Since the Chancellor first stood up to announce his support initiatives to counter COVID disruption earlier this year, accountants have had to accommodate almost monthly changes to payroll and other services in order to keep clients best supported by the grants and loans offered.
This has taken its toll.
It’s as if we have had mini-budgets every few weeks. Hopefully, the information we have provided to our clients has lifted the communication of these changes off your shoulders, but the implementation by accountants is, of course, another matter.
Is there a limit to the amount of stress business owners and their advisers can take? The pressure seems unrelenting and the current attempts at selective lock-down to dampen a possible second wave has many of us reaching for our comfort blankets.
There are endless reports of accountants at their wits end, cancelled holidays, reduced family time, bolting together hybrid systems to cope with ever more complex regulation – witness the tangle of calculations necessary to work out furlough scheme payments since the advent of the flexible arrangement from July 2020.
As if this was not enough, HMRC are setting the stage for compliance audits, to check and see if grants have been claimed in error or fraudulently.
The apparent solution to this conundrum is a workable coronavirus vaccine and a gradual return to pre-COVID economic conditions. Unfortunately, this future light at the end of the tunnel does little to ease the present daily pressures that COVID-19 has created for the trypical accountancy practice.
What we need from the Government is a simplification of COVID support such that our battered SMEs and their advisers can draw breath and step down from DEFCON 1 to a more manageable setting.
Otherwise, we may all be too jaded to pick up the baton when conditions ease, hopefully sometime next year.
What do you think?