5 steps to creating an effective business continuity plan

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The majority of accountants and financial professionals like dealing with certainty. However, as business owners or stakeholders in a firm, you need to be able to handle uncertainty as well.

This includes situations in which we have no control whatsoever; disasters like floods, fires and unpredictable global pandemics. That’s where a business continuity plan (BCP) comes into play.

Creating a BCP shouldn’t take up a lot of your time, but you do need to have one. Think about it: if your office/home office burned to the ground (or was flooded or broken into) and you lost everything what would you do? When you were forced to work from home during lockdown, how easily did you transition? If you don’t have a BCP, you are accepting the risk of taking a devastating financial hit. Remember, your clients aren’t going to pay you to recreate any work that is destroyed or to reproduce essential documents.

A BCP typically contains;

  • Plans to keep things running in times of disruption
  • Details of how to access back ups
  • Details of relevant insurances
  • Alternative ways of working in the event of system outages
  • Plans for prevention of threats

But why should you be thinking about this now, you survived lockdown – you can survive anything, right? Well, yes, but you can probably do better. It’s also worth remembering that insurance companies are re-thinking how they will structure business cover in light of recent events and the fact that businesses are currently in a state of high-risk from cyber-attacks.

Now is the time to put a BCP in place and implement cloud-based workflows where possible. Start with the next piece of paper you pick up and these five easy steps.

5 easy steps to implement a BCP

  1. Envision your office on fire.
  2. Take a deep breath. Determine what assets you need for your practice to continue.
  3. Prioritise your resources – if it makes it easier, start scanning/uploading the most important documents first.
  4. Run a risk assessment – how susceptible are you to threats?
  5. Document your workflows so you can be sure you are capturing everything you need going forward.

While you can’t control if your firm will be affected by a natural disaster, cyberattack or some other unforeseen event, by using a BCP you can significantly reduce the associated financial and operational risks.

Want to know more about how to set up your own BCP? Watch our BCP webinar and find practical tips on what you should be covering when writing your BCP, and how to go about documenting one.

On-demand webinar: How accountants can create a business continuity plan

Whether it’s due to fire, flood, crime or a global pandemic, you can set up your businesses to be agile in the face of unexpected disaster (please login to view).

View on-demand

This content is brought to you by SmartVault.

SmartVault is an online platform for managing and securely sharing files.

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