With the survival of many businesses in question when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, people had to react immediately. And of course, with financial implications being the epicenter for millions with the shutdown, accounting firms were some of the most busy in the industry, helping to pick up the pieces.
Business owners needed accountants for help in deciphering the CARES Act, figuring out how they could gain access to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the Employee Retention Credit (ERC), and other programs.
However, while some of the frenzy has died down, we’re still very much living and working through a global pandemic. And some things in this industry will never be the same either.
Here are the 3 things that we think will be here to stay post-pandemic:
1. Remote functionality
Unlike the grocery or hospitality industry, accounting is one of the workforces that didn’t need in-person functionality. And much like other industries that could go remote, many realized that there are some things that can be done better with virtual communication. It even seemed to force people to be more consistent and efficient, with the better use of emails, cloud dashboards, and video conferencing.
2. Office landscape
The internal function of accounting firms has been changed for good, too. Many accountants have enjoyed working from home and creating their own schedule. Nevertheless, with a good chunk of offices not physically in the office, internal operations had to shift to more modern, tech-reliant methods for getting work done.
Now, it’s just about ironing out the wrinkles in virtual operations, whether that be managing employees remotely, onboarding, differing time zones, and more.
3. Access to expertise
As we mentioned earlier, accountants across the country were called on to help their clients utilize major financial programs, like the PPP or the ERC.
And with the consistent changes throughout the pandemic to even just the CARES Act itself, business owners continue to need updated information. That behavior will not change now, though.
Since many people’s eyes have opened to the importance of understanding governmental programming throughout the pandemic, clients will keep calling on their accountants for financial expertise, no matter how old or new the issue might be.
Part of that expertise also ventures into a new expectation for services. For example, applications to any of the programs or credits that are included in the CARES Act aren’t easy for any John Doe.
Now, it’s expected that accountants offer services to jump through these logistical hoops for clients. Anything that has to do with financial services or advising is a more important commodity than ever before.
What other shifts are you seeing in the industry? Tag us on social or leave a comment below. And if you enjoy accounting news, trends, and current events, you’ll love our weekly Drink While You Think series where Acuity Co-Founders Kenji & Matthew discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly of what’s going on in the industry.