Since the beginning of March, businesses across Manila, the Philippines and throughout the world have experienced significant and unexpected changes at both a macroeconomic and microeconomic level.
At the start of this year, not many could have envisaged these circumstances arising.
From startups to SMEs to larger corporates, every business has had to adapt their processes and operations to this new economic reality.
So we have outlined below some practical measures that companies in the Philippines can take to help ensure continuity of business operations during COVID-19.
1. Remote Working
Many businesses in the Philippines have now moved to a work from home arrangement. This transition, particularly where there is limited time for planning, does not come without its challenges.
These are just some actions that businesses can take to successfully transition to a remote working arrangement and also help to ensure continuity of operations:
Processes. Implementing robust processes at the very early stages of moving to a work from home arrangement is critical for a company’s transition. Processes can be designed and implemented through a combination of process management software, time-keeping solutions, workflow controls and regular team/management engagements. At CloudCfo, we have always been intensely process-driven, both externally when working with clients and across our internal operations. A focus on robust processes has really helped the CloudCfo team to maintain service levels while working from home.
Communication. Constant communication during a time when people are working in various locations is critical. With the range of online applications available to the market, there is little excuse for communication issues arising – either internally within a company or between clients. Platforms such as Zoom, Slack, Whatsapp, Asana and Google Meet are readily available and competitively priced. Leveraging this technology can really help ensure that internal teams (and management) remain as connected and as collaborative as ever.
Connectivity/Internet. When teams are working outside the office, a contingency plan for internet/connectivity issues is strongly advised. Through proactive engagement with staff and strategic planning, companies have a range of options when it comes to connectivity contingency measures including USB dongles, pocket-wifi enablers and load top-ups/load transfers. Making such arrangements is a key element of ensuring that the company can stay connected at all times.
Onboarding. Notwithstanding the current economic circumstances, many companies are continuing to onboard staff at this time. While cashflow management is obviously key, companies also need to ensure they have the right people in place to perform the expected level of work for the company and its clients. Onboarding staff when the physical office is closed gives rise to a range of logistical issues, including work station set-ups, laptop orders and deliveries, printing of ID cards and not to mention, developing relationships with new colleagues and team members! The HR and Administration Functions of the company need to put in place robust processes for ensuring that staff can be onboarded as smoothly and as efficiently as possible.
2. Client Engagement
In the current business climate, it’s more important than ever to ensure that client needs are satisfied and that service quality is maintained.
Companies providing a service or selling a product should, at a minimum, consider the following actions for supporting clients at this time:
- Proactively engage with clients – first and foremost;
- Listen to the type of support that clients require. Client needs are likely to have changed significantly in recent weeks.
- Understand the issues that clients are facing – from both an operational and financial perspective.
- Offer customized strategic guidance on areas or pain points where clients really need advice.
- Seek to maintain service levels as a key priority. It’s incredibly important to be there for clients when clients need us the most.
3. Cloud Accounting Solutions and Technology
The CloudCfo philosophy has always been that the future of accounting, bookkeeping and finance services is through technology. This has become more likely than ever in previous weeks as, with limitations on movement, businesses can pivot towards online solutions in order to manage their finance function.
So how does leveraging cloud accounting ensure that companies can continue to manage and monitor their finance function as effectively as possible?
- Monitor finances – As all financial data will be maintained online, companies can continue to monitor and manage their finances with no interruption to regular operations. A number of the real benefits of using cloud accounting can be seen in our recent article.
- No need for physical documents – Companies can securely access all relevant financial data at the click of a button. During the transition to the new business environment, companies using cloud accounting would not have had to transfer physical documents or search through filing cabinets for historic records. Everything would have been stored safely and securely online!
- Collaboration – Cloud accounting solutions are efficient transparent solutions that enable real-time collaboration. Even though an internal finance team is working from home, they can continue to ensure full collaboration across all tasks including accounting and bookkeeping, financial reporting, payroll, tax compliance, budgets and forecasting!
- Compute and File Taxes Online – Companies can continue to adhere to their tax compliance obligations through online tax filing! See below.
- Audits – While the BIR has extended the deadline dates for submission of the annual financial statement in 2020, CloudCfo is continuing to work with companies who wish to progress with the audit process. As we use cloud accounting solutions across all of our services, auditors can easily access the relevant financial information that they need to continue the audit process.
CloudCfo uses cloud accounting software and online tech solutions across all of our service offerings. This is just one way in which we differentiate ourselves from the traditional accounting firms in Manila and the Philippines.
4. Online Tax Filings
Many companies are now working from home. The physical BIR offices are closed. However, companies can still complete their tax filings online, ensure compliance and perform proper cashflow management!
How? Through the BIR’s online Electronic Filing and Payment System, otherwise known as eFPS!
We help our clients register their business under eFPS. This is an efficient and effective way to file taxes remotely. No need to leave the office or have an employee stand in line at the BIR! Our recent article outlines the various methods by which companies in the Philippines can file their taxes remotely.
For businesses in the Philippines, registration for eFPS is now more important than ever. For companies that are not registered under eFPS, start considering registration without delay!
5. Online Banking
Now is also a good time for companies to review their existing banking facilities and understand the various steps they can take to really optimize the use of online banking. During COVID-19, online banking solutions are really helping startups and SMEs in the Philippines to manage cash flow, pay employees, pay vendors and engage with their bank.
So, speak to your bank representative. Review your existing banking facilities. Explore how you can optimize the various functions. This is a critical step in making your company’s finance function as efficient as possible.
6. Keep your Community Updated
Whatever industry or sector your business is operating in, your community (particularly your clients) appreciate being informed of key updates that might affect their business or operations. It is a way to help clients and the market navigate their way through this current crisis.
This can be a very important activity during this time as it provides a value-added service for clients as well as keeping the staff in your own company updated and informed about what is going on.
That’s why CloudCfo created the COVID-19 Information Resource. While the BIR, the SEC and DOLE are releasing regular updates and memoranda on alternative arrangements across the compliance framework of the Philippines, it can sometimes be difficult to navigate for founders and CEOs who may not be au fait with accounting, bookkeeping or compliance in the country.
At the same time, our team also benefits from receiving informative updates from our clients, our vendors and the rest of our community.
7. Strategic Planning
Owners, founders, CEOs, CFOs and managers across the Philippines are now spending large parts of their day managing finances. Reviewing budgets and forecasts, closely monitoring cash flow, managing recruitment and making adjustments for sales and business growth are just some of the activities that require greater consideration than ever before.
At the same time, however, some companies are taking actions to look towards the future and the light at the end of the tunnel as we approach the end of ECQ and move towards the new “business normal”.
Whether or not companies are in a position to start strategizing and planning for the future will depend on their business model, industry, sector, funding, stage in the business cycle and other business factors.
Some companies are now, however, exploring new commercial strategies, potential new additions to existing service offerings, strategic hires as well as focusing on the development of their product line – both tech and physical products.
CloudCfo performs all of its services through cloud accounting solutions and smart technology. The use of technology has enabled us to continue full operations since the start of COVID-19.
If you are running a startup or SME in the Philippines and are seeking a partner to help you manage and optimize your finance function, contact our team directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can also visit our website to Contact Us.