Coronavirus Firm News March 15 2020
Clients and Friends:
The COVID-19 virus has disrupted our lifestyles in sweeping ways. We hope that you and your families are well and are taking every precaution to thwart this virus. We have learned a lot about how we can protect ourselves and I hope you are following the input of the medical community.
This fast-moving virus has disrupted our norm and no doubt will have an impact on our economy and change the way we live and interact. I can’t imagine the financial impact on the major media networks with the cancelation of March Madness, The Masters, Formula 1, NBA, NHL, NASCAR, and major league baseball to name a few. The trickle effect impacts airlines, hotels, restaurants, car rentals, convention arenas and more. My hope is that the powers that be understand how the virus is spreading and creating plans to keep us safe. Certainly, in this instant world, it is difficult to know what is fact and what is fiction. We hope that the 2 to 3-week window of closures is correct, and life will get back to a sense of normalcy.
At Lumsden McCormick, it’s business as usual for now. Our office is open, and we intend to stay open. Our staff have the flexibility to work from home and anyone that shows symptoms of the virus will be asked to stay away from the office for at least 14 days. For Brisbane Consulting Group, our team members frequently travel to and from New York City; we will follow the wishes of our clients regarding in person meetings. We have the technical capacity to have virtual meetings.
We are working at our normal pace for this time of year. For our attest clients, where our staff work within your offices, we will abide by your policies and procedures. If you prefer, we have the ability to conduct our audit and review procedures remotely. We have a secure portal to transmit information, as well as secure emails through Sharefile, a Citrix product.
Of course, it is “busy season” as it relates to tax filing. For now, we are on target to meet the March 16th deadline for those entities that must file by that date. Congress and the IRS are in discussions about extending the April 15th deadline for personal returns. Since our workflow is cyclical, we are staffed to complete our normal client requirements by April 15th. Even if there is an extension of the filing period, we prefer to complete as many returns as we can by April 15th. Therefore, we ask that you please send us your tax data as quickly as you can.
When sharing secure documents, you can access the secure Client Portal which can be found on our website at www.LumsdenCPA.com/contact/clients/client-portal/
What happens if we are asked to close our office? We have invested in Cloud computing and most everyone of our team members has the ability to work remotely.
- For our internal communications, we subscribe to Txtsignal so we can reach all of our team members for important updates through text alerts.
- We have a secured VPN so our staff can get files from our servers.
- A majority of our applications are provided by CCH in the Cloud, so if we have an internet connection, we can work.
- Our phone system will transfer calls to our cell or home phones. Access our Firm Directory for phone numbers and email addresses of our staff.
- Our staff have portable monitors, scanners, laptops, and printers.
- We collaborate through Microsoft Teams, which includes Skype for virtual meetings.
- For those who haven’t used our portal to transmit tax and other information, we ask that you sign-up immediately. When returns are completed, we move your tax return to portal, so you have it forever.
- Should the office be closed, we will communicate with you on how we can transmit client information. Absent mandated restrictions, we plan to have a small group in the office.
- If we need to notify clients, our Marketing Team will place announcements on our website or through an email blast to those that subscribe.
- And lastly, our portable devices can do many things, including scanning documents. We will be learning more about what our smart devices can do.
In a nutshell, this is unprecedented. The United States and its people are resilient. We will learn from this and be stronger. Thank you for being our valued clients and friends, and may God be with you.
Your friends at Lumsden McCormick and Brisbane Consulting Group