So we were all feeling pretty good about 3 weeks ago… stock market record highs, Celtics and Bruins were having good seasons, and the most mild New England winter in memory had us looking towards spring – so it was easy to feel like Judge Smails (Ted Knight) in CaddyShack when he was all done up in his Captain’s garb and christening his vessel “The Flying Wasp”.
“It’s easy to grin, when your ship comes in, and you’ve got the stock market beat. But the man worthwhile, is the man who can smile, when his shorts are too tight in the seat.”
Then Al Czervik (Rodney Dangerfield) enters the scene – “Hey, my buddy!” – and well there are some challenges and uncertainty… election excitement and woes, Tom Brady free-agency, the Corona virus, and the end to longest economic bull-run in history (it took just 19 days for the stock market to fall from it’s high to a bear market (down 20%) – the fast slide since 1931) has just about everybody a little worried and anxious.
As the reports of COVID-19 (Corona virus) continue to expand, we are all working hard to stay updated with accurate, rational information. We are taking these matters seriously, and while not wanting to add to any hysteria, we wanted to share with you, our valued clients, friends and partners what we are doing here at the office to prepare for, address and attempt to mitigate these issues.
First off – we are trying to obtain our information from reputable sources – such as the CDC, and Mass Dept of Public Health and looking to learn and follow best practices promulgated from the AICPA and Mass Society of CPAs of how to handle this matter internally with our team as well as with our clients.
Next, we are taking care of our space – sanitation, hand-washing, more sanitizing…
In addition, we are putting in place steps for both “social-distancing” as well as the possibility of having a team member, or two or three out for an undetermined period of time. Unfortunately, the virus didn’t ask if this was a convenient time for us as it is certainly here during our most busy time of the year.
Below are some of the steps and how they will impact our office’s ability to serve our clients.
- For our team, we are encouraging (demanding), that anyone not feeling well, or has a family member not feeling well, to stay home. To that end, to make the decision making as easy as possible, and to protect each other and our clients, each team member has been granted an additional fifteen (15) days paid time off to deal with matters related to the corona virus.
- We have upped our game in terms of remote work. We can do almost everything that we need to do from outside of the office. Being in the office is nice, and we are excited about our new space, and I personally feel team connectivity is a positive… but we will be able to continue working from home if/as necessary.
- We have moved to “e-delivery” and “e-signature” as our first choice in tax-return delivery and signature. If you have a smart-phone, tablet or computer, you can obtain your return securely (encrypted) as well as sign the required forms. Hard copies will still be available to those that would like them, and we would be happy to mail them (provided we are in the office to do so).
- Payment options – are available to set up a direct debit or you can call in a credit card.
- Meetings – while we aren’t cancelling meetings at this time, we are discouraging them. We can hold a meeting via video, if you have a smart-phone, tablet or computer with a camera, we can send you a simple invite and with a couple clicks we are looking right at each other – lucky you! We can also be old-fashioned and actually pick up the phone.
- Deadlines and extension – given the uncertainty, of the impact of the virus itself on a macro scale, but also what it could possibly do to our staffing levels and thereby our capacity to serve our clients and meet deadlines, etc… we are going to begin the extension process earlier this year. Starting Monday, March 16th we will begin the process of putting individual returns on extension – this is about 10 days earlier then we have traditionally started. Expect to hear from us soon (next couple weeks). It doesn’t mean that we won’t keep working up to the bell, but it is prudent in order to take the pressure off both our team and you.
We encourage you to reach out with any questions, but please be aware, that this is our busiest time of the year so responses may be slightly delayed as we prioritize our capacity.
Wishing you, your families and your friends good health and continued prosperity.