Learn the lessons of the pandemic and plan for the unexpected

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Businesses emerging from the uncertainty of the Covid 19 era should be taking the opportunity to re-assess their working practices as they look to the future says a Sheffield financial expert.

Stephen Beverley, of the Sheffield office of insolvency practitioners Graywoods Leonard Curtis, says there has never been a better time to look at the way companies are operating.

“Just because something has always worked and it has helped you to make money in the past doesn’t mean it will continue to do so in the future,” he said.

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“I have recently been dealing with a company where everybody had been working there for 30 years, everybody had their own way of doing things and although that seemed to have worked very well over those three decades and it appeared to still be functioning and making money, the reality was that the business had not moved with the times.

Stephen Beverley of Graywoods Leonard CurtisStephen Beverley of Graywoods Leonard Curtis
Stephen Beverley of Graywoods Leonard Curtis

“The problem, which is a very common one, is that as long as they were making money, they were not identifying any underlying problems.

“They could see revenue falling but they didn’t care as long as they were making enough to keep paying salaries and creditors.”

It is at this point, Stephen explained, that directors should at least begin to question and assess their plans for the future.

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“If the pandemic taught us anything, it was that secure businesses have to be prepared and have to run a tight ship rather than simply coasting along,” he said.

“If you are not planning for growth, though, and revenues remain static, you might quickly discover that simply having enough to get along might no longer be sufficient in a climate where overheads are increasing all the time.

“It’s important to be aware of the bigger picture, to appreciate how the economic climate is changing and then reacting accordingly.

“It’s not about greed or wanting more - it’s about surviving in a challenging environment.

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“Now that we have moved on from the pandemic, it should be easier to see how a business is doing and also to understand that while there might not be a problem now, there could be one in the future.

“They need to ask if there is enough money in the business to guarantee financial resilience.

“We should all have learnt the lessons of Covid, by planning for the unexpected and not going back to the old ways and saying things will be okay so long as everything plods along.”

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