The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the lives of people in the UK as well as around the world. And as life and businesses start to get back slowly and gradually, there seem to be signs of new normal.
‘Life after the pandemic’ has already started adapting to the new norms where technology has a huge role to play. Owing to the lockdown restrictions many businesses are already fully functional via digitalization and many are slowly restructuring their existing business model to adapt to the changes.
Here we will be discussing how life, in general, will be after the pandemic and move onto discuss how businesses (mostly Accounting services) are going to rise against the damages already done by the pandemic.
Life After Pandemic
Face Masks becoming everyday essentials
People have already started to adapt to the new norms as the empty streets are now seeing people walking in N95 or surgical masks. And for good reasons, this will continue as people have realised it the hard way how important personal health and hygiene is. Even the UK government and the WHO is recommending facemasks in public places.
Social Distancing is here to stay for a while
As the UK economy starts to get back, social distancing will continue to be followed since it is one way to curb the outbreak. The idea of “social bubbles” is on the rise in the UK along with Belgium which is a restricted form of face-to-face contact – while the vaccine for the virus is being developed.
A social bubble restricts people to have contact with a restricted number of people(inside a bubble), thereby preventing the spread of the virus outside the bubble in case one tests positive.
Work from home culture
While getting late for the office used to be an issue for many, the ongoing pandemic has transformed how people used to work and now logging in for the online morning meet will continue to be a priority for many. Work from home culture has saved many businesses and employees from hitting the bottom. Individuals and businesses have gotten used to the work from home culture and will continue to be the new norm.
Focus on boosting personal immunity and hygiene
Even though major economies are working hard towards finding a possible vaccine for the COVID-19, the only silver lining until now has been strong individual immunity and personal hygiene. And the fear that the outbreak has instilled will keep individuals motivated to focus on boosting personal immunity and practising healthy hygiene like washing hands after coming from outside or meeting someone.
Outreach and Communication
During the pandemic, outreaching and communication have been the key for businesses to survive and Accounting services have been no different as social media outreach to land new clients and communication via conferencing apps like Zoom, Google Meet, etc to help the existing clients has proved to be a silver lining for both clients and service providers.
Considering the benefits of outreach and communication without being physically present at a place has long been overlooked by businesses but it will no more be the case as the pandemic has taught us once again why change and adaptability is the key to human survival.
Rising need for Cloud-Based Accounting and SaaS-based compliance solutions
Amidst the pandemic when lockdown restrictions forced the business to be closed, technology has emerged as the saviour for businesses. For Accounting firms, Cloud Accounting and Saas based compliance solutions have helped them through these tough times.
While stats already suggest that “58 per cent of large companies are utilizing cloud accounting services, and by 2020, it is projected that 78 per cent of small businesses will be relying solely on cloud technology”, the lockdown restrictions have triggered the rise of cloud accounting due to the number of benefits it offers. Some of these are:
- Accessible from anywhere
- Easy to use and maintain data
- Multi-layer data encryption and security
- Cloud-based software like Xero, QuickBooks Online, Intacct, etc offer full accounting software functionalities in a secure environment
Virtual Bookkeeping and Accounting
Following up on the above points, technology, communication and the current scenario has proved to the world that working from remote locations effectively, is the future. And the same goes for Accounting and Bookkeeping services as many firms successfully switched over to offering services to their clients virtually during these tough times. And the work from home necessity has changed how Accounting and Bookkeeping used to be 3-4 months back.
Organizing client meetings and group discussions via video chat apps, and switching over to cloud-based accounting software is transforming the industry which will be the new ‘life after pandemic’ for accounting firms.
‘30 per cent of small businesses place accountants at the top of their list of trusted advisors (ICAS)’, ‘70 per cent of small-business accountants see their advisory roles becoming more strategic (PayPie)’ and these stats are getting better as the Coronavirus outbreak has made businesses realise how crucial an Accountants financial knowledge can be during tough times when cash flow management and other financial reporting and needs are the only things that can save a business. And this change will continue to dominate the Accounting sector.
Mergers and Acquisitions
While many firms have lost wealth and find themselves in tough spots, many firms have made it through the pandemic pretty well. And as successful firms look for new opportunities to grow by offering more services and leveraging better technologies, many mergers and acquisitions of small firms will be seen. Smaller firms and businesses that can’t make it through due to their ceasing client base or difficulty adapting to the new norms will be looking forward to being bought by larger firms either for protection or for a complete takeover.
Ups and downs are a part of our lives and what matters is what the hard times taught us and how well we adapted. And the coronavirus outbreak has been no different as it has taught us many things.
While humans have learnt a lot from the pandemic, businesses have learnt even more and adapted accordingly to survive through these tough times. If we talk about ‘life after pandemic’, it is going to be way too different as it used to be before the pandemic. Above was just a short glimpse into what’s going to change post-pandemic.