Updated: Tips to keep your business going
Calling your trusted advisors and preserving cash flow are two key steps in surviving the financial hardships surrounding COVID-19, says CPA Teri Kaye.
The head of the tax department of Daszkal Bolton and its Broward office is among the many people in the accounting field legal fields dispensing advice and strategies these days.
For starters, Kaye suggests making sure to contact your investment advisor to discuss your personal liquidity and a “reasonable (not impulsive) investment strategy.”
Ask your commercial banker for time to submit 2019 financial statements and seek a waiver of current loan covenants.
Employment lawyers should be consulted to make sure staff reductions are done properly.
Contact your insurance agent if you have business interruption insurance. (Here’s a related SFBW article that includes that subject.)
Kaye says the following steps will help preserve cash and future cash flow:
- Lines of credit: Consider borrowing up to the maximum on existing lines of credit. Interest rates are historically low and the credit may not be available later.
- Cut costs: Cut discretionary spending as much as possible
- Employees: Consider essential vs. non-essential personnel. Also, evaluate government benefits associated with payment of employees who are unable to work for various qualifying reasons. (More on that below.)
- Federal tax returns and income tax liabilities: Take advantage of the tax filing deadline of April 15 being postponed until July 15 without penalties or interest. Federal tax payments of up to $1 million for individuals and $10 million for corporations qualify for the 90 day extension.
- Retirement plans: Delay funding any discretionary retirement plans to avoid potential penalties on any withdrawals.
- Capital expenditures: Delay non-essential capital expenditures.
Daszkal Bolton and the Weiss Serota Helfman Cole Berman law firm announced they will have a webinar at 11 a.m. Friday, March 27, to go over important information for small and medium size businesses. Those interested should email Dan Kobak at email@example.com.
Rosamaria Bravo, CPA and principal in the Tax and Accounting Department at MBAF says businesses may want to take advantage of emergency loan programs, such as the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program. (Here’s information about that.)
Businesses with floating interest rate mortgages may want to consider locking in the interest rate since the rates are at historical lows, say Bravo and CPA Brian A. Schlang, CPA, a principal in the Tax and Accounting Department at MBAF.
Schlang also recommended looking at SBA disaster assistance loans.
Low rates also mean it could be a good time to buy or refinance a home, Schlang says.
Chad Van Horn of Van Horn Law Group, P.A., also had some strategies:
- Let go of unnecessary assets: Look hard at your asset base and sell off whatever’s dispensable – anything you’re not using from extra computers to office space.
- Pay high-interest, secured creditors first: While it’s always optimal to pay all creditors at least something, it’s best to pay down the creditors that cost you the most. It also makes sense to contact them to discuss reducing penalties and interest.
- Talk to your team: Open lines of communication about the efforts you’re making to help the business succeed WHILE protecting the team. Ask for their input—they may have better ideas than you do.
Richard Shapiro, a director with EisnerAmper in New York, has written an extensive article on what the Families First Coronavirus Response Act means.
Among other things, it requires many employers to provide paid sick leave to employees, but helps by providing new tax credits to offset those costs. It also provides credit for health plan expenses associated with emergency and sick leave wages.
Click here to see his full article with more details, including exemptions for small businesses.