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How to Communicate With Your Small Business Clients About COVID-19

Caleb Newquist Editor-at-Large, Gusto 
a woman who owns a dry cleaning business at her laptop

If there was ever a time when business owners need steady advisors to guide them through uncertainty, this is it. And we’re not talking about tax season.

Due to COVID-19, small businesses are facing challenges like never before, with teams unable to work and customer spending dramatically curbed. Accountants have an opportunity to guide business owners through these turbulent financial times and make a difference for their clients in an unprecedented way.

This all starts with reaching out, communicating your plans and sharing timely information. To help with that, we’ve come up with an email template you can use, as well as a running list of financial, legal, and other resources to help small businesses weather the COVID-19 outbreak.

COVID-19 email template for small business clients

Haven’t emailed your clients yet about how your firm is adapting to COVID-19?

We get it. With news breaking daily, trying to concisely package updates to your clients can be challenging.

So we created an email template you can customize and send to your clients. It contains process updates and helpful links that show you’ve got your small biz partners’ backs when they need it most.

Subject line: We’re here to help through COVID-19!

Body copy: 

Dear [Client name],

We know you and your business are facing unprecedented challenges right now with the new coronavirus (COVID-19)—and we’re here to partner with you in any or all of it.

Although our physical office is temporarily closed, we will continue to support you through phone and video appointments. We are available to discuss the new government requirements, tax deadlines, and relief efforts, as well as how to approach the business impacts of the outbreak and how to protect your team.

In the meantime, here’s how we can work together as this situation evolves.

Meet with us online.

Schedule an online appointment [here] or call us at [phone number]. We’ll work with you to make a plan.

Send us your documents online. 

If you need to send us documents, please upload them using this [secure link]. This is the easiest way to send us what we need to advise you. 

Stay informed about legal requirements, tax relief, financial relief, and more.

Visit this resource hub for frequent updates, put together by Gusto’s legal, HR, and small business experts. You can save that webpage to your browser favorites for quick access. There, you’ll find:

If you have questions, we’re here to help. Again, you can reach us at [phone number] or schedule an online appointment [here].

Stay tuned for more updates, and stay safe.

All the best,

[Your Name, Your Firm’s Name]

COVID-19 resources for small businesses

Check out our latest COVID-19 guides for small businesses, and share them with your clients when they have questions.

Everything Small Businesses Need to Know About the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

What it is: A breakdown of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) for small business owners, including how emergency paid leave, assistance programs, and new tax credits will impact them.

How to use it: Let your small business clients know that if their employees are directly affected by COVID-19 and can’t work, they may be eligible for emergency paid leave and will have protection under FMLA. There are also payroll tax credits for businesses to offset the cost—be sure to highlight those.

COVID-19 Loan and Relief Resources for Small Businesses

What it is: An extensive list of loans, grants, and funds that can help small businesses stay afloat amid COVID-19 slowdowns. This includes federal and private resources, as well as funding programs by state.

How to use it: If you’re thinking, “I wish I had a single place with all the resources,” then look no further. You can filter or search by jurisdictions or resource types so you can pass on the most relevant information possible.

Webinar: Navigating COVID-19 as a Small Employer

What it is: A 1-hour webinar where an employment law expert addresses employers’ most common HR questions related to the new coronavirus, including work-from-home policies, FMLA, and PTO.

How to use it: Forward this to clients who want to hear an expert’s take on adjusting to a fluid situation and get answers to the most pressing questions employers currently have about their teams.

IRS Pushes 2020 Tax Filing and Payment Deadline to July 15. Here’s What That Means for You

What it is: A summary of 2020 tax filing and payment changes for small businesses, including updated deadlines.

How to use it: Give peace of mind to clients (about their taxes, anyway) by sharing the IRS’s updated guidance and deadlines for the 2020 tax season.

An Employer’s Guide to Navigating the Coronavirus

What it is: A comprehensive guide to employers’ legal and public safety obligations in dealing with COVID-19. This includes best practices for keeping teams safe, what to do when an employee contracts the new coronavirus, and how to keep trust with customers.

How to use it: There’s so much information coming at us right now that it’s easy to be confused about what’s most important. This guide focuses on the most critical aspects for employers who are still unsure about what they need to do.

Where Can I Find My State’s COVID-19 Employer Resource Website?

What it is: Easy access to websites with employer-focused COVID-19 guidance for every state.

How to use it: Share the full list of state websites directly with your clients, or grab the individual sites you need to get clients the most recent COVID-19 information from their state.

We’ll keep this list updated, so check back here for more resources to share with your clients. You can also find more tools for small businesses and accountants on Gusto’s COVID-19 small business resource hub.

Updated: April 13, 2020

Caleb Newquist
Caleb Newquist Caleb is Editor-at-Large at Gusto. In 2009, he became the founding editor of Going Concern, the one-of-a-kind voice on the accounting profession, serving in the role for 9 years. Prior to Going Concern, Caleb worked as a CPA for nearly 6 years in New York and Denver. He lives in Denver with his wife, daughter, and two cats.

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