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London President announces support initiative

Nathan Steinberg, President of the London Society of Chartered Accountants, announces that the LSCA will be facilitating the collaboration of local firms to ensure that all clients are effectively serviced.


May 2020

At the time of drafting this article, we have just gone through a Lockdown Easter weekend. For those of you who are lucky enough to have gardens, I trust you are getting used to the sound of birds throughout the day. For those who are living in flats, I have every sympathy - it cannot be much fun.

In my previous article, I referred to the need for “Positive Energy” and this is still key.

Although London is virtually shut-down, people are generally getting used to working remotely. I see examples of this with the ICAEW staff who are still functioning effectively and within my own firm, Kreston Reeves, whose staff have similarly adapted to the needs of our clients to continue to service them.

The comments that I have heard stress that whilst it is nice not to have to spend time commuting, people miss the social interaction of an office atmosphere. After all, we are social animals.

That said, my personal view is that previous office life will change permanently when we emerge from the current crisis. I would predict that businesses will use technology to work remotely far more than before. Firms will maintain a small infrastructure in London with hot-desks whilst the majority of staff working remotely. The indirect result of this will be that the demand for London office space reduces dramatically.

My view is that the empty space will be converted into residential units, so changing the London Housing issue, but also greatly effecting the London Commercial property market. Those who are agile will survive. I would emphasise that these are my personal opinions and not those of LSCA, ICAEW or my firm as they could be considered radical.

Having merged my practice 3 years ago, I no longer have the responsibility of running a company and have every sympathy to those members who are still running practices as well as the partners who have their livelihood at risk. It is no secret that partners drawings have been cut in many firms.

Whilst many firms have the technological systems in place to be able to continue to work effectively, I have concerns for those firms who, for various reasons, do not have the systems in place or who are having financial problems.

For this reason I and Victoria Andrew, the incoming LSCA president, believe it is appropriate for the London Society to mount a support initiative which will promote collaboration between smaller and larger firms to ensure that all clients can continue to be serviced effectively. This is necessary as it is now clear that the lock-down will continue for a considerably longer period than originally anticipated. If you are working in a firm that you believe would benefit from connecting with another firm, large or small, please visit our London LinkedIn Group here where you will be able to register your interest.

In the meantime, be safe.

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