A Guide to Soften the Financial Impact of the Coronavirus Outbreak
By Kristie Van Pay, Prosperity Bookkeeping LLC
March 19, 2020
If there is anything good about uncertainty, it is that it forces us to look for alternatives in case things don’t go as expected. This is where growth and change are born. Speaking from my own experience, when things are going well, I fall into a rut. It’s comfortable to do things the way I have always done them. I don’t challenge myself to learn new software or change my business practices.
In a matter of weeks, the coronavirus outbreak took us out of our comfort zone and created a lot of uncertainty. It seems that no one will remain untouched by the outbreak.
However, I am committed to helping clients and non-clients alike during this time. I am offering free advice about how to survive what will hopefully be a temporary disruption or setback for your small business.
Here is one important step you can easily do this weekend to help soften the blow of these uncertain times.
Replace face-to-face meetings with web conferencing
If you read Part 1 of this series, you may have been shocked at the suggestion that a brick-and-mortar office is a luxury, not a necessity. Obviously that statement is not true in all circumstances, but it is more true than ever. Many small businesses have taken advantage of advances in technology and embraced virtual teams. One way you can reduce the impact of the coronavirus is to temporarily suspend face-to-face meetings and replace them with web conferencing.
If your customers come to your office, this may not necessarily save you money directly, but it will reduce exposure to sickness that leads to lost time if someone on your staff gets sick.
However, if you typically go to your customers’ locations for meetings, web conferencing will save you money on things like:
- Mileage reimbursement for personal vehicles
- Gas and wear and tear on company vehicles
- Production time lost due to driving
- Time wasted when your clients forget to cancel appointments
With the right tools, you can do everything in a web meeting that you can do face-to-face. You can:
- Share your screen if you have a presentation
- Have attendee(s) share their screen to share information or resolve an issue
- Use your phone to add mobility to show your customers a piece of equipment or a home that’s for sale.
There are several free tools for these types of meetings: Zoom, TeamViewer, GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts, and more. They are easy to use, and some even integrate nicely with scheduling software that allows your customers to schedule appointments at their convenience based on parameters you set. I personally have experience with both Calendly and ScheduleOnce, and I can comfortably recommend either of those for service-based businesses.
Bonus Suggestion: Reduce utility bills by having your team work from home, at least temporarily
Maybe client meetings are not relevant to your business but you do have to figure out how to make the shift to remote offices. Perhaps employees will no longer work at your location but instead will work from home because of social distancing or childcare needs. There are several team collaboration tools for this. My team has been completely virtual for 6 years.
Here are some of the tools I use to manage the virtual team:
- AeroWorkflow – A workflow management system designed for accountants that houses our to-do lists and standard operating procedures. It allows everyone to oversee and delegate tasks as needed and tracks the time we spend on our tasks.
- Calendly – A scheduling software that allows clients to schedule appointments in a convenient and efficient manner.
- Zoom – Web conferencing software that integrates with Calendly. When someone schedules an appointment a link to join the meeting is automatically included in their calendar invite.
- GSuite – Google collaboration and productivity apps for business. This allows us all to have access to the same files, share calendars, share email inboxes, etc. Basically, it replaces the dusty, dingy server room in your office.
- QuickBooks Online – Online accounting software used not only to manage our own bookkeeping but also our clients’ bookkeeping.
By following these steps during some downtime this weekend, you can roll this out by Monday:
- Think about how a virtual client meeting or virtual office would look different than what you are currently doing.
- Make a list of the tools or solutions that would be necessary to make a smooth transition.
- Research the different tools available for each required solution and pick one for each. Capterra is a great place to start as they are independent reviewers of all kinds of software and apps. They offer useful information about each. You can search by topic or by name, making it easy to find what you are looking for.
- Communicate to your team and customers.
- Assign an ambassador for each solution to learn how to use it and educate the rest of your team.
- Set a go-live date.
As a company that has always operated in a virtual environment, Prosperity Bookkeeping is happy to offer assistance or answer questions about how to quickly evolve your organization into one that can thrive in a virtual environment. Simply book a free, online consultation, and I will be happy to assist you.
 A quick note about QuickBooks online. If you are currently a QuickBooks desktop user and are interested in migrating to QuickBooks online, please do not do so without consulting a QuickBooks Online certified ProAdvisor first. They can save you a significant amount of money on your QuickBooks Online subscription. To inquire about this offer, please contact us today!