The Coronavirus outbreak, which originated in China, has infected more than 22,00,000 people across the globe causing over 150,000 deaths, with these numbers still being on the rise. Its spread has left businesses around the world, temporarily closing their doors in an effort to tackle the spread of the virus. Global shares are taking a hit, economic growth is on the decline, and the number of people filing for unemployment has hit a record high. Amidst this escalation of the pandemic, CPA firms have continued to do business.
Mentioned below are ten steps that CPA firms must take during the crisis to adapt to a new normal:
1. Enable your staff to work from home
Ensure that everyone can work remotely with the same setup they have now, or as close to it as possible. Provide your employees with computer equipment or with remote access technology that they need so they can work remotely while practicing social distancing. If adjustments in compensation need to be made, soften the blow for your successor group. While that may seem insensitive, businesses all over are making tough decisions right now that will impact them for years to come.
2. Secure data
Take into consideration that the personal devices used by employees might be connected to your network through less secure Wi-Fi home networks. The following is recommended to help secure your data:
⇒ Use a wired connection (more secure and better connection)
⇒ Run updates on your PC, patch, and reboot
⇒ Subscribe to an antivirus
⇒ Use Two-Factor Authentication for everything
3. Adapt to your clients’ availability hours
Now that your clients will be working remotely from home, some of their availability will be challenging. Try scheduling communications for specific times and search for flexible options to connect, such as early hours, late hours, and new ways to connect electronically.
4. Stay in touch with your clients, especially “A” clients
Devise ways to work with them if they are committed to continue operations. Develop a plan with your partners or a trusted advisor to determine how and whether you will continue to work with specific clients. This plan will facilitate sound decisions now and may become an excellent investment in the future. You may consider cutting a client off. Running a successful business requires taking some risks.
5. Put your financial counseling skills and networking into high gear
Create a financial advisory board that would include lenders, attorneys, and brokers who routinely serve the closely held business community. This is a giant learning experience for everyone. The more expertise you have, the better. Consider all avenues because sometimes the solution for one client rests with the skills and resources of another.
6. Focus on clients who are hurting
Everyone has clients now that are dealing with being shut down and need help understanding how the laws being enacted to deal with this emergency will affect them. Reach out to them to see what they need and make a plan for how to meet those needs. As with employees, clients will remember who went the extra mile for them in these trying times.
7. Communicate the firm’s financial situation with employees
A lot of firms are going to struggle during this time, and it could lead to layoffs. It is critical to communicate to your employees what is going on at the top, good or bad. If employees are unaware, they will be more nervous than they already are.
8. Use the crisis as an opportunity for change
Several organizations have been caught unprepared for the unprecedented rise of the pandemic. The crisis will present an excellent opportunity to build stronger, more resilient systems. For firms that did not have the required infrastructure in place to cope with an extended period of remote work fully, now is the time to evaluate what was missing and see how they can learn from this and improve for the future. If a shutdown like this happened once, it could happen again. Getting prepared and defining the “new normal” going forward will ensure that when the next crisis comes, your firm is ready for it.
9. Take the lead with your firm’s lender
Keep them advised of your plans. Use it to manage personnel decisions and to update your cash flow projections and requirements. Be very transparent about collections and engagement priorities.
10. Don’t Panic
The coronavirus outbreak might have had some effect on accounting operations. However, it is important not to panic and take necessary precautions until this epidemic passes. It is also essential to be up to date with the changes happening in the major sectors of the country.
Situations like these help the firms to establish trust between the employees. Any business that isn’t prepared for such possibilities is being negligent.
If you have any queries, feel free to comment in the section below. Happy Learning!
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