By Brian E. Ravencraft, CPA, CGMA, Partner at Holbrook & Manter, CPAs
I hope everyone is well. Staying healthy and safe during these challenging times. For this installment, I have enlisted the help of some of my colleagues at Holbrook & Manter. Below, they share with you exercises to be doing now, to benefit you and your business when operations return to normal. Until they do, take note of the items below and feel free to reach out to me with any questions or concerns you may have.
Something business owners can do now, when work is slow, is thoroughly review current processes and procedures to determine if there is a more efficient way of doing things. For example, is there anything that could be done to streamline the collections or payables process, etc. — Natalie Bruns
Stay on top invoicing and AR. Cash flow can and will be difficult so it is imperative that they are talking to their vendors/clients daily to check the “climate” as to how and if their businesses will stay alive and able to pay their bills, and how we help each other of course. — Lisa Decot
During tough times we all have to face tough choices, which is again the case during these surreal times we are all collectively experiencing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Since this pandemic has made everyone stop and/or significantly change what they have been doing, what will the return of the new normal look like for each of us in the future? Can these surreal times be a very pivotal point that we can all lean into where the “paradigm of old” is replaced with the “paradigm of new”? For example, how can we further leverage technology? Can we efficiently work from home more regularly? Can video conferencing replace the travel needs of face to face meetings? Re-evaluate where there have been historically non-value action steps/tasks being undertaken that now with a fresh perspective can be significantly modified or, better yet, simply be eliminated, and the list goes on. While these are tough times, it will allow us an opportunity to emerge stronger and better once we can put this pandemic behind us and we settle into our “paradigm of new.” — Stephen Smith
Adjust journal entries if your accountant gave them to you from the prior year. Also, take some online training for the accounting software you use. If you have questions regarding accounting or are considering something out of the ordinary, reach out to your accountant beforehand to explain the effects. — Zac Anderson
Now is the time to establish new routines to keep you on task and to keep you from missing important deadlines. — Joee Brandfass
The COVID-19 pandemic is making most aspects of life look different — whether it is home life, school life, or work life. And, let’s face it, it is nearly impossible to have a social life at this time unless it is a “virtual” one. Work life can be very different currently as well. Many are working from home, working restricted hours, or are unable to work at all during this crisis. To better equip ourselves when life gets back to “normal,” there are some things we can do to enhance our productivity when we do return to our workplace. First off, ORGANIZE. So often, we do not have the time to organize files, emails, supplies, etc. Now is a great time to go through that email inbox and purge old, irrelevant emails and create folders for those that we will still need to readily access. Start thinking about ways to streamline your processes to be more productive and efficient when you return to the workplace. Organize your files, purge old files, and create a checklist or a workflow chart. Second, take some time to renew and refresh yourself. Read a book you haven’t had time to pick up in a while, take a walk, start an exercise routine, learn a new skill — whatever it is that relaxes and refreshes you. We have renewed energy when our minds and bodies are refreshed. Remember, this is a temporary situation, so use it to your advantage. — Linda Yutzy
If not already done, now might be the perfect time to create a checklists of how to do certain duties within specific projects or jobs. For example, what if you needed someone else to process your payroll because the usual person is out sick? Would the substitute be able to just take over to make sure payroll was processed? It would be very helpful if they were able to follow a checklist to make sure they do everything appropriately. — Julie Roe
Businesses should be utilizing this time to institute processes and procedures to ensure the organization can continue to run optimally now as well as when we get back to “normal.” Review your current technology and systems to ensure that your team can continue to work remotely. This may include training days for employees to ensure they are able to work effectively and have the tools they need to do so. Besides training on how to work remotely, now may be a good time for employees to get additional training on software the company uses so they can be more efficient. Now is also a good time to reach out to your key customers. Let them know of your business plan and remind them that they are an important customer for you. This could be done with a simple phone call, handwritten note or a care package. It will strengthen your relationship with your customer and they will appreciate you thinking of them during this time. – Danielle Cottle
Brian E. Ravencraft, CPA, CGMA is a Principal with Holbrook & Manter, CPAs. Brian has been with Holbrook & Manter since 1995, primarily focusing on the areas of Tax Consulting and Management Advisory Services within several firm service areas, focusing on agri-business and closely held businesses and their owners. Holbrook & Manter is a professional services firm founded in 1919 and we are unique in that we offer the resources of a large firm without compromising the focused and responsive personal attention that each client deserves. You can reach Brian through www.HolbrookManter.com.
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