How Russell Bedford Brasil grew through the pandemic

June 2022

The Covid-19 pandemic sent shockwaves through economies and industries all around the world. Some businesses didn’t survive; others grasped the opportunity to reinvent themselves. Russell Bedford Brasil did just that, harnessing the power of the global Russell Bedford brand to grow its business beyond pre-pandemic levels.

In this article, Russell Bedford Brasil’s Head of Development, Willian Reinaldo explains the six steps that helped the business to achieve growth during a global pandemic, steps that can apply equally in your business.

Form a committee of all your talents

The pandemic threw up a chain of events that no business had ever experienced before. When this happens, there is no training manual, and no single person has all the answers. In the absence of any knowledge or experience, it makes sense to bring people together to work through the various scenarios and agree a way forward. To be a success, the group should:

• meet weekly
• record everything it agrees
• allocate an owner to every action.

This is how you create knowledge and experience where none previously existed. Russell Bedford’s Centres of Excellence, where you can engage with other like-minded professionals, can also help here.

Reduce costs

When times become tough fee income may suddenly reduce, and unfamiliar situations may present themselves. When this happens, how you manage a business’s finances isn’t too dissimilar from how you manage domestic finances: you can’t spend what you don’t have. For your business to live within its means and survive you must cut unnecessary costs and reduce waste, focussing only on what is essential.

Defining what is essential and what is unnecessary can be subjective. However, by using the committee we discussed earlier to conduct an objective review you will quickly identify these costs.

Invest in new products and services

Having cut costs to deal with a fall in your traditional business income, it may be time to adapt your offer to prevailing business conditions and invest accordingly. However, what should you invest in? After all, you don’t know when the pandemic will end, or what new business scenarios are merely temporary and which ones may become permanent. The answer may lie in the fundamental economic law of supply and demand; you need to understand:

• how other businesses have adapted to the crisis
• how their needs have changed
• how you can develop new products and services that the altered market wants and needs.

In doing this you must accept that what was successful before may not be what clients want now – nothing is sacred, and anything is possible. In our case, being able to use the Russell Bedford brand and logo added extra weight to our marketing activities.

Be transparent

Understand that any action you take will have an impact – if it doesn’t you shouldn’t be doing it. By impact I mean a change to the way you and your business thinks and behaves. Your business succeeds because of its people and the pandemic is a difficult time for them as well as your business, so:

• take an active approach to HR
• explain why you are taking difficult decisions
• show leadership and your people will understand

Your business and your people are in this together, communicate clearly and honestly and they will appreciate that while your business needs them to survive, equally they need your business to survive.

Be flexible

The pandemic may have created a scarcity of opportunity in the jobs market but don’t use this as a lever to engage your people. This is both damaging and immoral. For your people to engage properly, they need to understand the context in which they are working – the more you tell them, the more they will understand. 

Value your  people in more creative ways. Difficult times may prevent further financial rewards but not all benefits need to be financial; reward your people by being flexible, and in ways that make their lives easier. Allowing people to work from home is the most obvious example of flexibility during the pandemic.

Look after your clients

Keeping your existing clients is just as important, if not more so, than finding new clients. Any  reduction in demand for your services can mean new clients are scarce so building better relationships with your existing clients should be high on your agenda. 

Use your existing client relationships to fully understand their needs and adapt your offer to meet those needs. Further, add new services to meet needs that didn’t exist before the pandemic. Do this and you will have satisfied clients, loyal clients, and more fees. You will also enhance your business’s reputation.


This approach works – as of August 2021, Russell Bedford Brasil surpassed its performance for the whole of 2020 and is projecting turnover for 2021 to be 25% higher than pre-pandemic 2019 levels. However, don’t underestimate the effects of being part of the global brand that is Russell Bedford. 

Operating under the Russell Bedford brand gives our business authority and influence, both with domestic clients and those operating internationally. The support on offer is invaluable – Russell Bedford’s experts were delivering online technical webinars before the pandemic made this approach normal. Knowing that the marketing and technical support we receive from Russell Bedford would continue unimpeded through the pandemic was thoroughly reassuring. 

This article first appeared in the November 2021 edition of the International Accounting Bulletin. 

About the author

Willian Reinaldo
Porto Alegre, Brazil

Willian is a partner at Russell Bedford Brasil. As well as being Head of Development for the firm, he is also a lawyer and accountant, specializing in Tax and Electoral Law, Sustainable Purchasing and Bidding. Willian also holds an MBA in Marketing.

Author: Willian Reinaldo

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