Tuesday, March 17th, 2020

What Firms Are Doing – COVID-19

“It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness.” — Seneca

I made an inquiry as to what individual CPA firms were doing in response to the COVID-19 national emergency. Thanks to the many firm leaders who replied.

As you can imagine, it is a continuing saga and things are changing daily. As of now, here are some things I learned:

  • From East Coast to West Coast all of the firms are already providing the option for employees to work at home.
  • A small number of “key” people are working in the office to take care of various daily tasks.
  • Of course, all firms are stressing that “if you are sick, stay home!”
  • Firms are on a mission to control cleanliness – Cleaning doorknobs, light switches, copy machine keypads, restrooms, etc. on a daily basis and in some firms several times per day. Many are supplying hand sanitizers at each workstation and other places throughout the office.
  • Firm meetings have been canceled and everyone is being asked not to attend any kind of outside meeting – board meetings, etc.
  • Auditors are working remotely.
  • Tax clients are being asked to drop off their tax info in a special receptacle in the lobby and not interact with the receptionist.
  • All in-person client meetings have been canceled and communication is happening virtually via various options.
  • Firms have banned all firm travel. If local travel is necessary, the firm has requested that the employees drive and not take public transportation.
  • One firm, located in Washington State, is “in the thick of it” and many contingencies have been put into place to help any who are directly exposed. Many of their employees have self-quarantined because of possible exposure and some are awaiting test results because of exposure. Employees in the high-risk category were sent home last week until further notice.
  • Firms are even arranging ways for those in the office to practice social distancing.

These comments come from firms in North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Maryland, Washington, Illinois, and several from California.

I was very impressed with the proactiveness of so many firms but I am certainly not surprised. Accounting firms are problem-solving champions!

I live in Ohio and I have been especially impressed with what our state government is doing and communication is a huge part of it.

Right now, communication is critical and firms are continually keeping their people in the loop as to new developments almost on an hourly basis.

This is a huge challenge for public accounting firms and most mentioned that they are awaiting word about extending tax deadlines.

Be sure you are communicating and carrying out your own firm’s plan.

  • "Preparedness is the key to success and victory."
  • Douglas MacArthur

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