Kinder Pocock, an award-winning digital accounting firm, works with global clients from their base in Herefordshire. Sharon Pocock started the business in 2005 so she could balance working and caring for her children, and by 2016, she had earned Xero’s MVP award.
Communication is key
Kinder Pocock began a full work from home policy in mid-March. Fortunately, the firm has been cloud-first since 2012, so they didn’t have to make any significant changes. Because of its reliance on cloud technology, the firm is also able to remain in close contact with its clients, as Kinder Pocock prides itself on outstanding client care. “The firm’s focus has been calling clients, listening to their concerns, and arranging action plans with them,” Sharon told us.
The team had the foresight early in the lockdown to virtually get together and prepare. “We began by putting the normal work to one side and getting on the phones to contact everyone,” said Sharon. “We then started making action plans and mapping out worst-case-scenario cash flows with our clients via Zoom,” she continued. The team has also launched a regular webinar series clarifying government financial guidance for clients, as well as setting up a private Facebook group for small businesses to offer both “guidance and a safe place to chat.”
Kinder Pocock also updates its website frequently to ensure that there is somewhere for clients to go to get information. Their Covid-19 support page features need to know material while regular blogs and email updates provide the latest news. “I’ve told clients I’m not apologising for bombarding them with information!” added Sharon.
Positives, silver linings and advice
Sharon has learned a lot about her business and the people she works with. She has always known that her firm was made up of brilliant accountants, but she has been impressed by everybody’s efforts to pull together and step up to help their clients. Sharon says that the whole team has learned that “we’re very flexible and really can work anywhere, anyhow,” which she intends to bear in mind when things settle down. Sharon has also made sure that she’s looking after the wellbeing of her team with daily check-ins, extra days off and surprise gifts as she realises they’re also dealing with this situation.
The crisis has also reaffirmed the importance of doing what they do, Sharon says. “I’ve learnt that I am on a mission to help small businesses to survive and give them as much support as they need.” She continued, “I’ve always wanted to help people, but the need to help right now has overtaken me!”
Sharon tries to focus on the upside of the crisis; it’s a chance to spend more time with the family. She also emphasised the value of leaning on others for mutual support and commiseration. She has a weekly call with her friend Emma Fox from Fresh Financials – a fellow Xero award winner – and regular conversations with Xero bookkeeper Trudie Middleton.
Her advice to other small businesses is to be imaginative when it comes to generating income, trust your team, and prepare for the worst-case scenario. If you’re prepared for that, she says, anything else seems like good news. “Remember to look after yourself,” she adds, “and to look after your team.”
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