"Were just happy to help where we can, whether its offering financial advice or just providing a supportive space where people can talk through their concerns."
MMA founder Martin Bown initially set up the group, that meets once a week via Zoom, in March 2020 to offer free financial advice to firms during the pandemic. The network really took off and at the height of the first lockdown, around 30 business owners dialled in to access advice and talk through their concerns.
As restrictions eased over the summer, the sessions were suspended. However, with another lockdown in place and no firm indication of when restrictions will be relaxed – coupled with the implications of Brexit – Martin and business partner Sara Whitton decided to restart the group.
“Many of the issues business owners encountered during the first lockdown still exist,” said Martin. “Rules have fluctuated since March and some people are unsure where they stand on issues such as furlough and bounce-back loans.
“In addition, businesses are facing fresh challenges, such as the effect of delayed lockdowns in Europe, while many are wondering what will be in store for them in the next budget – specifically if this will be when the Chancellor begins to claw back some of what has been spent during the pandemic.
“Our first call on Monday was very positive and we’re just happy to help where we can, whether it’s offering financial advice or just providing a supportive space where people can talk through their concerns.”
The MMA team switched to remote working in early March 2020, 10 days before the national lockdown. The move has worked so well for the team that employees have now switched to working from home on a permanent basis, using a hub in the Huddersfield area for catch-ups, training and meetings with clients who are based locally.
While some accountancy firms chose to furlough staff, the MMA team has grown during lockdown, with the addition of a credit controller, apprentice accountant and a Loubie Westaway, an experienced client tax specialist.
The support group meets virtually every Monday morning. For details on how to join the network, contact the team on 01484 600514 or email email@example.com.