Tax planning in the time of Covid-19: 3 questions you should be asking your clients

Apr 6, 2020

Things have definitely changed in the world since we originally planned this blog post – but even in the face of this global pandemic, time keeps ticking, and it’s never been more important for those in the accounting industry to maintain their connection with clients. With the raft of stimulus and government support packages released so far, no doubt you have already been in contact with your clients perhaps more than usual over the past month.

If you’re yet to check in, now is the time! And once you’ve covered off on how to navigate any relevant government support, here are three other things you should be talking about. 

  1. How’s it going? This might seem obvious given the current climate, but Coronavirus or not, it’s a question you should be asking every time you touch base with your clients. Particularly as we are all facing some level of isolation, simply asking “are you ok” can go a long way to creating a meaningful connection with your clients and let them know you’re here for them during this time. If they are facing business or personal struggles, or even having to adjust to a new way of working, they might not have had much of an opportunity to talk about how the current situation is affecting them and a simple check in will likely mean a lot.
  2. What does the future look like? Keep the conversation going by getting a gauge on how your client’s situation may have changed, or if it will change in the future. You might uncover a need to revisit or start estate planning activities, perhaps identify an opportunity for a cross referral to your affiliated financial planner, or you may have additional services that are now relevant to assist the client.
  3. What’s one new thing you might explore? In any other year, this is a great question to ask during tax planning to prompt your business clients in particular to consider as a new financial year approaches: what will they change or do differently in their business, or is there something in their personal life they’d like to explore or learn (E.G. a new hobby). This year, it’s a great opportunity to talk about how they have (or plan to) pivoted their business, and check in on what they’ve learnt as this crisis has unfolded. It’s also a great opportunity for you to share your experience with the client and engage in a deeper conversation.

While some of these subjects might not be the usual conversation topics, and they’re certainly not technical in nature, they’re designed to help engage in authentic conversation that will strengthen your client relationships. Now, more than ever, it’s never been more important to step up as trusted advisors and ensure clients know you’re in their corner during this tumultuous time.

Of course, these are unprecedented times – and it’s entirely possible you may not even have thought about starting tax planning talks with the raft of other things happening. If you’re struggling to find the time and space to have these conversations while juggling your remote team, working from home and keeping your kids entertained, feel free to reach out to us to chat about how we can help you automate and digitise key business processes to free you up for what is most important.

If there is anything we can do to support your team and practice during this time, don’t hesitate to reach out, click here for details on how to contact us.

Do more with your time, automate your ATO document processing with ATOmate. Find out more about ATOmate and register for an online discovery session here – www.atomate.com.au