Recorded webinar
LIve webinar

Advising clients in troubled times

Changes are happening fast as a result of COVID-19 and economic uncertainty is affecting the accounting industry globally.

Changes are happening fast as a result of COVID-19 and economic uncertainty is affecting the accounting industry globally. Richard Francis (CEO of Spotlight Reporting) is a Chartered Accountant who ran an accounting practice during the GFC and other global shocks such as 9/11.

What's covered in the webinar recording

  • Your pivotal role as an advisor.
  • Strategy and direction—how to deploy now.
  • How to sort out your own business first.
  • A checklist to use immediately.
  • Services that matter the most.
  • Tip around pricing and adding value.
  • Spotlight Reporting's Advisor Hub for support and guidance.


Please take some time to watch this video or share it with someone who's in a position to make a difference–there is a huge amount we can do if the accounting industry pulls together in this challenging and uncertain time.

Industry reaction from other experts

Doug Sleeter, Adviser and Pathfinder:“Be calm. This will pass, and when it does, it will probably leave several scars, but we'll be fine.”

Paul Meissner, 5 Ways Group and Freedom Mentoring: "In good times and bad, clients need their Accountants. You're either helping save money or hide the money. Client relationships are key in a crisis. Practical advice delivered in a personable manner gives crucial reassurance to worried clients."

Viv Brownrigg, The Gap:"If I was still in practice now, I'd be gathering my clients 'together'. Gather them online (webinar) and give them simple survival tips, not just about cashflow, but also about how to stay resilient."

Timothy Munro, ChangeGPS: "Do continuity planning for your own practice first. Maintain your cash 'war chest' and no matter how empathetic you feel, you do still need to charge for your work and get paid up front."

Mike Barnes, Advisor-E: “Draft a 1st, 2nd and 3rd 'defensive line' plan; along with calculating quick position and worst case, the 3 lines plan helps your clients to see the interrelation of their decisions and actions.”

Avril Hillind, Laurenson CA: “You can’t beat a personal conversation. Bulk emails are great to get a message out but your client is going to feel most supported and likely to work with you to the best end result if you pick up the phone and have a chat with them. It is very difficult to convey empathy in an email, it is best done with the human voice. Relationships count.”

Colin Hewitt, FloatApp: “Make sure you proactively reach out to every single client. Ask them how you can be helpful, and arrange a follow-up if necessary. Even if the client is fine, they’ll appreciate the sentiment.”

Paul Gardner, Fresh Accounting, Hong Kong: “Advisory is more important than ever. Believe it or not, some clients and businesses can thrive and grow in uncertain times - it’s OK!  Look also to cloud-based strategies for your firm and for clients. We are now working in the new normal and things won’t get easier anytime soon. Look at how we can embrace best-of-breed technology and software to help ourselves and clients.”

Kristin Harris, CSO, Spotlight Reporting: “At such a difficult economic time it is important to remember why we got into business, and focus on those that we are here to serve and have a responsibility to. If we keep our clients, customers and people at the centre of our purpose we can be really proud of doing meaningful business.”

David New, Practice Ignition (and Spotlight Alumni): “Know the equity you hold, seek better deals on borrowings, renegotiate with your current bank or consider switching to interest only, consider other access to credit you have, check out what may be available through your superannuation… and finally...start a budget and manage spending!”

About the speakers

Richard Francis, CEO, Spotlight Reporting
CA, CEO of Spotlight Reporting, ex-GM of Workpapers for Xero and a Trusted Advisor with over 20 years of advisory experience. As the director of a ‘boutique’ professional practice in Wellington, Richard saw a need to improve analysis and forecasting for his clients. This led to the development

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