I have been working from home for almost two weeks now – this is the new front line in accountancy.

The government has told us that we must work from home wherever possible and so by far the majority of the partners and staff at Lambert Chapman LLP have moved into their front rooms, bedrooms, studies and anywhere else they can perch their computer (sometimes on their laps sitting on the family sofa).  We have had to move our IT equipment, office chairs for people with bad backs (including my wife, so now I have a bad back to match), stationery and all the accessories needed to prepare accounts.

I am having to learn fast and communicate in different ways.  To see the team on a screen and have virtual meetings does work, but I do miss their actual physical presence in one building.  I am sure I will adjust – I have to!

Usually this time of year we are very busy carrying out pre-fiscal year-end tax planning.  However, when speaking to clients the subject inevitably turns to the effects of the COVID-19 virus.  Understandably, they want to know what support is available, how they can get it and if we can help.  Please take a look and use our COVID-19 content hub on the website which is full of useful information.

The members of our team who are the heroines (am I still allowed to say that?) of the hour and under the most strain are our payroll team.  For them it is already the busiest time of year with all the end of year returns to be made and now they must deal with furloughing.  Firstly, they need to understand the new rules (which changed regularly at the beginning of their introduction) then explain it to our clients, take instruction in many and various forms of delivery and finally process the payroll.  The real problems come when instructions change in reaction to the unfurling events, for example manually calculating furlough amounts, dealing with redundancy and reversing this when requested, re-running payrolls as amounts change, etc…

We must all bear with each other in these difficult times and draw on our reserves of stoicism to get us through and out the other side.

I look forward to going back to work in my office one day soon – I didn’t think I would ever be saying that!

The views expressed in this article are the personal views of the Author and other professionals may express different views. They may not be the views of Lambert Chapman LLP. The material in the article cannot and should not be considered as exhaustive. Professional advice should be sought in connection with any of the issues contained in the article and the implementation of any actions.

Lambert Chapman Chartered Accountants

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