Coronavirus Rattles Tax Season

Can you turn a crisis into an opportunity?

The CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer
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By CPA Trendlines Research

Coronavirus—Covid-19—is coming. Don’t imagine it won’t reach your community. It will. And even if you manage to keep it out of your office, and even if its lethality is less than the flu, just the threat of Covid-19 is already impacting many tax and accounting firms.

How accountants are preparing for the worst:

  • Do you have the portals, web-based apps, and cloud accounts necessary for staff to work from home? Have you tested them? Maybe you should have an everybody-works-from-home-day drill.
  • Do you have policies and procedures in place for home-based work?
  • Do individual staff have plans for caring for their family without disrupting work?
  • Have you prepared clients for the possibility of electronic delivery of data and documentation? Do they understand what to do?
  • Are you ready to request filing extensions due to staff or client illness or local quarantine?
  • Have you established sanitation procedures for your office?
  • Do you have a vision of the worst-case scenario? This could include a) long-term quarantines of your office, other businesses, and all clients, b) widespread illness and absence of staff, c) general economic downturn, d) interruptions in cash flow, e) slower than usual responses from the IRS, and f) well…what else can go wrong?

The CPA Trendlines Busy Season Barometer has always asked a variety of poignant questions about everything from the status of firms to the state of the economy. This is the first year, however, that it includes a question about disease.

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