Accountants’ New Role is Vital to COVID-19 Business Recovery

The accounting industry has been shifting from commodity-based services to advisor-first solutions for years now. The importance of this business advisor role has never been more widely recognized than during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Long gone are the days when CPAs were predominantly providers of tax returns, audits and financial statements. The insights gained through these services lead to much greater opportunities to recommend and implement strategies to improve the business throughout its life cycle – especially during an economic crisis.

Here are a few of the ways your business should be tapping into your CPA to survive these challenging times:

Cash Flow: Managing the cash flowing in and out of your business is always important, but never more so than during an economic downturn. Grassi advisors develop rolling 13-week cash flow projections to help clients assess their financial position and make confident decisions. Based on the numbers, we recommend ways to reduce expenses, open new revenue streams and negotiate with vendors to meet cash flow needs.

Workforce Management: The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness requirements have made workforce management a must for many. Grassi has had great success advising clients and other PPP borrowers on managing their workforce for maximum loan forgiveness.

But PPP is not the only area of this crisis that calls for a reassessment of your workforce. An objective evaluation based on financial facts can make tough but inevitable decisions – including furloughs, terminations and salary reductions – more clear. Grassi’s HR consultants also assist in the employee relations involved to make the whole experience smoother for everyone.

Business Metrics: As always, it is critical to monitor how your business is performing in this environment. Grassi works with clients to develop customized dashboards that give management a snapshot of key business metrics in real time. Benchmarking is another element of this process. As business advisors to many industries, we have the data and insight needed to compare your metrics to others in your peer group.

Operational Review: As you look for ways to increase your company’s profitability, an operational review offers a comprehensive look at your financial and operational effectiveness. Through interviews with employees, evaluation of processes and analysis of findings, Grassi’s Consulting group has helped countless clients reduce expenses and improve efficiencies in their workforce, IT systems, financial function and entire business model.

Technology: CPAs are intimately familiar with the financial and operational systems that keep your business running. A fresh set of eyes can expose necessary enhancements to increase efficiency, productivity and cost savings.

Tax Strategies: The role of business advisor does nothing to diminish the importance of our tax advisor role. Utilizing all available tax savings – including those available through the CARES Act – will be one of the most impactful factors in your COVID-19 recovery plan.

Recovery Plans: Each business’s recovery from COVID-19 will look different. Some were eligible to apply for a PPP loan and are now preparing for loan forgiveness, while others will get unique tax benefits instead. Some have kept their workforces intact by finding new ways to operate, while others are facing a restructuring or bankruptcy. Many are now applying for the Main Street Lending Program. Whatever your situation, Grassi can assist you through the entire process. Having the right advisor by your side is crucial to making wise decisions that benefit your business now and in the long run.

This article was originally published in the July 17, 2020 issue of Long Island Business News.


Louis Grassi Louis C. Grassi, CPA, CFE is the Chief Executive Officer of Grassi Advisory Group, Inc. He began his career in 1977 and has extensive experience in tax, accounting and consulting. Lou takes a proactive role with clients, performing such value-added services as profit-enhancement studies, operational reviews, performance benchmarking, forensic accounting, cost analysis, incentive compensation programs, estate and succession planning, corporate restructuring, and corporate retreat... Read full bio