Covid

Save Businesses Not Toilet Paper

Caleb Newquist Editor-at-Large, Gusto 
remote work

March 19, 2020

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I took last week off, and obviously, I didn’t know months ago that it would be such a consequential week. Don’t worry, though. I was dread-watching the news, thinking about how many rolls of paper we had at home, and trolling my phone for every notification about the stock market crashing… again. So, I was with you all in spirit!

But believe it or not, I’m an optimist, so I can find a silver lining in all this. Last week, a bunch of my Gusto colleagues worked together on this comprehensive employer’s guide to navigating the coronavirus, and I highly recommend it for you and your clients. It’s so good that it kinda made me sad that I wasn’t working last week—because I enjoy the chaos, you see. But, wait. I’M NOT MAKING THIS ABOUT ME.

I think we’re all coming to grips with the fact that small businesses are going to be hit hard by this crisis. Which is why we’re trying to put together the most useful and supportive content we can for small businesses and the accountants who serve them. If there was ever a time when business owners will need steady advisors to guide them through uncertainty, hoo boy, is this ever it. In the midst of tax season, no less.

Again, if I can find the silver lining here, it would be this: Accountants who are in practice now have the opportunity to make a difference to their clients, literally, like never before. Your expertise and counsel can possibly save not only businesses, and people’s livelihoods. That’s a big deal! And a long time from now when the grandkids ask about the coronavirus pandemic, it’ll make for a better story than: “We bought all the toilet paper at Costco.”

WFH

Are you familiar with that acronym? No? Oh fun, you’re about to learn a new one. WFH is “working from home” which is to say: how you should be working, if you are able to.

Last week, our friend Blake Olivertweeted his concern about partners of CPA firms still requiring staff to come into work even when they were equipped to work from home.

Since then my old haunt, Going Concern, has covered the Big 4 firms and their decision to mandate work from home for all their US employees this week. Accounting firms, as is their wont, are a little behind some other large companies that made WFH mandatory over a week ago—but hey, better late than never.

To the extent that other accounting firms are still having people come into the office or go to client sites, I sincerely hope they reconsider. Tax deadlines are being pushed back, so relax, people!

But I get it. Lots of accountants are like: “It’s busy season, we will not be stopped!” Which, sure, but the great thing is that thanks to the CLOUD, you can not be stopped at home now. So let’s maybe do that for a while. And by “a while,” I mean until busy season is over. Please.

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Updated: February 18, 2021

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, two daughters, and two cats.

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