Julia Forrester from TaxAssist Accountants based in Ilkley spoke to Ian Oliver, manager at our Ilkley branch.

From 20th March Julia and her teams shut their offices and worked from home.

“We were lucky really because we were able to adapt quickly to lockdown as all of our systems are cloud based and everyone was able to take their laptop home and work remotely so we could continue to offer a service to our clients” said Julia who, along with her husband David, has two other offices in Keighley and Bingley.

The first thing that TaxAssist did when lockdown occurred was contact their clients to check that they were ok and to offer support and reassurance. Some were worried that they wouldn’t be able to survive lockdown and needed someone to talk through their options with and others were given advice on such things as cash flow.

The biggest challenge faced by Julia and her team has been keeping up to speed with the different schemes as they have been announced by the government so that they in turn are able to answer the queries they receive from their clients.

Firstly there was the announcement about grants for small businesses, which affected a high proportion of their clients.

Secondly the furlough scheme was announced. TaxAssist have more than 200 clients who they provide a payroll service for and so they had to deal with furlough payments for these clients.

Thirdly, there was the announcement about grants for the self-employed and so they contacted all their clients that fell into this category to help them to determine if they were eligible for the grants and then ran through the application process with them.

Post-lockdown and since the schools re-opened in September the team are back in the office. They are still conducting client meetings by Microsoft Teams or Zoom but they are open should clients need to drop off documentation.

“For me, the most important thing has been making sure we are there for our clients, offering advice and reassurance during these uncertain” times. The situation with regard to grants and furlough schemes continues to change and we continue to ensure we keep abreast of the changes so that we can offer the best advice” said Julia.

Thank you to Heidi Marfitt Photography for the photo in TaxAssist’s Ilkley office and  Soul & Co Photography for the photo of Julia outside the office in Ilkley.