A Season of Takeaways
Originally published in the June 2021 Nassau/Suffolk Chapter of NCCPAP Newsletter.
I wanted to share my recently published article as I feel so strongly about the message being more far reaching than my immediate accounting community.
Message from the Educational Foundation President
A Season of Takeaways
By Andrea Parness
It has been a while since we included our MAP meeting Take-A-Ways in our quarterly newsletters. The great content always made it so hard to limit our bullet points to the optimum five and usually less than 20 ideas. One benefit to producing recorded live streamed seminars is that so many of us were easily able to attend and our take-aways were recorded in the chats! As most of us were working remotely we were also able to be a bit more flexible as we scheduled meeting times and topics. We continue to hear from many members that the NCCPAP support during these times was critical for them.
I have started many blog posts and articles quoting my firm’s favorite saying: “It’s not a problem, it’s an opportunity”. Please do not mistake us for optimists, we recognize the value of evaluating a situation and altering existing processes, something we and the rest of the world had to do beginning March 2020. How cool that these crazy times have elevated the accounting profession to “essential” as, through our efforts employees kept their jobs, businesses were able to pull through, and business owners knew they really had a caring business advocate, not just a number cruncher.
What are my other Covid-19 Take-A-Ways?
• Access to insight into changing laws and guidance on a timely basis is critical. Every time a new law or IFR came out I knew we NCCPAP leaders: Robert Brown, Bob Goldfarb, Mark Stewart and I would be dissecting them and discussing the ramifications with our prime supporters: Neil Katz and Robert Barnett, among others. We had the inside track and were quickly able to share the information with our members, staff and clients. Even having no guidance was guidance!
• Gratitude to have a solid business. Feeling gratitude is hard to muster when we are working so many hours without an end in sight. Consider those who are not as fortunate, those whose business suffered, who were forced to move in with relatives, who were forced to draw from retirement accounts and those who for the first time in their lives applied for unemployment.
• Confirmation that advocating for something you believe in can really make a difference. My firm subscribed to the AICPA PPP funding portal and early on were assigned a liaison who answered our emails and telephone calls. He took our concerns to heart and arranged for a meeting with the Director of Communications and Public Relations of CPA.com (via Zoom of course). One of my staff members and I explained our frustration with long approval wait times and unreconciled error codes. We reminded them that each application represented a small business, small business owner, their employees, their ability to support their family, etc. I requested that they remind their reviewers of the human element; maybe then these “sticky” applications would not be pushed aside. This resonated with them and they shared my client stories with the small business committee of the House Ways and Means Committee during their meetings, this directly resulted with the extension of the funding deadline to May 31st.
• I really do “Love my Job”. We teased about the cover of the January issue of the Journal of Accountancy but what a great feeling I have when I work with clients whose first words are either “your staff has been so supportive and patient”, “I will follow your recommendations, I trust you 100%”, or “I really appreciate your efforts on my behalf”. Knowing that we were able to do so much good for people we really care about and hearing how much they appreciate our efforts gives me the ability to continue.
• Manage client and staff expectations and communicate consistently and people will be grateful. We may not have all of the answers, we may not be able to help them obtain grants or stimulus funding, but as long as we keep our clients in the loop they recognize our value.
• Be nimble and open to changing firm processes. This is a no brainer in the face of challenges such as we have seen over the last sixteen months and counting.
When I consider how hard we all worked through what seemed and still seems as the “never ending tax season” I realize that we really are a powerful group. We too are small business owners, forced to quickly adapt during the height of our workload. We Nassau/Suffolk Chapter leaders and technical advisors felt committed to each other, our members, the accounting community and small business community at large and were successful in meeting that challenge. I believe we will each emerge from this much stronger and better, we just need a vacation and of course more guidance!
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