When creative and media-focused accountancy firm, Raedan, launched just under a decade ago, it had a clear goal: Use technology, inspire change and help make things easier for everyone they work with. To this end, the firm uses the full breadth of Xero – and the rich ecosystem of app integrations – and has even earned our distinguished 100% Xero award for 2020.
The firm’s focus on using technology to deliver the best possible experience to its creatively minded clients meant it was well prepared to take on the coronavirus lockdown. This has proved invaluable as many in the creative industry are facing unprecedented challenges and are looking to their accountants for support and guidance.
Technology means flexibility
“There was definitely no plan for pandemics,” says Jonathan Bareham, Raedan’s director. However, he notes that the firm’s long history as a digital firm, combined with their inbuilt focus on flexibility, meant that they fared well in the transition. The entire team uses laptops, and all the software they use is cloud-based.
While the tech is the same, the firm has changed its approach to prioritise near-term work. As the future remains perpetually uncertain, the most immediate information is the most important. The company has maintained its steadfast focus on daily bookkeeping while also prioritising cash flow, planning and budgeting. This is all supported by a constant flow of real-time information.
The company has also offered additional resources to clients. “We have delivered more webinars, marketing emails and guides in four weeks than we usually do in a year,” says Jonathan. To achieve this voluminous output of content, the firm has learned the crucial lesson that timely delivery is more important than perfection.
Clients come first
The cloud-based nature of Xero has enabled Raedan to continue to serve clients with minimum disruption. “No matter what the client needs,” he says, “the core work is still delivered in the usual way, which is a major reassurance during all the uncertainty”. With clients on the same Xero workflows, Raedan has been able to roll out support quickly, without having to tailor the response to multiple technologies.
The team at Raedan has made full use of the real-time data available to adjust forecasts as circumstances change. The firm was already a Fluidly partner, and having the software linked to Xero meant they could easily advise on using the tool to monitor their cash.
“One client, whose forecasts we had worked on in January, were revised in March and again in April as we saw the pandemic unfold. Having that real time, accessible data meant we could help them make the necessary changes in a timely fashion.” He adds that real-time reporting also means that clients’ grant and loan applications can be made quickly with less preparation work.
The streamlined workflow provides team members with additional time to focus on other tasks, and according to Jonathan, “communication and community” are the priorities. Multiple clients have similar questions and issues, so a ‘one-to-many’ approach is the most effective way to get messages out there and offer reassurance and support. “Our first webinars were a bit rusty, but we’re getting better,” Jonathan quips.
Caring for yourself and others
The team is getting as much fresh air and rest as they can, and they advise others to do the same. Jonathan has repositioned his desk by the window and is helping his children out with schoolwork, which he hopes to continue after the lockdown is lifted. He says, “when you’re busy helping clients, it’s easy to convince yourself you should just keep working as much as possible – but to keep helping them, we all need rest!”
Everyone misses the day-to-day interactions in the office, so they have organised two group calls a day to stay in touch. One call is for discussing work; the other is a more laid-back coffee chat. The team is in constant contact on Slack, and they have even found out that you can add games within the chats. At the end of every week, the team gets together virtually for drinks.
The team has made a significant effort with the one-to-many comms. Jonathan says that “the most powerful thing we’ve done over the last few months is to make calls or send texts and emails asking, ‘How are you?’” Questions from accountants are always focused on the state of the business, he says, but at a time like this it’s more important than ever to reach out person-to-person.
On the bright side, concludes Jonathan, “we’re probably closer to our clients than we’ve ever been, and the goal for us now is to make sure this is our new normal”.
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