An interview with Koen Depestel, manager of dnf group
What is the biggest challenge(s) your company has faced since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis?
Since we, as an office, were already highly digital and homeworking was already well established, the adjustment was initially not too bad. The most difficult part was the beginning of the crisis: Can we continue to work at the office, what is the right approach with appointments with clients, etc.? Even before the effective lockdown we decided to strongly encourage homeworking and to do meetings digitally as much as possible. It was of course a practical look to make sure everyone could work comfortably from home (did people need extra screens, keyboards etc. Of course, we also proactively informed our clients about the various support measures that exist and gave them the necessary guidance on cash management. This was very intensive, especially in the first days and weeks.
What are some of the practical changes or initiatives you have taken to limit these challenges?
We were already working digitally so we didn’t need to make huge practical changes. However, we did further encourage the use of tools such as Zoom, Teams and others regarding conference calls, also to customers. This allows meetings to continue to take place easily and efficiently.
What lesson(s) or opportunities have you been able to take from this crisis?
We are very pleased that we have started a digital transformation project for several years now, which means that we can now work independent of time and location without many problems. We have also highlighted the convenience and advantages of working digitally, both internally and to customers who have not yet delivered digitally, in order to further accelerate digitisation.
What are some of the things you as a Silverfin user have been able to do that were not possible before or that took a lot more effort?
The stress-test template, and certainly the cash flow template, has helped a lot in guiding our customers in their short-term cash management. Thanks to this test we were able to advise a number of customers when a critical point would arise, how they could optimise their cash flow.
In addition, we can easily review files and discuss them internally thanks to the various communication functionality within Silverfin. You can add to do lists and comment and collaborate within client filesBeing able to easily share and display information and reports on screen in a customer meeting is also an asset.This has an enormous added value now more than ever.
What advice would you give to other fellow accountants and offices in these uncertain times?
Keep investing, especially in digital transformation. Dare to take those steps. Don't digitise to digitise , but for a clear strategy with clear objectives and start the process of making change. Always keep in mind how each step can improve and facilitate the relationship and cooperation between your office, your clients, yourself and your employees, because that is the ultimate goal. And don't lose sight of the fact that digital should not stand in the way of a good and personal relationship; on the contrary, it can even enhance it. My slogans are "Optimal digital" and "digital is not antisocial".
Here you’ll find information and advice on how Silverfin can help you respond to the challenges represented by COVID-19. We’ll keep you up to date with developments on our platform, training resources and information from other sources.