Accounting services for business continuity (COVID-19)

April 24th, 2020 by Reid Schretlen 10 minutes read

Many accounting and bookkeeping firms have been quick to deploy services to meet the fast-changing needs of their clients. And since Practice Ignition is the place where those client relationships are managed, we’ve assembled a ready to use list of services you can import into your account.

If you’re based in the US, simply log in to Practice Ignition and go to Library > Services > Example Services > Business Continuity (COVID-19) > Import Services.

If you’re based in another region or would like to preview the services before importing them, you can download them here:

Global services pack

US services pack


Canada services pack


Once you have the file download you can import the services into your account by going to:

Library > Services > Import

Please see this article if you need a hand importing services: Importing services in bulk via CSV

An Opportunity To Help

As an accountant or bookkeeper you have direct access to the financial data of your clients and can help them collect, curate, and understand their data to help them both weather the storm and also plan for the post COIVD-19 future.

Here’s a breakdown of the services which have been created by our Heads of Accounting in AMER Jennie Moore and Josh Lance.

A Note About Pricing

Before we dive into the services it’s important to share a quick thought about pricing: your approach to pricing these services may vary depending on the needs of your clients and the needs of your practice.

No matter what approach or mix of approaches you take, it’s important to continue to communicate the value that you are delivering to your clients. Whether you charge your full standard price, or offer services for free, you are still delivering a huge amount of value.

Here are five approaches to pricing your services during COVID-19:

Full Standard Price

One approach is to charge the full standard price for each service. After all, you’re providing value to your clients and should be compensated accordingly. This approach works well if your clients are in a position to afford your standard fees or if you are taking on new clients.

Josh Lance charges his full standard rate for any new clients who are engaging him for help. But he is offering these services for free to existing clients (for the time being).

Discounted

Another common approach is to temporarily discount your services, allowing you to work with your clients while accommodating their short term cash flow needs. Practices that are offering discounting services may choose to do so within a defined time frame so that prices and be raised when the economic situation recovers. The amount you discount will depend on what your clients can afford and what you need to charge to cover your costs.

Deferral

Another option is to charge for the services, but defer the payment collection to a future date when the client has the cash flow available to pay your fees. This allows you to offer immediate help, but you’ll want to set a payment date limit so that your A/R doesn’t grow too large. And if it does, let us know, as it's easy to put your clients onto a fixed monthly payment plan with Practice Ignition.

Repackaging

Jennie Moore’s preferred method is to repackage her monthly services. For example, if she is providing a number of bookkeeping and accounting services to a client and they tell her that they are going to have to lay off their staff, rather than discount her normal package as they no longer need payroll processing, she will update their engagement to remove the payroll service and replace it with Record of Employment filing or Employee Liaison Services or other services which they will now need.

Free

The final option, and popular option at this time, is to offer these services for free to your existing clients. You’re in a unique position to deliver tangible value to your clients right now, even if they aren't able to support your fees. Josh Lance is offering these services for free to his existing clients, and will look to move anyone who continues to subscribe to any of these services in the long term onto a paid plan when the time is right.

Any one approach isn’t better than another, you know your clients better than we do, so please take our pricing suggestions as just that: thoughts on how you can proceed.

Services That Deliver Value During COVID-19

Cash Flow Planning

Help your client come up with a plan to get through the next few months. Show them how to reduce expenses and extend credit. Identify what financing is needed to cover any projected cash shortages for the next 3 months and then review how this can be covered with loans, government assistance, etc.

Billing: this service is typically billed as a single fee project. Either 100% paid on acceptance, or paid via a deposit on acceptance with the final bill being charged on completion.

Full Standard Price: $800 - $900 per project or more.

Cash Flow Reforecast

The only constant is change. Your clients are likely going to need regular updates to their cash flow forecast. It’s a good idea to update it on a weekly or monthly basis as needed so they can make data-driven decisions.

Billing: this service is typically billed on a recurring, monthly or weekly basis

Full Standard Price: $750 per month, depending on the size of the firm.

Cash Flow Scenarios

After creating a base cash flow projection your client may benefit from being able to see multiple different scenarios. It’s common to run good, bad, and ugly, scenarios to help give your client a picture of what the future could hold. This also helps them decide what action(s) they want to take now despite the current uncertainty.

Billing: this service is typically billed as a single fee project. Either 100% paid on acceptance, or paid via a deposit on acceptance with the final bill being charged on completion.

Full Standard Price: $500 - $2,500 or more depending on the complexity of the continuity plan.

Business Continuity Plan

Business Continuity Planning goes beyond just cash management, it’s a comprehensive plan touching all functions of the business. It answers questions such as:

  • How can we adapt our service delivery or product design?
  • What growth opportunities exist?
  • What staffing changes can we make to optimize our human capital deployment?

Billing: this service is typically billed as a single fee project. Either 100% paid on acceptance, or paid via a deposit on acceptance with the final bill being charged on completion.

Full Standard Price: $500 - $2,500 or more depending on the complexity of the continuity plan.

SBA Loan Application Assistance (US)

If you’re based in the US you likely have clients who have questions about the SBA Loan Application process. This service typically involves helping the client collect the information they need in order to apply for a loan, and/or assisting with the completion of the application itself.

Billing: this service is usually provided free of charge. There may be an opportunity to receive payment from SBA by acting as the agent for your client.

Full Standard Price: free of charge.

COVID Strategy Session

Related to Business Continuity Planning, the COVID Strategy Session is a little bit like a therapy session, the goal is to listen to and understand their concerns so you can provide practical advice. This session can be used to review all of the possible paths forward, to openly talk about the hard decisions your client is facing, and to show some empathy and humanity during uncertain economic conditions.

Billing: this service is typically billed as a single fee project. Either 100% paid on acceptance, or paid via a deposit on acceptance with the final bill being charged on completion.

Full Standard Price: $200 - 500 per session.

HR Advisory Services

One of the key areas your client may need help with is managing their Human Resources. This service assists with planning and managing HR and staffing changes including:

  • layoffs (if needed)
  • tax credits
  • benefits plans

It’s all about helping your client make difficult decisions while following a sound strategy to minimize the impact on their staff while also balancing the needs of their business.

Billing: this service is typically billed on a monthly recurring basis.

Full Standard Price: $600 to $1,000 per month or more depending on the number of staff.

Wage Subsidy Calculation - up to 75% (CA)

Calculation and tracking of the up to 75% Canadian Wage Subsidy with annual reconciliation to Canada Revenue Agency.

Billing: this service is typically provided for free at this time, provided that the normal monthly fee remains in place.

Full Standard Price: free of charge provided the normal monthly fee stays in place.

Wage Subsidy Calculation - 10% (CA)

Calculation and tracking of the 10% Canadian Wage Subsidy with annual reconciliation to Canada Revenue Agency.

Billing: this service is typically provided for free at this time, provided that the normal monthly fee remains in place.

Full Standard Price: free of charge provided the normal monthly fee stays in place.

Vendor Liaison Service

To liaise with your vendors to optimize cash flow, negotiate extended payment terms or installment plans for larger outstanding invoices.

Billing: this service is typically billed on a monthly recurring basis.

Full Standard Price: $300 - $1,000 per month depending on the number of vendors and size of the organization.

Customer Liaison Service

To liaise with your customers to optimize cash flow, negotiate extended payment terms or installment plans for larger outstanding invoices.

Billing: this service is typically billed on a monthly recurring basis.

Full Standard Price: $300 - $1,000 per month depending on the number of vendors and size of the organization.

Record of Employment filing (CA)

Reviewing and reporting of Record of Employment filing for terminated employees due to the shortage of work related to COVID-19.

Billing: this service is typically billed on completion if it is being offered as a stand-alone service. Or, it could replace the payroll service if you are providing a package of services for a fixed monthly fee.

Full Standard Price: $500 - $1,500 depending on the number of employees.

Employee Liaison Service (CA)

To assist employees recently terminated due to shortage of work in applying for Employment Insurance benefits, advising on actions for personal loan deferrals, and eligibility and assistance with application for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) eligibility until EI funds are disbursed, including information regarding social benefits for Child Tax Benefit, GST/HST increased funding from the government.

Billing: this service is typically billed on a monthly or weekly basis if it is being offered as a stand-alone service. Or, it could replace the payroll service if you are providing a package of services for a fixed monthly fee.

Full Standard Price: $500 - $1,500 depending on the number of employees.

Employee Personal Income Tax Preparation Service (CA)

Personal income tax return for your employees to ensure they continue to receive important government funding for ex. Child Tax Benefit, GST/HST benefit etc. If your client really wants to make sure their employees are taken care of during COVID-19 it’s important to ensure they are able to file their tax return so they continue to be eligible for tax credits and benefits.

Billing: this service is typically billed on completion.

Full Standard Price: $100 - $300 per return.

Final Thoughts

We hope that these services give you some ideas and inspiration for how you continue to deliver value to your clients now and in the future.

The needs of your clients will continue to change in the coming weeks and months.

And that’s ok.

You can proactively update your service offerings to meet their needs. If you’re using Practice Ignition it only takes a few clicks to adjust an active proposal. And we can also help you make bulk updates if needed. Please reach out to your Account Manager if you need a hand.

And lastly, we’ve love to hear what you think!

Are you already providing services similar to these? Are we missing anything? Please let us know at [email protected]

Take care,

From Jennie, Josh, and the entire team at Practice Ignition 🚀

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