Updated: March 20, 2020
As businesses close and many of us are settling into our homes for an indefinite period of time, the use of mass transit has decreased significantly.
For employees that participate in a pre-tax transit benefit with their employers, they may want to consider suspending their benefit for the months of April and/or May. If it’s too late to suspend the benefit for April, the employer’s HR department may be able to provide guidance on obtaining a refund, if that is possible under the employer’s plan. Employers may want to remind their employees of the ability to suspend benefits temporarily.
If you have questions about transit benefits, please reach out to your Withum advisor or contact us here.
Updated: March 16, 2020
While we all deal with the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting travel restrictions and social distancing recommendations from governments around the globe, we must keep perspective.
The health and well-being of yourself, your family, your teams at work and their families are of utmost importance. We sincerely hope you are in good health as you read this.
Regarding your business, it is during times of disruption, such as this, when you may be realizing you were not quite as prepared as you thought. Taking some time in the coming weeks to discuss ‘Scenario Planning’ and business continuity with your trusted advisor would be a worthwhile investment of time. We see three pressing areas of focus:
- Look for alternate sourcing beyond your current vendors if they are unable to deliver goods at this time.
- Conserve cash, planning for varying lengths of time of reduced revenue flow.
- Speak with your bank about increasing lines of credit to use as a safety net during a time of cash-crunch.
- Extend payment terms with vendors, only done with transparent discussions between both parties.
- Cut or delay non-essential expenses such as travel, entertainment and marketing.
- Review your insurance policies for business interruption coverage. Withum’s Forensics & Valuation Services team members understand the complexities associated with business interruption claims and recently published this article about it if you are interested in reading more.
- Keep team morale up. It is during times like this when effective leadership is required most. Your teams will look to you for an optimistic, yet realistic, outlook. They need to feel assured that you have a plan which will keep them and the business healthy.
Remote Work Environments
At Withum, we’ve invested heavily over the years in technologies that allow our team members to work remotely. Jim Bourke, Withum’s Managing Director of Advisory Services and HLB International’s Global Advisory and Technology Leader, is widely recognized by our profession for being at the forefront of technology in the workplace. Jim shares about the applications that can help get you and your teams set up rather quickly:
- Microsoft Office 365 subscribers have access to Teams. Many aren’t even aware they have this tool included in their software suite, which can quickly make your remote working situation implementable. Teams allows you to create channels, which organize conversations and collaboration around specific topics. Additional capabilities include video meetings, instant messaging-style conversations, and file sharing.
- Stay present by leveraging videoconferencing applications like WebEx, Zoom or Teams to continue office conversations and meetings.
- Our Digital Advisory team shares more about leveraging your Microsoft tools for the remote workplace in this article. The article also offers practical tips regarding working from home if you and your employees are not used to teleworking.
contact a member of Withum’s Digital and Technolgy Transformation Group.
Realistically, this pandemic and the resulting decline in business performance, stock markets and consumer confidence could lead us into a global recession. However, keep an optimistic, long-term perspective and prepare for when you can restore optimal operations.
In the event we do have a recession, revisit how your business was impacted during the last recession in late 2008, and plan your recovery timeline accordingly. If you have a newer company, all of the above points apply. Either way, consider future investments in marketing to grab market share ahead of your competitors.
At the time of this writing, news channels are reporting that COVID-19 spread is seemingly peaking in countries where it was first identified– before impacting the U.S. We may have a couple of months to go before we are through this. In the meantime, take the time to prepare accordingly, in case of prolonged impact, and observe regular health and safety precautions to protect your people.
For the past 45 years, Withum has been committed to helping our Clients, our People and our Communities to Be in a Position of Strengthsm. Together, we can get through these challenging times. If you need guidance on business disruption, please reach out to any member of your Withum engagement team.
COVID-19 Resource Center