As the global coronavirus pandemic continues, many small businesses are wondering how to keep the lights on.
Right now, experienced, clear-eyed accountants and bookkeepers are serving as critical partners to small business owners, and we want to share how your accountant may be able to help you weather the storm.
In hard times, paying for an accountant might be the last thing on your mind. However, accountants can help you unlock many sources of government and private financial relief and suggest ways to save money while also protecting your team. Some accountants we know are even offering services pro bono. Reach out to them if you haven’t already, and if you’re looking for a new accountant, find a local advisor on our directory of over 7,000 trusted accountant partners. Here’s what they could do for you:
A smart approach to financial relief
Accountants can tell you what relief programs you’re eligible for, and recommend which ones to prioritize. When it comes to relief, there’s a lot to wrap your head around, including:
- Federal SBA Disaster Loans,
- Federal Paycheck Protection Program
- State government loan guarantees and municipal grants.
- Private sources
Accountants can cut through the noise
First, accountants can help define how much financial support you’ll need by forecasting your cash flow and modeling your revenue. Then, they can tell you what programs you’re eligible for, and which options might make the most sense. For example, some loans have higher interest rates than others, certain loans are forgiven if used to maintain payroll, and other aid is available only for specific businesses (like healthcare, food manufacturing, or logistics). With an accountant, you can make a strategic relief plan tailored to your business goals and the government resources available to you.
Taking care of the paperwork, so you can focus
Once you have a plan, your accountant can help you make it happen. Applying for relief typically means presenting financial information and filing paperwork. Then, there are follow up requests, like the SBA’s questions about profit-and-loss statements and monthly sales figures. Your accountant can help you gather this information, ensure it’s accurate, and manage the administrative details, so you can focus on business problems that only you can solve.
Managing your resources wisely
After the emergency cash hits your account, accountants are important thought partners in helping you stay afloat. They can:
- Help you lower costs and spot growth opportunities by keeping your books up to date
- Optimize your cash flow by identifying profitable and unprofitable customers
- Identify contracts (like leases and loans) you might want to renegotiate
- Highlight ways to reduce your inventory costs
Accountants can also help you think about your team. While employees are major cost drivers for many small businesses, they’re also key drivers of value. Hardworking, resourceful employees keep customers coming back, regardless of how the economy is doing.
Managing this cost-benefit tradeoff is something your accountant can help with, suggesting options like trimming certain discretionary spending or furloughs and reducing hours to prevent layoffs. Accountants can also leverage Gusto’s HR tools to help you draft the necessary policies and communications, and help you to comply with regulations to do right by your team.
Everyone needs help in a crisis. Experienced advisors like accountants and bookkeepers can help you navigate the quickly-changing landscape of government aid, get the resources you need, and ensure you’re on the right foot when it’s time to rebuild.