Kris Wirk is a partner at the accounting firm Dusanj & Wirk Chartered Professional Accountants Inc. where he provides accounting and taxation services to locally owned businesses, not-for-profits and individuals in Victoria. He is also the current vice chair of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce.
How is Dusanj & Wirk coping right now?
We are doing incredibly well given the challenges that we face. Our team has continued to impress us with their positive, can-do attitude, which has allowed us to continue to effectively work as a team virtually, as well as to connect and engage with our clients. The advice we provide clients about the support measures from the government has also been rewarding for us on a personal level, knowing that what we do is directly helping businesses continue through this.
How has the crisis affected your business, and how do you anticipate it will continue to affect it?
The immediate impact to our business has been a deferral of work. Tax filings and financial reporting are still required, so the challenge has been on timing of our staffing and delivery of services. Another impact is the ability to effectively work from home. We always had the technology to enable this option, but we had not fine tuned the necessary processes — and we had not made it a part of our culture. Once the crisis hit, we accelerated this capability — one that our team can take advantage well after COVID-19.
What advice are you giving yourself and your team for riding this out?
Prioritize what is important — which with COVID-19 means the health and safety of you and your family. In our business there is typically a sprint to the end of tax season to meet tax filing deadlines. We now know that for this year it is going to be a marathon. Our advice is simple — pace yourself and take care of your health.
What is the opportunity in the challenge for you and your business?
For the past month, almost daily there have been new programs announced or refinements to existing programs to support individuals, businesses and not-for-profit organizations. This presented an opportunity to us, to assist our clients to navigate these programs for both their eligibility to these programs as well as calculating the potential benefit. The challenge on this was keeping current with the changes as they are announced while keeping up with our regular workload. We accomplished this through having staff specifically dedicated to this effort.
What advice have you applied or are you applying from previous experiences coping through crises?
Take time to reflect on the overall challenges and opportunities ahead. With the amount of information flowing daily it is easy to move to the next immediate need and task without considering the big picture. You must set aside time for yourself to consider the impact to your business overall in both the short and long-term.
What are your resources right now? Do you have a mentor supporting you, peer group, books you read?
Our resources start with our accomplished management team who have great knowledge and experience. I’m also fortunate to have incredible mentors in the business community who I’ve been able to reach out to see both how they are currently dealing with the crisis, and their outlook for 2020 and beyond, which has helped shape my actions during this crisis. Finally, in terms of books read, I really enjoy the Harvard Business Review’s must-read series as well as their podcasts.
What advice do you have for others experiencing this alongside you?
Many owners dive so hard into their businesses that they neglect to put aside time to look after their own mental and physical health. Finding that balance during regular times is difficult enough but is especially critical to find time for that now.