Beyond the needs for social distancing, access to tests and treatment, measurement of job and revenue losses, business re-configuration and funding, forecasting and bailouts — one of the biggest requirements these issues increase is the need for accounting.
Have you noticed? Of all the news that makes us come to attention in the stress of the global pandemic is the news that involves numbers. As we query the nation’s accountants about their lives and their workloads right now, it is clear the tax filing extensions, while necessary, have not made their workloads easier.
In many cases it has simply extended the anxiety of helping clients to deal with the shifting financial landscape. As we speak with accountants from practices large or small, we hear surprising things about the issues that are high on their minds. “Forecasting,” says one. “Our minds were spinning like everyone’s in the face of the crisis about what our company’s future would hold. But when we sat down and created an actual forecast of what we’d need to do to ensure we succeed we became confident and infinitely calmer. The challenges remain, but we are clear on what we need to do to stay out of harm’s way.”
“Analysis,” says another. In fact, many, many of the nation’s accounting partners are adding new value and solving the urgent needs of their clients by helping them to make sense of the disaster recovery programs and to file for the relief programs they are eligible for both quickly and well.
Of the mountains of emails that fill our inboxes with assurances that companies care, that they’re taking appropriate precautions, and even the messages that inspire us with willingness to sacrifice and contribute for humanity’s good, many of the messages we stop and open immediately involve accounting.
What does the crisis mean to my family? My job? My community and my business? Accounting must lead the way with value-add analysis of the impact of tax deadlines, payment deferrals and shifting workforce requirements.
Clients and communities are anxious to know what will happen to our lives and our livelihoods as some kinds of businesses, such as restaurants and retail, will suffer, and some, such as events, gyms and recreational travel, are essentially stopped on a dime?
This is the time for our accounting services to rise to the level of sage and hero. More than any time prior, as clients we expect or even demand that our accounting providers step up to analyze the financial impact of every event and help us reprioritize and re-adjust. We want them to be our most trusted advisors. Whether we make a great deal of money or a little, these questions are vital to our way of life, our ability to support our families, or in some cases, to even safely exist.
So What do Accountants Need?
In a nutshell, beyond our gratitude, accountants require automation.
The most valuable automation gives accountants, and us as clients, live access to visualized data and status of projects, tasks and deadlines. None of the workflow processes the software industry has provided before now is enough. The stress of the volatile process of taxation is difficult enough in a normal season. Today, the need to surmount these seasonal challenges is paired with life-or-death financial guidance in a time period in which many workers’ jobs will go away or be radically changing. Nearly every business must pivot in some way. Many will fail. Even the industry sectors that surge and thrive in the current crisis are stressed by the ability to scale quickly enough to answer increasing demands, and to do so not knowing for certain the additional demands will continue once we have weathered the medical storm.
For that reason, our company, Avii, is directing our support at the accounting industry with the thing we do best: automation. Providing accountants with t workflows, a unified client portal, secure document exchange and — in a giant way — instant access to robust business intelligence that helps these professionals serve their clients as valued advisors instead of functional process fulfillment. They must answer the increasing alarm of their clients with meaningful analysis and to the degree they are able, with careful predictive advice.
Our gift to this critical sector is free access to our product suite — the full Avii Workspace suite, for up to 25 users, and until at least June 1 of 2020. Particularly as even accountants must adhere to the world’s new work from home requirements, this is the gift we can provide to help them analyze our entire suite with no limitations, to maintain and improve their efficiency, to protect client privacy and compliance...resulting in a greater level of value-add than perhaps has ever been required of their profession.
We applaud the accounting practitioners throughout the United States and beyond for their ability to rise to the challenges they (and we) must heroically face. We hear you. We feel your challenges. And we are committing our resources to help.
Lyle Ball is CEO of Avii, a fast growing SaaS-based company in Lehi, UT. Avii™ provides tax, audit, advisory, management consulting and compliance organizations with an integrated suite of most-required practice management resources.