How to do cash flow, scenario planning & advisory services in a pandemic
Colin Hewitt Founder & CEO
With many businesses struggling for survival, the economy struggling and entire industries facing unprecedented challenges, more accountants are being asked for urgent cash flow and scenario planning support.
These advisory services were already growing increasingly popular among accounting firms, but they are now fundamental in helping clients make the hardest business decisions of their lives.
Helen Crapper is the owner and founder of Insight Finance Solutions, whose cash flow expertise is in high demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. Helen knew the value of cash flow services long before the pandemic, using Float’s cash flow tool to help clients understand and achieve their long-term business growth goals.
However, as soon as clients started to realise the impact of COVID-19, these discussions shifted to shorter, more immediate action plans and in-depth week by week planning. Only recently have clients started looking into the future once more, trying to plan for life after the pandemic using scenario planning tools. Helen understands the short- and long-term value of cash flow, scenario planning and advisory services in the middle of a pandemic better than just about anyone.
Immediate action and clarity
For Helen, being able to see the impact of potential business funding such as CBILS, Bounce Back Loans and furlough payments has been invaluable in helping her clients. Incorporating support packages into Float’s visual forecast and showing her clients the impact on their business simply and clearly means her clients go away from calls feeling more involved. They know exactly what their current situation is and what plans have been put in place. Thanks to Helen and her team, clients feel more informed and more certain about their future.
Helen Crapper, Insight Finance Solutions: “Cash flow is actually what drives your day to day decision making and defines what actions you’re going to take to move the business forward, whether it’s your own business or a client’s business.”
“Forecasting your cash shouldn’t be a result of Coronavirus. If you’re not, or haven’t been cash flow forecasting, you should be. It should be the way you set down good foundations for your business going forward to make confident and informed decisions.”
As her clients started to think beyond the immediate lockdown situation, Float’s scenario planning tool has allowed Helen to help with their long-term recovery planning. Together, they’ve taken a look at the original goals they’d set for the year and asked ‘what can we put on hold’, ‘how can we make sure the core business is still ticking over.’ This has enabled Helen to build out the bigger, longer term scenarios.
Helen has also been looking at cash flow planning for when the restrictions are lifted. She’s made timeline goals for her
clients to work towards that can be adjusted to reflect the actual situation as it changes and unfolds.
For instance, gym owners and fitness professionals are working their cash flows towards being open again in July, but recognise that even if that timeline stays in place, the period afterwards in August, September and October will be another tricky phase to navigate.
The message here is flexibility. Keeping a continuous, accurate but flexible approach to cash flow forecasting right now is vital.
Cash flow-friendly pricing
The way Helen values Float is demonstrated in how she prices it as part of her services: cash flow forecasting is built in as a core part of all of her services - it's just that important. Earlier on in her career, Helen was irritated by ‘additional costs’ and ‘extra payments’ that would be added to fees and bills at the end of each month making each outgoing different, and therefore harder to budget for.
Helen’s pricing plan for her accounting services is simple and cash flow-friendly for both parties: giving her and her clients only one payment per month to budget for.
“Without Float,” Helen admits, “we would have been frantically on spreadsheets 24/7. We couldn’t have offered our services to our clients without it.”
Insight Finance Solutions has also been offering their services free to local businesses, increasing the demand on the team’s resources. Helen says that by using Float to streamline her cash flow forecasting service, they’ve been able to free up time for the team to support the community too. Advisory services are something they’re very humbled to be able to offer.
“I genuinely don’t know how other accountants do cash flow forecasting without using Float!”
If you’d like to find out more about how Helen Crapper of Insight Finance Solutions provides cash flow confidence to her clients during this time, then sign up to our webinar to hear from Helen and Float COO Jen Given!
Exclusive webinar: How to advise on cash flow during a pandemic with Helen Crapper. Hear from Helen how a cash flow service can help your clients, and your firm.
Find out how Float can help you, and your clients!