Updated: Mar 18, 2020
Written by: Stephanie Parris, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Considering the current global pandemic of COVID-19 many businesses are faced with trying to find solutions to keep their workforce in place and keeping the revenues generating. Many industries are unable to outsource or enable remote working for their employees due to the nature of their services. As of March 15, 2020, the United States government is working on an aid package to support businesses and individuals impacted by the need to prevent further spread of this disease. While the United States has been slow to respond and develop a plan of action, other countries have already enacted such measures. Many small and mid- sized businesses are unaware of services available to allow continuity of business during times like these. Rather than these businesses going bankrupt due to the nature of this disease, they should consider some options.
Below are a list of resources and tools available to help keep things smooth and going forward. These items are used in my firm daily to conduct business across the United States. These tools can assist your business and hopefully keep from feeling a detrimental financial impact.
Avoid in person meetings. Resources are available such as Skype, Zoom and GoToMeeting for virtual meeting rooms. I recommend Zoom or GoToMeeting. Zoom and GoToMeeting are preferred for my firm and when anyone is joining from outside the United States.
In avoiding in person meetings, don’t be afraid to use your webcam. Often, people stress over being on camera, but once they have done it a time or two, they generally adapt. Nobody looks amazing 100% of the time on camera. Being on camera allows folks to connect with being able to see your facial expressions and body language.
For secure collaboration portals (more secure than standard email) use items such as SmartSheet where you can create a shared space and exchange documents back and forth. Trello is another good resource to allow shared activity. My firm prefers SmartSheet due to the automation tools and ease of use.
Allow your staff to work remotely when possible. There are virtual cubicle resources such as Microsoft Teams, Sneek, Slack, and many others to allow users to collaborate in real time and not have that isolation concern. My team uses Sneek daily. While it has been known to have a glitch now and then it does provide for instant access if needed but also allows us to see who is working and who is available.
Setup your accounting to be remote. If you need a regular accounting staff, allow them to work remotely. With resources like VPN, remote desktop, cloud- based services, and many others there are endless possibilities for remote access. Our firm utilizes cloud- based services and remote desktop services for numerous clients with great success. Many of these can be setup in a relatively short amount of time to keep business moving forward.
If you are coming into the office just to sign checks, enroll in Bill.com or a similar service. It allows for the entry and sync of data between your QuickBooks and the service. They mail the checks or send the ACH, they collect your receivables and forward the funds to your bank account. They can cut out the middleman and allow you to be more efficient and work from literally anywhere.
Lastly, take care of one another. Ensure you are practicing proper hand washing, keeping your workspace clean and sanitized, staying home when feeling under the weather, SANITIZE your phone and keyboards, and look out for those that may be more prone to illness.
"This pandemic is expected to be around for the coming months, these steps can be the difference between staying in business and going bankrupt."
These are simple steps to take in order to continue your business and to protect the people you ultimately serve. If you need help with any of these, or need contacts let me know. Do check with your IT folks or accountant to be sure you are not paying retail or paying in excess for any of these services during this time.
This pandemic is expected to be around for the coming months, these steps can be the difference between staying in business and going bankrupt.
Stephanie Parris, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine Stephanie Parris has a Masters’ Degree, in Accounting and Financial Management. She writes about accounting and business for today’s world. She has extensive knowledge of the non-profit, construction, real estate and service industries which she serves. Stephanie has become a leading expert in QuickBooks as well as outsourced accounting services. Stephanie lives in Missouri and volunteers and cooks for her local rescue mission, serves with Made to Serve as well as Race for Rett, mentors local female high school students, has a passion for wine and cooking, and loves spending time with her family and close friends.