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Minimize the Impact of Coronavirus on Your Business

Valuable insights from OSAE Member Clark Schaefer Hackett

Like you, Clark Schaefer Hackett continues to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak with the health and safety of our team members, clients, friends and families top of mind. Our offices remain open; however, our staff is utilizing technology to work remotely as appropriate and keeping an open dialogue with clients to address their needs or concerns.

There are proposals in Washington, D.C. to modify the tax deadline. We will keep you informed on this as information becomes available. Many clients have asked us what they can do now to protect their future and minimize negative repercussions. In that spirit, here are some tangible actions you can take today to help your business through this unprecedented time of uncertainty. 

1. Strategic Leadership Planning
Establish contingency plans for business leadership should key members be temporarily unable to fulfill company duties. Some organizations are establishing two parallel leadership teams to alternate in-office leadership activities week to week.

2. Formalize Your Telecommute or Work-from-home Policy
If they haven’t already, businesses should be working to formalize its policies and expectations related to employees working from home. This may include nightly gathering of critical documents should the office become closed for a period of time. Further, leaders should be informed and trained about the policy and expectations for employees while working from home. 

3.Test Your IT Capacity
Significant numbers of employees working from home can stress the internal systems of any business. To identify potential areas of need or risk, businesses are conducting pilots where many or all employees working from home, to give IT an opportunity to evaluate its systems’ ability to handle increased traffic.

4. View Your Organization through an Improvement Lens
Unexpected events are challenging to deal with and stress the entire organization. These stress tests provide an opportunity to see where your organization stands. Adversity in a business puts a spotlight on your areas for improvement and provides opportunities for growth if the leadership of the organization is open to seeing it. Take the time as a leadership team to assess how your organization is handling these trying times and identify areas to innovate and strengthen the organization.

5. Consider Long-term Contracts at Lower Prices
Certain businesses reliant on commodities such as fuel, metals and other raw materials should evaluate current pricing and long-term contract options at potentially reduced costs. Several of our clients have locked in long-term fuel purchase agreements at current prices in anticipation of a future increase in pricing.

6. Evaluate Insurance Policies
Businesses should evaluate insurance providers to determine whether there is potential coverage under a business interruption insurance policy. Further, businesses should evaluate potential refunds available for cancelled contracts related to events, travel and business operations.

7. Evaluate Loan/Financing Arrangements
Interest rates have dropped to historic lows. While additional cash may not be needed today, many businesses are evaluating existing credit lines and terms to either refinance or secure new access to capital should it be needed in the coming weeks and months.

8. Monitor Impact on Supply Chains
For information about how the coronavirus is impacting supply chains and what businesses can do, consult our related article, The Coronavirus Effect on the Global Manufacturing Supply Chain.

While uncertainty will likely continue for some time, maintaining a strategic and intentional approach to business will both help with the short-term market fluctuations and provide a foundation for future growth. If you have questions, please reach out to Clark Schaefer Hackett, a strategic partner of OSAE.

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