When areas in the United States first began going into lockdown to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, we all kept hearing the same words repeatedly: unusual, unprecedented, unexpected. But months later, things that once seemed “unusual” and “unprecedented” have quickly become part of our everyday life, and we have learned to expect the unexpected.
Small business owners have had to face a lot of questions in this new environment, like:
● How to make sure you and your team can stay safe,
● What to do if your city goes into shelter-in-place,
● How to keep the lights on if you must close temporarily,
● What can your business offer to rise up and meet this moment,
and more, on top of trying to keep your family safe and support your community through all the changes. All together, these challenges can start to feel overwhelming.
If you are a small business owner who’s worried about getting your business through this, here’s one question you can ask yourself to keep things in perspective:
How can we come out of this stronger?
Once you answer this question, everything else will become clear. Finding that strength could mean going back to your business plan and rethinking what goods and services you offer, or even creating new solutions to the problems were facing.
And your business can't be strong if your finances aren't strong.
One of the many things we've learned through this crisis is how important it is to keep your small businesses accounting and taxes up to date and in compliance.
When the government began offering loans and aid to help small businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic, many owners were surprised to find out that because their financial records weren’t up-to-date, their businesses weren’t eligible to take advantage of the relief programs. Some of the reason’s businesses were denied include not having good accounting records, failing to file tax returns, filing tax returns incorrectly, or not complying with tax regulations.
Keeping track of your finances and staying in compliance with the various government and taxing authorities can be difficult. That's why it is so important to have a trusted accountant on your team -- because solid financials are the basis for building lasting success, which is more important now than ever.
What do solid financials look like?
● Maintaining separate bank accounts for your business and personal transactions.
● Updating all your financial records in a single accounting system (e.g. QuickBooks).
● Reconciling your bank statements monthly.
● Keeping track of your budget and financials goals.
● Building financial reserves for the future.
● Taking advantage of strategic tax planning, to make sure your liability is as low as it can be.
We do not know how much longer we will be living with this new normal, or how long we will be feeling the impact of this pandemic.
But if we work hard, keep things in perspective, and focus on how to help our businesses succeed, the small business community can come through this pandemic stronger.