From XU Magazine, 
Issue 23

Lockdown life: How have accountants responded?

We’re not the first to say it - the last two months will go down in history. And the sooner the coronavirus does become history, the better...
This article originated from the Xero blog. The XU Hub is an independent news and media platform - for Xero users, by Xero users. Any content, imagery and associated links below are directly from Xero and not produced by the XU Hub.
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We started to notice some interesting spikes and dips in AccountancyManager usage, so dug a little deeper - asking our users how their lives have changed and what their main challenges have been.

88% report an increase in workload

Over half of respondents reported a significant increase in workload since the beginning of March -  with over a quarter seeing a slight increase.

Accountants’ main challenges

1) Understanding and communicating Government support

63.6% of respondents (see Chart 1) cited evolving Government schemes and getting the right information to their clients as their biggest challenge since the start of March.

The Chancellor’s announcement on Friday 20th March was met by enormous relief (and the odd tear), but certainly raised a lot of questions. Rishi Sunak then announced a scheme to support the self-employed and ‘bolstered’ the Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme (CBILS) to reach more businesses.

2) Working from home

The subject of interruptions divided our customers. While a few are struggling with ‘dog and child’ interruptions, most welcomed an escape from the distractions of the office.

“I’m able to focus and do more intensive, concentrated work, I have a better work/life balance and it’s a more comfortable and relaxed environment.”

3) Staying on top of day-to-day tasks

Understandably, ‘maintaining business as usual’ was also rated highly. The comments identified that issues with server-based accounting production systems and paper-based clients have been magnified whilst working remotely.

“My tax/accounts production product is not cloud-based and I had a computer malfunction… I’ve been unable to use it for almost 2 weeks now.”

What has helped you rise to the challenge?

Bulk/filtered emails

Our users rated ‘bulk emails and the ability to filter recipients based on business type’ the most useful AccountancyManager feature during March and April.

They’ve been sending them by the boatload. In the last two weeks of March, we saw an incredible 430% increase in the number of emails sent from accountants to their clients. Text messages also rose - by 100%.

Custom tasks

Task and deadline management came second, matched by a 50% rise in ‘custom tasks’ created by our users. In AccountancyManager, as well as automatic tasks - generated from your clients’ accounting deadlines - you can add your own ‘custom tasks’ to keep you on track.

Receiving and sending client documents

Trying to get documents from paper-based clients came joint fourth. This is perhaps a contributing factor to the 20% increase in AccountancyManager portal sign ups as the portal alleviates the requirement of physical records and accounts.

Why leave it there?

To sign up for a 30-day free trial

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