July has always been my favorite month. When July begins, there’s still an endless sea of summer ahead, the days are long, the fireflies twinkle in the evening, and the air is warm. Even when July ends, the dog days of August are still waiting to be experienced. Life just seems easier when it’s summer. [For any of you from the Southern Hemisphere who are reading this, you know what I mean, you’re just six months away from it right now.]
Normally I’m scheduling the minutia of my life at least a year in advance. But beyond the events and plans I actually place on my calendar, I carry with me a clear idea of where I’m going in life and how I’m going to get there. Obstacles may redirect me but they don’t deter me. I can take a detour but I stay on the right track.
But this year, this COVID year, is so different from all the rest. Not just because of everything that is going on right now in the world around us, and not because it seems like the year we were anticipating hasn’t even really started yet, but because the future has become blurred. When you can’t see beyond what is right in front of you, it tends to make future planning almost impossible. It’s like suddenly you’re in a cave and the exit has been blocked, your light has burned out, and you don’t even know where the exit is supposed to be, let alone how to get there or how to move that thing that is blocking you.
When we think about our clients and how they might be trying to survive during the pandemic, we can help them navigate the here and now, but preparing them for the future, when that future is so uncertain, is a difficult endeavor. One of the most significant services we can offer right now is Client Accounting Services (CAS), or Client Accounting and Advisory Services, (CAAS), depending on how you want to name this (see Randy Johnston’s column on page 6, and also our lead article from CPA.com on page 5). In addition, you’ll want to pay special attention to our small business accounting system reviews, beginning on page 8, as you might find yourself needing to provide more than you have done in the past in the way of analytics, dashboards, and forecasting.
By helping our clients see where they are today, when all around them the world might seem bleak and the way to the future might be blocked or impossible to see, we can provide real-time visualizations of how their business is faring, where their strengths and weaknesses lie, and we can help prepare them for that unknown future that is awaiting them. Now perhaps more than ever our clients need a partner, one with a guiding light, to prepare them for whatever next stages of their business await them, to help them spot the changes that are occurring around us, understand how those changes impact them, and analyze the opportunities and alternative courses of action that will inevitably appear.
The value to your clients of having someone by their side, letting them know they are not heading down this uncertain path alone, is priceless, but you might want to reconsider just how you’ve been pricing your value with the help of Jason Lawhorn’s article (www.cpapracticeadvisor.com/21141747). Try not to lose sight of the bigger picture. You and your clients might have put your future plans on hold, but at least we’re all here, we’re together, building experiences we didn’t anticipate, and trying our best to help one another. Someday this point in time will be in our rearview mirrors, and when that happens, your clients will remember you as someone who made a difference.
See inside July 2020
Do You Have a Clear CAAS Vision?
CAAS stands for Client Accounting and Advisory Services. It may be too late for the profession to choose to use this far better name. One of the regrets that I have from the last 35+ years of trying to help CPA firms ...