How can businesses protect themselves in case the market turns against them? What’s the key to surviving – and thriving – in difficult times? There are all sorts of dangers ahead for business – sometimes they are simply a case of David versus Goliath. As case in point, Woolworths is planning to stretch out payments to most of its food and grocery suppliers to 60 days; this could be devastating for a small business which is under-capitalised (as most are).

Be prepared

Business-minded bookkeepers will be attuned to the role they can play with their SMBs. But to build out on the role, they will need to done their own preparation for the rainy day.

Business owners are worried about cash flow problems and having adequate finances in place. The rainy day is never far away and an event like the Woollies storm can hit hard.

Business owners want visibility on how their business is performing. That could be looking at the cash balance or the debtors’ balance, or the value of next week’s orders. Or it could be a more complex ‘dashboard’ of key performance indicators. The closer to real time data the better for the owner.

New market realities like the Woollies scenario can derail a business strategy. Cash is the lifeblood of any business and when it stops flowing due to slower collection a business could find themselves in trouble.

Efficiency dividends

A business owner knows their landscape; if the trusted advisor is to be useful beyond the compliance ‘stuff’ then they had better do some homework. Be smart about their client’s industry. Learn everything you can about that space. Read trade journals, and follow industry developments. With productivity enhancing accounting software now fully embraced, the bookkeeper has huge potential efficiency dividends to ‘play’ with.

An efficiency dividend (more time) can be applied to:
• Winning more clients
• Offering higher-value services and advice

With more time she can demonstrate her knowledge and her commitment to be that trusted advisor when working together and that approach will enhance the business relationship.
Being prepared is not a catch-cry for business owners alone; If you can make the leap to ‘cloud-ify’ your own firm, and your client’s business processes, you’ll gain incredible leverage in your ability to reclaim, nurture, and thrive as your client’s most trusted advisor.