The coronavirus pandemic will push firms to overhaul their business plan, a survey has found, with more than half of respondents already planning a major change in strategy.
The lockdown poll of more than 100 law firms found that 59% will use this opportunity to look again at how they use technology and review their specialisms.
The nature of work will likely change as well, with 63% of firms surveyed saying they found the transition to home working during the pandemic ‘easy’ or ‘very easy’, and 81% saying they expect staff to work part of the week from home in future.
The survey was carried out by MHA, a UK-wide association of independent accountants and business advisors. Karen Hain, head of the professional practices team at MHA, said some firms are already seeing Covid-19 as a catalyst for modernising their business and ensuring longer-term financial stability.
‘When it comes to business strategy, many firms have been telling us that the pandemic has encouraged them to take action to remove high-risk areas of work and to change their focus from increasing fee income to increasing profitability,’ said Hain.
‘There’s clearly a huge opportunity around staff recruitment and retention due to the agile working practices we’ve all become used to in a very short space of time.’
While firms may be eager to look ahead to the future, they may struggle to deal with the short-term cashflow issues caused by areas of work coming to a near standstill.
The survey also showed that 85% of firms said the pandemic would have a ‘moderate’ or ‘major’ impact on fee income. Almost one in five of respondents have seen fees drop by more than 30%.
The vast majority (87%) of firms have made use of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to furlough employees, but that option will be closed in October when the scheme ends. Almost a third of firms have also had to access the government’s coronavirus business interruption loan scheme to date.
With finances stretched, 40% said they are changing their plans to focus on credit control and tightening up requests for advance payments on account from clients.
*The Law Society is keeping the coronavirus situation under review and monitoring the advice it receives from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Public Health England.