2020 hasn’t gone the way anyone expected, giving everyone plenty of reasons to worry and fret. But I thought for this year-end blog it might be good to focus on the positive rather than the negative. I think we could all use more of the former and less of the latter.
I was mulling over what has gone right and why. I think some of the factors that have helped KBS CFO thrive during this difficult time can benefit other businesses.
Preparing for Change
Over the last three years KBS CFO has migrated a number of our clients from Quickbooks to an accounting platform that is more robust and better suited to their needs. We didn’t have to do it; it was a big investment; we could have muddled through with the previous system and ignored the inefficiencies and reporting deficiencies. But we knew that the new platform would allow our clients to be better poised for growth. We didn’t know that we were also preparing those businesses for a pandemic.
It’s amazing what you can do with the right information at your fingertips. Many companies needed to change direction this year—and quickly. They needed to find ways to reduce spending or renegotiate vendor contracts or decide whether to apply for loans. Making those decisions requires the right information. With the improved software platform, we were able to provide our clients with the data they needed to help their businesses thrive.
Obviously a good accounting platform is beneficial in many different ways. KBS CFO set up failsafes and procedures to help clients guard against fraud. This came in handy this year when we prevented one client from having a fraudulent check written on their account.
This year has also shown that businesses need to be prepared to pivot. KBS CFO’s 2020 marketing strategy depended on attending conferences that didn’t happen or went virtual, preventing the chances for networking chances we had anticipated. However, we were able to partner with industry organizations and take advantage of virtual education and podcast opportunities that might not have materialized without the pandemic. More than any other year, 2020 has rewarded being nimble and flexible.
Trusted Advisor Transformation
There’s a new term in CPA land. Instead of SaaS (Software as a Service) there is CaaS–Client Advisory and Accounting Services. In most years, there are some clients who regularly appreciate the accounting services that KBS CFO provides and are less in need of any advisory services (or don’t give it much thought). This year was a big turning point. ALL of our clients were in need of guidance and advice, and we were so thrilled to be there for them. We are also proud to say that all of our clients who met the requirements for the Paycheck Protection Program (including women-owned businesses) received funds from it.
The Future is Virtual
Since our founding in 2004, KBS CFO has been a 100% virtual company. This allows us to hire the best employees—from all over the country—and save on expenses like office space. A flexible schedule and being able to work from home are big draws for top-notch talent.
When Covid-19 struck, other businesses were trying to understand Zoom and set up virtual workflow solutions–while KBS CFO was able to do business as usual. In fact, I was tapped by the American Institute of CPAs to author and present webcasts on the virtual CFO service model that have now been viewed by over 1,000 fellow AICPA members.
In a post-Covid era it’s likely that many workplaces will remain mostly virtual–or at least a hybrid combination of virtual and in-person. Employees have grown accustomed to working from home and nobody misses commuting. So knowing how to optimize virtual tools isn’t a matter of keeping up with a passing fad. Increasingly it’s the ordinary way of doing business.
Plenty of businesses have taken advantage of the virtualization of work and commerce. The internet is full of stories about companies that are surviving by adding a new revenue stream through turning to e-commerce or putting videos on YouTube. There’s every reason to think this demand will continue after the threat of Covid has faded; everyone is used to doing business online. Now is a good time to examine whether you are making the most of your virtual opportunities.
This year has taught us a lot beyond the importance of washing our hands and investing in Zoom stock. I’ve learned that investing in the future always pays off—even if it’s not in ways we anticipate. As we head into 2021 with the hope that it will be a better year, we should think about what we can do now to position ourselves for success in the future.
We’d like to help you prepare for the future! Contact KBS CFO and learn how we can help you.