COVD19 has caused a lot of disruption around the world across all the professions, despite in this constantly changing times, our CPA has always been on their toes to update with the new government's policies.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruption to both health and wealth at unprecedented speed and scale around the world. In this time of crisis, while the doctors/medical & paramedical people have formed the frontline for protection of health, the wealth is being taken care of by accountants.
This outbreak took almost everyone off guard and that too when most of the small businesses were not prepared for a sudden change in operations. It’s actually the accountants who are helping them see through this time by acting quickly under rapidly changing circumstances.
For the CPAs and accountants, this crisis came right in the middle of the Tax Season, the hardest time of the year that usually requires them to work for 70-80 hours a week during a normally busy season. Now here’s another urgency, the challenge of helping small-business clients get access to the relief programs in the CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program in particular and also providing them with right advice for their business. Everyone is facing tremendous financial pressure now, including accountants whose cash flow has been decimated by the economic shutdown. A lot of them are worried about how they are going to get paid for the work they are doing, especially on the PPP where issues around “agency” and payment are complicated.
During this time of economic uncertainty, clients look to their financial advisors, the CPAs for guidance who have to build their positions who are here to help create a new normal for both themselves and their clients. Being in public practice, CPA firms are helping their clients minimize loss and expedite financial recovery and at the same time, they also have the responsibility to keep their own practices viable. This resultantly increased the work for all accountants to keep updated with the bigger picture as well as help smaller firms for advisory related services.
Almost every day there are updates in guidance on tax issues coming from the IRS and other tax authorities, CPAs in public practice have been instrumental at providing more value to their clients with new opportunities that Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or state government economic programs could offer their organizations. This is not just limited to one industry there are multiple industries that had reforms & changes. The CPAs have had to quickly pivot to become experts on rapidly changing information and legislation, so they could advise clients at a time when their guidance was needed the most.
Change creates opportunity. The lockdowns have forced most businesses to explore and adapt to remote working practices. Many small businesses are not prepared for such a sudden change in operations. It’s not the same situation, but accountants had to adjust quickly to their new, temporary working environments. Adding to this, accountants can’t meet face to face with clients right now, with many relying on video meetings or phone calls in its place, so the client relationship has also had to adapt to this changing time.
The accountants have created strong bonds with clients based on continued consultative services along with increasing compliance demands in reporting and analysis post-COVID. Adding to that, the complexity and urgency of figuring out the benefits and obligations of small businesses under the CARES Act have created a great deal of work for accountants. They have helped the clients quickly figure out how to navigate the benefits and the new obligations of the act. On the other hand, it isn’t clear that the money will be there to pay fair value for services, so, many of the accountants have also taken this as an exercise in building goodwill.
Now more than ever, the skills of a CPA are needed on both sides of the spectrum. They have helped clients refocus their portfolios to take advantage of new opportunities in emerging industries that are a result of the unfortunate circumstances of the pandemic. Businesses need their CPAs to develop strategies and roadmaps to assess risk and opportunity. CPAs are the constant in the life of a client in good times and bad.
In these absolutely trying times, the CPAs have been able to position themselves as the trusted business advisor and the go-to resource for business owners. They have helped firms of all sizes as well as business clients to guide their businesses through this uncertain time. Most CPAs are thinking long term, understanding their roles in business and their clients, and working on all of the urgent issues while also doing their best to plan during an uncertain time. It’s high time we took a moment to pick our phones and call them to say a sweet ‘Thank You CPA’.
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