of political, economic and legislative changes and uncertainty to provide new services and grow their practices.

During uncertain times, businesses will look for advice on how best to position their business for the coming months. Who better to advise a client on how to improve their profitability, prepare forecasts and build a strategic narrative. Accountants have the intuition, experience and resources to guide them through the changes and help them put their business in the best financial state possible. They will be expected to advise on the impact that businesses should prepare for, both from a financial and technical perspective.

Preparing for the change – deal or no deal

One area of advisory that will be triggered by the uncertainty is recession planning. Businesses will look at how they are futureproofing their business through potential economic turbulence. Accountants can provide the important information businesses need to make those decisions. Using the latest data and financial status of the business, accountants will be best placed to conduct a business review and assist the business to put in place contingency planning measures.

Using the advice and forecasting information, a business can play through many scenarios and understand the implications on their business. This type of consultation will also set one practice apart from another.

Providing resilience during uncertainty

Helping businesses build organisational resilience is about enabling them to anticipate, prepare for, respond and adapt to change or sudden disruptions and maintain business as usual. Regardless of the outcome, are businesses prepared for a potential drop in business and rise in costs and if not, how can an accountant help them?

For some clients, this will mean understanding, for example, how three months of disruptions might affect stock order or exports and how they might finance that. For others, it might be about reviewing their financial position and advising how to build enough cashflow to provide a soft-landing cushion, should running their business become disrupted or should their costs increase.

As indicated, cash flow forecasting is an area where the accountant can help businesses understand the implications of various scenarios.

Knowing the numbers – How Wolters Kluwer can help you

Any major change in business and economic landscapes often trigger businesses to review their professional services like their accounting. In an effort to mitigate the challenges they face, businesses might look to new practices for new ideas and advice on how to survive the change. This is an opportunity for practices to shine above the rest, both to existing customers and to prospects.

Practices will need to make sure that they are supported with a software package that helps them remain competitive during these unknown times.

The Wolters Kluwer integrated suite gives practices a complete picture of a client through a fully integrated software suite. CCH Central is at the heart suite, connecting people and information in a single location. A fully integrated, central database that intelligently shares information wherever and whenever it’s needed is an important tool to have in a practice’s arsenal.

While the unknown in Brexit scares business and accountants alike, there are many opportunities for accountants. Those who enable businesses to flourish despite the changes, will build a loyal base of clients and achieve growth. The Wolters Kluwer integrated suite will give practices the insight and efficiency to guide businesses through whatever the outcome may be successfully.

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