Accountants become unofficial counsellors during COVID-19 crisis

Ben Carter has been working hard during the pandemic. Photo: Megan Dunn.
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While accountants dish out financial advice daily, a survey has found that during the Coronavirus pandemic they added counselling to their list of services.

The new QuickBooks COVID-19 Recovery Research conducted by YouGov found that more than a quarter of small business owners turned to their financial advisors for emotional support at the height of the pandemic.

With more than 500 small business owners with fewer than 10 employees participating in the survey, almost one in four people admitted they would have struggled to manage the impacts of COVID-19 had it not been for the support of their accountant or bookkeeper.

Carter’s Tax Advisory Director and Founder, Ben Carter said they provided support to both local individuals and small business owners as they navigated the effects of the pandemic.

“Before JobKeeper was introduced we had clients losing their jobs who we were advising on Superannuation and then when stimulus was introduced, we guided them to what they could apply for,” he said.

“Though we aren’t usually the people who provide that emotional support we did have several people break down in meetings in the earlier stages who we had to help comfort.”

While it was an unprecedented time for the experts, Mr Carter said his team stepped up to the challenge to see positive results.

“Our team enjoyed the new challenge and got onto researching early so we could give quick, sound advice and interpret the information that was being delivered to people so they could make decisions,” he said.

“By providing that support we got to see the positive impacts on the other side with businesses reinventing themselves and actually doing better than before.”

With the future still uncertain due to COVID-19 and recent outbreaks, Mr Carter said people should turn to financial advisors to be prepared.

“Personally, I think further stimulus methods, or an extension of JobKeeper may be put in place but, if it does stop, people need to be prepared,” he said.

“It has been a testing time since March, and it certainly isn’t over so having a good proactive plan could be beneficial to help alleviate the emotional stress associated with finances.”

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