We last spoke to Brendon in August 2020.
Q: How have things been since we last caught up?
A: It’s been pretty much ‘business as usual’ the last few months – we’ve been fully open without any furloughing of our staff. Trading has been good, clawing back some of the fees that dropped off in April and May. Some project work has been coming in, and this has come from us being proactive with our client base. Lots of ‘looking after’ has led to advisory work. For example, some restructuring of property portfolios for tax planning purposes. Bringing clients’ bookkeeping up to date brings about other opportunities.
Q: How do you see the next few months, particularly lockdown/SA filing season and more government initiatives?
A: With the experience of what happened earlier in the year, we took the initiative of talking to our clients as regularly as possible. Key will be maintaining that communication – it has involved an awful lot of work but has stood us in good stead. There’s still uncertainty ahead for many sectors so we’ll still be deciphering what comes out of the government. We’ve got systems in place, including our outsourcing with AdvanceTrack, and so we know at a base level work is being done.
Sitting above that we use Senta’s tasks and deadlines capability to monitor the work. Part of what we capture in our customer relationship management (CRM) system is to check against what clients’ goals are – we can drill down into the information to check whether clients are on target. For example, letting them know that margins have decreased.
Q: Longer term, how easy is it for you to plan? Where do you see the firm in the planning cycle, both long term and next 12 months? What is in your thoughts?
A: I think that online will be more professional, perhaps using microphones and lighting. There is also phasing a return to the office – we all work across clients so communication is key. Longer term, we will keep an office.