While other businesses are struggling during lockdown, VA Consulting – formed in 2017 by Mulondi Nthulana and Ndivhuwo Nedoboni – recorded its highest-ever revenue over this period.
In fact, revenue over the last six months is the highest in the company’s history.
So, how exactly did it achieve this?
Nthulana, a member of the SA Institute of Business Accountants (Saiba), explains that one of the critical ingredients of success was to increase marketing and advertising budgets – which was relatively easy given the lower travel and other costs brought about by the lockdown. While other companies are concentrating on servicing their existing clients, VA Consulting has been signing up new ones at a record rate.
Secondly, the company realised that many small businesses have been left in desperate straits as a result of the lockdown, so it focused its energies on understanding the intricacies of assisting clients apply for UIF and financial relief packages for small businesses.
VA Consulting has a total of five trainees and two partners (seven in total) . “Each one of us has a laptop and a wi-fi rooter which has made it possible for us to work from home during the lockdown,” says Nthulana. “Our office line is hosted on a VOIP (Voince over internet protocol) system which makes it possible for everyone to make calls without having to load airtime.
“The government, in partnership with other private organisations, has set up relief packages for SMEs and informal businesses who have been negatively impacted by the lockdown. Compliance is central to the overall application process. We familiarised ourselves with the application processes and requirements of the relief funds and we have been able to act as a bridge between the businesses and the funding houses. We have not only been able to help our current clients remain business but we have managed to assist new businesses with their applications.”
VA Consulting’s bread and butter is offering accounting, taxation, auditing and company secretarial services, but realised it needed to rapidly expand its service offering to include support for small business seeking financial relief during lockdown. It partnered with a UIF (Unemployment Insurance Fund) specialist company which handles the application process, while VA Consulting does the compliance.
What’s impressive about this story is that VA Consulting expects to emerge from the Covid-19 crisis with more clients than when it started. “We definitely see future revenue streams growing once we are out of the lockdown because of the number of new customers we have signed up over the last few weeks,” says Nthulana.
And clients are more than happy to have someone holding their hands during these difficult times. “They need someone to reassure them that there is light at the end of tunnel, and we are there to guide them through this and back onto their feet.”
For other accounting firms looking to emulate this example, Nthulana has some words of advice.
“We have managed to get high rates of responses on our social media campaigns because of the following reasons:
1. We increased our marketing and advertising budget, which we could do because we cut travel and other costs, and this was critical in bringing our firm to the attention of many new clients.
2. We focused on advertising services that are relevant to small businesses during the lockdown, such as assistance with various relief fund applications.
3. We expanded our service offeringby focusing intensively on offering assistance to companies in applying for SME financial relief.”
Though the majority of the company’s clients are SMEs, some of its larger clients include the Department of Basic Education, the National Youth Development Agency, Galito’s Flame Grilled Chicken and Afribiz Invest.
You can reach Mulondi Nthulana at: firstname.lastname@example.org.