Dear Clients and Friends of Smith Leonard:
We understand that with the increase in the number of those infected with COVID-19, our clients and contacts may have growing general business concerns, but also specific concerns regarding the timely performance of our services with regard to the filing of tax returns and completion of financial statement audits and accounting services. We want to take this opportunity to update you on the measures Smith Leonard is taking to help keep our team members, our clients, and our communities safe.
According to the most recent information from the CDC, for most people, the immediate risk of being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 is low. However, we want you to feel comfortable working with our firm during this important and critical time of year. While ensuring our colleagues are safe, we are also focused on providing professional services to our clients and operating as close to “normal” as possible. Until the rate of infections is contained and authorities give more guidance on safety and security of our health and health care systems, we need to do our part to mitigate and prevent the spread of the disease.
Below, we’ve outlined how we are working to minimize the potential risk together:
- Electronic/Virtual Options – To protect both our staff and our clients against virus spread, we are recommending that where possible, we conduct information sharing using electronic or virtual options. While meeting with your tax advisor face-to-face can certainly alleviate stress around this time of year, we can accomplish much with phone calls, GoToMeeting video chats, and electronic sharing. To provide us with documents, you can send all confidential/information-sensitive items through our secure ShareFile service. Additionally, we urge you to take advantage of the option to e-sign and receive e-delivery of your tax returns this year. If you are a SL tax client, you should have received an email a few weeks ago notifying you of our new and easier SafeSend process that will be employed for signing and filing your tax returns. As an added bonus, if you e-file your federal return, you often can begin tracking your refund as soon as 24 hours after the IRS accepts your tax return.
- Travel and Client Meetings – To the extent possible, we will discourage face-to-face meetings with clients and work on-site at client locations. We have the electronic tools to send and receive client information, and we encourage use of emails, portals, share-sites and other tools to work together in this time. We have postponed all non-essential travel, including intra-office. We are utilizing alternative means of communication to avoid large, unnecessary meetings and gatherings, if possible. We have videoconferencing capabilities and the ability to host virtual meetings and communications.
- Remote Work from Home – Because we are taking the spread of this virus so seriously, we are working on a plan of action in the event that our physical offices need to close. Should this occur, we will do our best to minimize disruptions. Given we have invested in and implemented a virtual infrastructure for our team, each of our staff members can work remotely for as long as they may need to.
- Event management – We have proactively cancelled all Smith Leonard events and meetings through early April, including mixers like our monthly Third Thursday. Smith Leonard team members are also declining non-essential invites to meetings and events in order to limit our exposure.
- Business Issues – We are already seeing a host of accounting, tax, and other issues emerge as this virus unfolds. Example of issues we are dealing with include:
- Refinancing current debt to take advantage of low rates
- Financial modeling and cash flow projection assistance to evaluate lost revenue and ability to meet business cash needs
- Evaluation of business interruption insurance claims
- Valuations of securities portfolios given stock market and financial market volatility
- Tax deadlines and the possible extension of tax deadlines
If you need assistance with these issues or have other needs, please reach out directly to your Smith Leonard advisor or engagement leader or generally through firstname.lastname@example.org, as we are here for you in this time of uncertainty.
Rest assured, we are monitoring this developing situation closely and will adapt business practices accordingly. If any major changes occur, such as the need for an office closure, we will update you immediately with details. Thank you for your patience and trust in Smith Leonard during these unusual circumstances. If you have any questions or further concerns, please do not hesitate to contact one of our offices.
Please take care,