How can I make a difference in this mess?

Allen Lloyd, MSCPA Executive Director

We are facing a two-sided catastrophe right now, a deadly virus and an economic meltdown.  Regardless of how you feel about how the catastrophe is being handled, we can all agree the impact will be felt for a very long time in the future.  If any of you are doctors, I would ask that you stop reading this and do what you can to prepare in case the Coronavirus does spread rapidly.  OK doctors gone now for the accountants, go out there and use your accounting superpowers to do whatever you can to help your organization and your clients.  Your skills are needed now more than ever, you have the opportunity to help save people’s financial lives.

If you are thinking “How can I make a difference in this mess?” Let me tell you:

Tax Accountants:  Study up and keep reading the changes in federal and state tax laws.  Hopefully by now the June 15th estimated payment will be clearly delayed till July 15th, but who knows.  Help your clients plan for a volatile future.  Once the virus is taken care of there will likely be all kinds of economic stimulus efforts, help you clients plan to take advantage of theses.

Attestation Accountants: Have your client’s financials ready as fast as possible.  The Small Business Administration has programs to help businesses, but the applications require accurate financial data.  Be ready to help your clients with fast access to that data and assistance in completing the forms.

Industry Accountants: Advice your organizations on their options. You know your organization’s finances better than anybody, what can be done to get through this?  If the economy is going to come back, how can you take advantage of that?  What can you do as an organization to be prepared to get back to normal?  What assistance is available? Here is a link to some options there: https://www.forbes.com/sites/advisor/2020/03/20/list-of-coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-relief-programs/#7cd7a893e89d

Government Accountants: Think creatively! Tax revenues are likely to go down and stimulus is going to go up.  This doesn’t make it easy to balance the budget, especially at a time when more citizens are going to need your services.  Apply your knowledge to the issues your government is facing and try to think of ways to get the most out of the funds you do have.

Non-Profit: Pitch in wherever you can.  Much like government the demand for your services is likely to go up.  Your reserves probably took a hit and your donors are likely facing their own challenges.  Take a moment and read your mission and do whatever you can to help your organization achieve that goal.  Provide your leaders with realistic information and help them understand the financial impact of their decisions.

Educators: Inspire your students.  The need for accounting knowledge is greater now than ever.  Talk to your students about what accountants do in times of economic hardship.  Talk about risk and the new COSO Enterprise Risk Management process.  https://www.coso.org/Pages/erm-integratedframework.aspx

If I missed any groups, I apologize.  Get out there and do what you can to help us get through this! And don’t forget to use Montana Roots to connect to your peers, it is a great opportunity to find answers to your questions or just to find out if others are facing the same challenges you are facing.

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