The vaccine programme is now well underway and we are seeing restrictions beginning to ease but it’s incredible to think that it’s almost exactly a year since life completely changed due to the pandemic.
It was March 23rd 2020 when Boris Johnson put the UK into full lockdown to try to limit the spread. Little did we know at that stage how long this would last, that there would be further lockdowns ahead and the impact they would have on businesses.
At the IAB we quickly took action to ensure we could work from home and to continue to provide the best service and support to our members.
With our members working from home too, we launched virtual coffee mornings to help support our members and, in turn, help our members to support their clients. The fortnightly coffee mornings have been incredibly popular and have really grown over the past year. Each one averages around 70 guests, but we’ve had up to 100. It’s an opportunity for bookkeepers to come together and discuss issues and we have offered practical help too with advice on the furlough schemes and grants, as well as marketing advice and social media tips.
We also took this one step further – following feedback we launched our ambassadors programme, where each ambassador hosts a small coffee morning for up to six people on the alternate week to the main one. These have proved very popular and have also provided invaluable feedback to help the IAB know where support is needed. Also, they’ve helped provide not just practical support but also have provided a lifeline of support for many members who work alone.
As well as this we have regularly written about the government support available pointing members to advice and resources.
Our regular Podcast has also been an invaluable resource for those working in bookkeeping and trying to keep up with the changes in regulation.
The whole team at IAB is really proud of being able to offer some help during this strange time that no one could ever have predicted. At the beginning lots of members reported losing clients as people looked to cut costs, but many of them have gained new clients and opportunities during the year. We’ve seen this trend before, during downturns or depressions Bookkeepers often do well, because they are hands on with their clients and can provide invaluable advice and guidance. We are all hoping that as we approach this anniversary of what has been such a difficult year that we can look forward to life returning to a sense of normality, fresh hope and being able to meet in person again.