The Silver Lining
The week of April 15 usually marks the end of “busy season” or “tax season” in the public accounting world. CPAs all over the United States celebrate the end of long hours and enjoy the feeling of satisfaction that comes from helping their clients meet financial reporting and tax deadlines.
This year was markedly different. With tax deadlines extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic and so many businesses either temporarily shut down or working remotely, April 15 came and went with little fanfare. I did, however, take some time to step away from work this weekend and relax. Particularly on Sunday with warmer temperatures and some sunshine, I took some time to get outside. Sun and warm weather, especially early in the spring is so energizing. While enjoying the outdoors I reflected on the past six weeks or so and the extraordinary things that have happened that are unlike anything I have ever experienced in my 32-year career. A deadly virus, stay at home orders, businesses completely idled, large scale government relief, things that seem like a Hollywood storyline. As I pondered all of these things I realized there is a silver lining, a feel-good story that has come from the efforts of the business community.
The past 2 – 3 weeks have been dominated by reading legislation like the CARES Act and the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act, and understanding the opportunities in these relief packages for our clients, developing tools to help with applications for programs like the Paycheck Protection Program and helping clients navigate all of the information so that they could successfully apply for the aid that they desperately need.
I have been amazed and humbled by the stories from clients as they work long hours fighting to keep their employees safe and financially stable. Business owners and key management members are throwing themselves into the details of the federal and state-level relief packages so they can understand if and how they qualify for assistance. It really is impactful to see the entrepreneurial minds of our client base pivot from their strategy during prosperous economic times to crisis management. Utilizing the same energy and out of the box thinking that they use to grow their businesses, they have quickly re-focused to deal with these unprecedented times. They have quickly moved to make decisions important to the long term health and survival of the business that they built and the welfare of the employees that are so important to them.
I am currently volunteering time to serve on a grant selection committee for a county-level grant for companies who can either ramp up an existing operation or quickly pivot their business to make Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for first responders, hospitals, nursing homes, and others in need of PPE. Part of our process is to interview the business owners about why they need the grant. Almost universally the owners want to use their talents to help with the crisis as well as find ways to bring their idled workforce back to work so people are not suffering economically. Hearing the passionate pleas of business owners who want to help first hand has really made me realize how the worst of times brings out the best in people.
I am very proud to be part of a firm that has a group of people who are so passionate about helping the private entrepreneurial client base on which we focus our practice. I am grateful to the bankers and attorneys who have worked countless hours alongside us as we all parse through the federal relief packages to provide our mutual clients and each other the best information we can. I am honored to have the opportunity to provide help and assistance to the brilliant entrepreneurs we have the good fortune to call our clients.
The challenges are far from over, but all of us at Clayton & McKervey look forward to continuing to provide the help our clients need to navigate these difficult and uncertain times.