March 2020: Learning how to operate in our new business world

During the COVID-19 global health crisis, we are forced to adapt to a new way of life. Warren Whitney is committed to serving our clients to guide them through these challenging times. Our firm’s business operations continue and our team has the technology to work effectively remotely. Our priority is to protect the health and safety of our employees, clients, and their families while maintaining a consistent level of service for our clients and businesses in need.
The team at Warren Whitney has compiled their thoughts on how to start thinking strategically to best navigate through these uncharted waters.
DEVELOP A MULTI-LAYERED FINANCIAL PLAN. You need to understand the financial implications and to act quickly. What happens if business reduction lasts for weeks? Or longer? Consider various “what-if” scenarios. Inquire about your business interruption insurance. Do you have an existing policy with dread disease coverage? Be sure to review the following:
1) Expenses – by line item and due date
2) Cash flow – How much cash do you have on hand? How much do you need?
3) Accounts receivable and collection efforts
4) Accounts payable — be in communication with your vendors regarding delays
BEWARE OF HACKERS AND CONSIDER CYBER SECURITY INSURANCE. With companies quickly moving to remote work environments, hackers are aggressively looking to exploit any flaws. Be diligent and don’t click on links from unknown sources. It is not too late to talk to your broker about getting insurance for cyber security or social engineering policies.
REFER TO YOUR COMPANY “EMERGENCY OR DISASTER RECOVERY PLANS”. This should include policies regarding:
1) Remote work.
2) Who is “essential personnel” to adequately keep the business running.
3) Paid time off and how it can be handled. Employees can file for unemployment
if their office is closed and they are not getting paid time off. They do not have
to be in a terminated status to file for unemployment.
4) Allowing employees to stay home if they are scared, at-risk or uncomfortable
at work.
REMOTE WORK IS DIFFERENT FROM OFFICE WORK. Employees need to set their own schedules and be able to deal with different distractions (e.g. kids, phone calls, etc.). Don’t underestimate the change and potential impact. Clearly communicate who employees should call with questions or issues, during and after work hours.
THINK CREATIVELY. In these uncertain times, you may need to be creative. This will mean different things for different companies. Consider unique ways you can make your business stronger.
BRING THE WORK YOU DO TO THE DIGITAL FRONTIER. How can your business adapt to offer services digitally? For example, on-line teaching classes, or offering webinars. The goal is to keep your business top of mind.
CONSIDER CLOUD ACCOUNTING SYSTEMS. To allow for accounting data to be easily accessible, consider cloud-based accounting systems. In cloud computing, users access software applications remotely though the Internet. Remember to ensure adequate security protection.
KEEP WORKING. Unless you have been asked not to work at all (e.g., some non-exempt positions), keep working, most likely from home. Utilize smart tools and practice healthy habits. Limit social engagement and leverage technology.
REMEMBER THE BASICS.  
1) Password protection and current anti-virus systems are critical for remote devices,
 even if they are owned by the employee and not controlled by the company.
2) Companies need to consider whether remote users will be able to print or store
any confidential information on their laptops or Home PCs. Tools are available that
can prevent downloading or printing of any information from personal devices.
EMBRACE SCREEN SHARING, AUDIO/VIDEO CONFERENCING, AND REMOTE ACCESS SOFTWARE. There are many software options to choose from; some are paid services, but several are free. Here are examples of systems that are commonly used:
-Zoom
-Microsoft Teams
-Skype
-Google Hangouts
-TeamViewer
-Join.me
-GoToMeeting
-Web Ex
-Slack
-VPN Connections
-UBER Conference
-Chrome Remote Desktop
-Windows Remote Desktop
If you have any questions or seek further clarifications on these items, please call us at 804.282.9566. Warren Whitney is available to evaluate your new operating environment. Our fractional assistance and project work can help you think through decisions. We can put together cash flow projections, manage HR issues, and devise a strategic plan. We Make Potential Happen.