Q: How have things been for your practice?
A: It’s been tough going. We’ve done so much for clients and lost a lot of chargeable time – but some are grumpy because we’re either looking to charge for support or they think we’ve not been in contact enough. We’ve done good things but it’s been forgotten by some. We have all clients on a monthly package and we did a lot of work for them to get through this year. We then charged for furloughing in July and perhaps we should have communicated the value in that service better. Some team members have found it easy working from home and others haven’t. And while we trust our people we’ve improved monitoring of workflow, using Karbon, to be better organised.
Q: How do you see the next few months, particularly lockdown/SA filing season and more government initiatives?
A: We’ve had everyone coming in for Monday planning meetings – these go on for a long time because of dealing with all the issues and the week ahead. Afternoons have been more for training sessions – this has involved grading clients and allocating them to our two new senior team members. Obviously, with new lockdowns and tiers it’s been difficult to get to know them and integrate as quickly as we would have liked.
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: We have new offices, new people and new processes. I know what the team structure will look like and what our ideal client will look like – and it will involve us providing much more advisory; certainly with two seniors we can build deeper relationships.
On the tech front, it’s making sure you get the best out of it. We’ve been using Xavier every day; there’s competition for who has the highest Xavier score and then we build that into our analytics – but there’s so much more we can do. Take VAT returns; we can now do a pre-VAT check that picks up that clients’ bookkeeping is up to date – either they can sort it or we can do it for them with a charge.
Karbon’s my favourite thing. It sends out notifications, automates tasks and is helping with workflow for enquiries as well – we can even send a potential client a task list of what they need to do and have before they sign up. Practice Ignition sorts out the proposal and Karbon sends it.