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Business Continuity


Lessons From COVID-19: Three Reasons Cash Is Still Crucial

June 2, 2020 / by Mark Schanen posted in Milwaukee, Business Continuity

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If you're like me, you're suffering from shutdown fatigue. But as we slowly emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, I think it's worth memorializing lessons learned (or reinforced) over the past few months.

One of the most important lessons? Managing your cash — from making sure you have cash on hand to forecasting cash flow — is crucial to the success of your business. Here are three reasons why that is — along with tips on how to keep the cash flowing in the future.

1. Cash = Flexibility
How many businesses had serious issues waiting for CARES Act funding to be disbursed? Based on our experiences with clients, about a month elapsed from the time the law was enacted on March 27 to when most of the programs were actually funded. It was stressful for everyone, but especially for those living draw to draw or paycheck to paycheck. (And of course, the stress level went up about tenfold for businesses shut out of the funding altogether.)

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Moving Forward With Business Lessons Learned

May 26, 2020 / by Craig Feltner posted in Business Continuity, Greater Cincinnati Ohio

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Many of us are emerging from COVID-19 shutdowns with a greater appreciation of how important business relationships are to a company’s success. Read these tips on strengthening your relationships with your employees, vendors, customers and support networks.

Working Remotely Is No Longer the Future
Because the situation was forced on them with little warning, many businesses struggled to adapt to a remote workforce. It’s understandable if that created a negative first impression. But forward-thinking business leaders have since recognized that the remote-work model offers many advantages that they can retain once they resume normal operations. As Magnus Nicolin, CEO of Ansell, a major supplier of personal protective equipment, told the Wall Street Journal, “The way this company's going to be managed post-COVID is going to be quite different from the way we managed it before. We are probably going to be traveling less, because we've learned we can actually run this company virtually, quite nicely. We're probably going to have smaller offices, and the offices are going to primarily be for meetings and training and technical support and far less for sitting and doing your job. If our customer service teams can work from home with good system support, then why not let them?”

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Good Bookkeeping Is the Foundation for PPP Loan Forgiveness

May 21, 2020 / by Indre Bauza posted in Northern Virginia, Business Continuity

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As a responsible business owner concerned about retaining your employees during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, you immediately applied for a loan through the Small Business Administration's (SBA's) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). And you were fortunate to be among those who received one.

But your work isn't done. Being a responsible business owner also means following PPP instructions so that your loan will be forgiven after the mandatory eight-week period elapses. That may yet prove to be difficult.

Sorting out the Confusion
A program of this magnitude put together this quickly was bound to encounter glitches. However, as reported in the Journal of Accountancy, confusion has become so widespread that an advocacy group representing several million small businesses asked the SBA to clarify terms for loan forgiveness.

Initially, the guidance seemed straightforward: As long as at least 75% of PPP funds went toward payroll costs, the loan would be forgiven. But that message became muddled when the SBA stated that any public company with "substantial market value and access to capital markets" would have to prove a genuine economic need in order to be granted loan forgiveness. However, the SBA did not immediately clarify how that qualifier — or disqualifier — would be determined.

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Bookkeeping Is Vital as Businesses Rapidly Adapt to COVID-19

May 5, 2020 / by Leslie Jorgensen posted in Bookkeeping Services, Supporting Strategies, Business Continuity

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The coronavirus pandemic is testing the ingenuity of American businesses as never before. Companies are conducting major overhauls of their business plans, profit models, operating procedures and even human resources policies. These changes would normally call for months of careful research and planning but are now being implemented in a matter of weeks, if not days.

While speed is of the essence, any changes your business makes in response to COVID-19 must still be rooted in solid financial insight and intelligence.

Inspiration Amid the Devastation
It would be easy to give in to despair in response to the daily onslaught of grim news. But each day also brings inspiring stories of business leaders who have made agile adjustments that have not only enabled their companies to remain open, but also preserved employees' jobs and provided the public with much-needed services and products.

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Welcome to the Virtual World: Remote Work and Video Conferencing Tips

April 30, 2020 / by Dawn Hershik posted in Small Business Advice, Chicago Far West Suburbs, Business Advice, Business Continuity

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Since its inception, Supporting Strategies has embraced the remote-work model. In fact, Forbes and CNBC have both included Supporting Strategies in their lists of growing companies offering work-from-home opportunities.

Now that so many people find themselves joining us in working remotely, we'd like to share some tips about working from home:

  • Have a designated spot to work. If you're fortunate enough to have an office at home, that's great. If not, find a space and set it up so you have everything you need in one place. It doesn't have to be fancy, just functional. Doing this will also help you focus and almost feel like you're in an office.

  • Try to stay on the same schedule (or a schedule). It's easy to sleep in when you can flex your work routine but you'll be more productive and feel better if you stick to the same schedule every day. A nice bonus: Since your commute is shorter, you can set your alarm for later.
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Do More With Less: How Your Business Can Survive COVID-19

April 29, 2020 / by Elliot Hershik posted in Chicago Far West Suburbs, Business Continuity

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Note: For full information on the FFCRA, please refer to the Department of Labor website. For advice, please contact a legal professional.

With much of their customer base forced to stay home, many businesses have seen their revenues shrink during the COVID-19 pandemic. Press coverage has focused on companies' efforts to stay afloat through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) — understandably so.

But some businesses that have secured funding to remain open face a secondary challenge: how to operate with a reduced workforce.

An employee doesn't have to be suffering symptoms of COVID-19 to be absent from work. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) guarantees employees, including part-time employees, up to 80 hours of paid sick leave (see the DOL website for information about calculating hours for part-time employees), at full salary, if they're subject to quarantine due to possible virus exposure. Another component of the FFCRA is that employees, including part-time employees, can receive two-thirds of their regular rate of pay, for up to 10 weeks, if they must stay home to care for children under 18 whose schools or daycare facilities are closed.

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Adapt Your Business for Tomorrow With Outsourced Bookkeeping

April 28, 2020 / by Mark Schanen posted in Bookkeeping Services, Milwaukee, Business Continuity

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As the COVID-19 crisis forces businesses to change how they operate, many companies find they need more financial analysis and bookkeeping support than ever before.

From emergency measures, such as determining the size of a loan request, to getting a better understanding of fixed-cost obligations, business leaders need up-to-date financial insight. That includes frequent cash-flow forecasts to keep pace with a rapidly changing environment.

Bookkeeping That Fits Your Evolving Needs
Outsourced bookkeeping and controller services offer a cloud-based, remote-work answer to these evolving business needs.

Now is the time to find a custom solution that not only addresses immediate concerns, but also improves your underlying operational efficiency by providing a bird's-eye view of your processes. And even when this crisis passes, you'll continue to enjoy the advantages of improved financial insights as well as time saved on daily tasks.

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Small Businesses Must Look Beyond Short-term COVID-19 Impact

April 23, 2020 / by Steve Barber posted in Northwest Maryland, Business Continuity

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If you're a small-business leader, chances are you've been overwhelmed the last few weeks, trying to figure out a way through the COVID-19 crisis. Which aspect of the Coronavirus Aid, Recovery and Economic Security (CARES) Act is best for your company: the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), Employee Retention Credits, or Deferred Payroll Taxes? Or can you get by with selective belt-tightening?

While it may be tempting to keep your head down and focus only on those vital details, it's equally important to lift your head up and figure out a plan for getting through the coming weeks and months, and positioning your company for growth once things return to normal.

PPP Status Update
The PPP funding that was designed to help small businesses meet employee payroll for eight weeks was out of money after just two weeks.

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Eight Ways to Get the Most from Your COVID-19 SBA Loan

April 21, 2020 / by Mark Schanen posted in Milwaukee, Business Continuity

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If your business has been able to cut through the red tape and obtain COVID-19 funding through the Small Business Administration's (SBA's) Economic Injury Disaster Loan program or Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), you're one of the lucky ones.

However, you still must determine the best application of those funds to secure the long-term health of your business.

Your Loan Is a Means, not an End
The most important benefit of receiving emergency funding is that it buys you time to catch your breath and make clear-headed decisions about picking the right path forward. But it's important not to squander this opportunity. You need to act decisively — and soon.

To some extent, the nature of your business will dictate your plan. If you have a business deemed "nonessential," such as a movie theater, you can't do much beyond using the emergency funds to pay your employees (and your bills) and hoping that the virus subsides before your money runs out.

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Construction Pros Use Bookkeeping for Contingency Planning

April 14, 2020 / by Steve Barber posted in Bookkeeping Services, Northwest Maryland, Business Continuity

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Disruptions are the norm in the construction business. And while the COVID-19 outbreak — which has led to a widespread halt of building projects — is more extreme than most disturbances, successful construction companies are structured to handle multiple projects with long durations and to anticipate potential interruptions along the way.

When it comes to contingency planning, outsourced bookkeeping services are one of the most useful tools those in the construction trade can use.

Preparing for the Worst
Construction companies encounter cash-flow interruptions for a number of reasons, from routine weather delays to once-in-a-century pandemics. Even projects that stay on schedule often require a juggling act between making upfront vendor payments and collecting revenue from clients on the back end. Staying up to date on your finances is the best way to prepare for these interruptions. And the first step is to establish a cloud-based bookkeeping system.

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