Improvements Due To COVID-19
In the initial days of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were a lot of changes that were taking place, and most companies and businesses were not sure how they were going to keep up. People were no longer allowed to travel around, so most companies started making changes to allow for remote working and online, virtual meetings. The changes meant a significant decrease in productivity, but there was nothing much that companies could do other than waiting for things to start getting better before they could get back to the way things were.
There were other challenges to the process as well. The Government was implementing various schemes to assist with the slump in work. They were also making changes to tax rules and delaying the dates of filing, but they had to pay the amounts all the same.
As the work we handle puts us in the service industry, we have to provide a decent and well thought out service that our clients would expect from us. In this respect, we want our clients to have reasonable access to us at all times. They can still meet with us following the WCB COVID rules. We have a meeting boardroom with a separate entrance so that we can arrange for safe, private meetings whenever needed. We additionally make the process easier for our clients, so we work on Zoom meetings or Microsoft Team meetings online allowing the people who are not open to meeting in person, to work with us as well. Furthermore, we have easy phone access for our clients and are always just a phone call away. We still use the mail when appropriate but also have email and secure data portals as we have to keep up with the times.
Keeping up with the changes that have come around because of the Coronavirus was quite challenging. There was a lot we had to rework, not only with the way we were functioning but also around our schedules, dealings with clients, and so much more. COVID did not disrupt our business as severely as many others around us, and the changes that we had to make were simple and adapting to them was not a challenge. We were using technology all along to provide a high standard of response to our client's needs, and with the pandemic, there were a lot more people who got on board the program.
When it comes to the changes in communication, we now coordinate a lot more using Zoom and Microsoft Teams, which is not something that we used to handle in the past. We have also started using electronic signatures whenever we get the chance. It also allows us to think about the environment and save paper from printing the forms. In the past, we would ideally use Whatsapp, phone calls, and text messages to keep in touch with our clients, ideally working on processes that they preferred so they would not find it challenging.
While most of our clients prefer communicating virtually and getting things done without unnecessarily meeting, our office is still open for people to come in and meet us, as long as they are following the WCB COVID rules. When it comes to the team though, some of us work remotely on a scheduled basis as we cannot all get into the office at the same time.
Overall, the challenges are minimal, and we are managing to get a lot done working remotely. We are essentially a paperless company using all the technology available, so it works out to our advantage. We also found a lot more pros to working remotely, and we are leveraging them to benefit us and make us more productive.
Our office is locked as clients can only swing by if they book an appointment. Furthermore, we have meetings in our large boardrooms, so we reduce the chances of anyone catching the virus or spreading it from one person to another. Additionally, we do force the people coming by to follow the rules, and that means they have to wear their masks, sanitize their hands and make sure they are maintaining the right amount of distance from one another. Additionally, all work areas are disinfected daily and after use. We also make sure we do not allow people to crowd in any parts of the office and coordinate our meetings to reduce the number of people coming by to the waiting room.
Although we were working through the pandemic, we did not make any significant changes to the number of hours that we were working and are still sticking to the same schedule that we had running pre-pandemic. We did not want to make it difficult for clients to find us at the office, and we cannot be flexible with deadlines as the Government does not give us the opportunity.
We began using a portal system five years ago and continue to use the same one as it serves the purpose. When it comes to the information we gather from our clients, none of their details and data leaves the country as the platform that we use has servers with the country itself. The system we use is called Clienttrack Portal, and it was working well for us in the past, so we had no reason to switch to another one during the pandemic.
We did not stop having in-person meetings, but we make sure that the people we are meeting follow all the WCB COVID protocols that are implemented by the Government. We already attend many events and are open to taking part in a few more virtual public performances, and business expos as well. There were a lot of companies who were toying with the idea of moving to digital platforms, streaming digital solutions and replacing tasks with automation, but they were taking their time with the move. The pandemic has forced a lot of people to make that move as people were not allowed to meet as often anyway.
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