Submitted by Sestini & Co
| on Wed, 10/02/2013 - 20:29 | In Uncategorized
“But what if anything happened to you, my dear?” Echos of a phone call the other day, and not the first along these lines. My clients on the whole are delightful, caring individuals, but this question and others like it were not posed entirely with my welfare in mind.
The key question was, as a business owner and service provider, what would happen to them, their tax returns, accounts, their records etc, if I suddenly disappeared.
Having always worked for large organisations this precise question had never come up before I started my own business. As it happens, I had an answer to hand as the Chartered Institute of Tax requires that sole practitioners have someone lined up who can take over in the event of a sudden disaster, to ensure that clients are looked after without an extended break in service, to avoid late filing of tax returns and other documents.
The question is a reminder though, that just having someone available to take over isn’t enough: records need to be well-organised, accessible and in a form that can easily be understood by someone picking the file up for the first time. So maybe those handwritten notes do need to be typed up unless they are more legible than my usual scrawl. Passwords to secure client file storage need to be kept safe but available to those who need to know. Any changes to the system need to be communicated in a timely fashion. Processes, and possibly more so, exceptions to those processes need to be documented.
In essence, even a one-man-band needs to work like a bigger organisation, in conducting day to day business in such a way that someone else could step in and replicate the service being provided.
This may extend to financial measures such as income protection and key man insurance to ensure the money is there to fulfil the obligations of the business. And it should include a shareholders’ agreement and/or will and lasting power of attorney to ensure that someone has the authority to deal with the business in the event of a disaster, rather than leaving clients adrift.
Not cheerful thoughts for an autumn evening, but how much better to know that you and your business are prepared and that you can provide this reassurance to your clients, who after all, are the ones keeping you in business right now.
If you would like assistance in disaster-proofing your business, do contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org