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Stabilization in Parallel with Recovery Planning During COVID-19

Since the pandemic has started, Withum has continued to stay connected with clients and contacts every day with updating the business community as to legislation adoption and related tax updates along with performing audit activities with social distancing.

Our Advisory Team has been diligently working to help organizations transition to remote work, supporting them with services ranging from Microsoft cloud solutions, cybersecurity, project risk mitigation, assisting with outsourced accounting solutions, and more.

We have also launched SBA Financial Assistance Services to help guide businesses to the appropriate loan program.

Many eligible companies pursuant to the legislation CARES Act are scrambling to collect documentation and information to apply for the PPP and other available loan assistance. Whether a company, if deemed essential, continues to operate as best they can, or is sitting idle waiting for the world to get back to normal, it’s imperative to think about the road to recovery right now.

The Management Consulting Team wants to share how we are working with companies, whether operating or idle, to alter mindsets, help take a step back and plan for the recovery that will be much needed as you stabilize and reach that point.

Throughout my career, certain phrases have stuck with me. One, in particular, is “Could’ve, Would’ve, Should’ve”. Another is the “Glass is Half Full”. Disruption stings but also causes opportunity. The opportunity we see – Rethink How Work Gets Done!

We hear and see our clients struggling to work remotely. Ok, not every business model supports a remote schedule, especially customer-facing. Wait a minute. Is that true? Perhaps, but where I’m going with this is the first recovery item, which is E-Commerce and the Internet of Things.

The amount of buying is increasing on the web overall but even more so now out of necessity and we anticipate this behavior to continue after COVID-19. The Wall Street Journal published a story on April 3, 2020, titled Coronavirus Pandemic Widens Divide Between Online, Traditional Businesses and they make a comment that the, “long-term trend toward online purchases gains momentum that could last after the health care crisis is over. The new coronavirus pandemic is deepening a national digital divide, amplifying gains for businesses that cater to customers online, while businesses reliant on more traditional models fight for survival.”

Customers search the web for information, pose questions, share information, etc. and the more forward-thinking companies are already capturing this information into their sales and marketing software called Customer Relationship Management (CRM), transforming the data into actionable information and utilizing it to generate revenue and lessen business risks.

“Rethink How Work Gets Done” is not isolated to just your company but to everyone around the world. Whether you like this comment or don’t like this comment, we live in a digital marketplace and in order to grow profitably, E-Commerce is a necessity. If you have a website and / or e-commerce ability, it is time for a tune-up or optimization and if you don’t have this essential capability because your accounting / other software prevents you, now is the time to get expert help so you can figure out which software works with e-commerce solutions and potentially have broader conversations about connecting your employees with customers, vendors, suppliers and others to run the business and increase productivity. For example, employees rely on the company’s intranet to access information for productivity as relying on email exchanges is not the path to productivity.

The second recovery item is to move away from reliance on using software residing on servers in your physical locations for many reasons. First and foremost, cloud software continues to be a mature operating model in the digital marketplace and your security defenses increase significantly from a cybersecurity perspective. Cloud software, in general, is a cost-effective model and it provides companies with the opportunity to innovate, which we believe is another necessity – otherwise, your competition will pass you by.

The third recovery item addresses how your employees are constrained because their access to data can be limited. Data reliability is somewhat suspect to them because data resides in many different software solutions and how they perform their roles is intensely manually driven for various reasons (i.e. searching emails for attached files and communications). Workflow automation within your ERP/CRM software or for our more advanced innovative thinkers, Business Process Automation using BOTS and Intelligent Processing will certainly drive profitability.

Learn more about enhancing your digital workplace with BOTS and intelligent processing in our on-demand webinar.

The fourth recovery item stems from an earlier item covering data reliability. Think about how we live today and how connected we are to the internet, chats, social media, etc. Most people thrive on data in their personal and business life. It would be unusual for us not to find Microsoft applications in use at companies. You can affordably gain access to reporting tools to help sort out and combine data that reside all over the place in different applications. The same holds true if you are using QuickBooks Online or modern unified solutions such as NetSuite ERP and Microsoft Dynamics.

This is a lot to digest and as I started this article, you probably thought it would focus on the PPP / SBA loan process. If immediate help is needed to collect this data, we certainly can help. Reach out to us here.

You might be thinking, “But Joe, we have to spend money we don’t have or need to support operations.” Given how the community is coming together in unity, we see companies offering to help, such as more discounting, more software in overall solution than before versus long term application purchase and extended payment plans even on the services side.

Disruption provides opportunities and from what I read, there is an opportunity to work within the software community.

Withum’s Management Consulting team are practical business people first and wake up every day to be our client’s Catalyst for Growth and Success. The preceding examples are practical from our experience.

If you would like to share your thoughts and ideas relative to what you are planning to do, please email me at MCS@Withum.com, I would love to hear your feedback and experience thus far. I will plan to summarize and reflect on what else you may want to hear about in a subsequent post to the Withum website.

Please don’t get stymied by “Could’ve, Would’ve, Should’ve” and let us help you start planning for the recovery in any manner that you can digest.

Digital and Technology Transformation

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