Page 17 - BusinessWest April 27, 2020
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   ter relief (especially through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program), and — now that the money has started coming in — properly manage those funds so that the loans granted are forgivable.
But the work goes well beyond helping clients fill out the necessary paperwork, said Steve Erick- son, CPA, partner in charge of Whittlesey’s Holy-
“The biggest concern we see is cash flow and advising clients on what’s coming down the pike and making good long-term plans for whatever they’re doing. And each one of them is unique; I can’t say that there’s one that’s very similar to the other.”
a result, relationships are being strengthened, and new ones are being formed.
Jim Barrett, managing partner at Holyoke- based Meyers Brothers Kalicka, said that, for some time, his firm — and most all firms, for
that matter — have been working to broaden the umbrella of services to clients and develop rela- tionships that are more advisory and consultative in nature.
The pandemic has in some ways forced the issue.
“This crisis has spurred us to do more consul- tative and advisory work with clients, not only with navigating the stimulus package, but also navigating any changes in their business, be it with employees or costs,” Barrett explained, add- ing that this work is certainly ongoing and is like- ly to continue for some time.
Beyond the Numbers
All through her career, Quink told Business- West, she’s prided herself on having the answers when clients have questions.
She still has most of the answers, but COVID- 19 has changed that equation as well, because now, the questions are, well, different — in many cases, much different.
“This is my 29th year doing this, and I can’t recall a time when I’ve said ‘I don’t know the answer to that’ as much as I have these past few
Continued on page 38
being done is obviously changing as well. Many of those we spoke with are working at home — some or all of the time — while discussions with clients and co-workers are now done mostly by phone, e-mail, or Zoom. And since accountants are working with clients’ sensitive financial infor- mation while at home, proper protocols and security measures have been added.
There are lessons being learned. Summing up the com- ments offered, it seems that those in accounting work much more efficiently — and certainly com- municate much better — when they’re together in the same office, sharing ideas and collaborating. As for clients ... the remote meetings have worked well, for the most part, and they may be the pre- ferred method moving forward.
     oke office. He said clients need to carefully man- age cash flow, and they also need plans for the short and long term as they address life during — and after — this pandemic, and his firm, like others, has stepped in to assist with this often- difficult work.
“The biggest concern we see is cash flow and advising clients on what’s coming down the pike and making good long-term plans for whatever they’re doing,” he told BusinessWest. “And each one of them is unique; I can’t say that there’s one that’s very similar to the other.”
Meanwhile, the manner in which work is
“From a positive standpoint, this has shined a bit of a light on our firm as far
as our processes, our policies, how we can do things better, and what we should be looking to do better, said Patrick Leary, CPA, a partner with Springfield-based MP CPAs. “Hopefully, we’re going to learn from this and everyone else will learn from this and make themselves a stronger firm.”
Overall, this has been, and will continue to be, an intriguing, challenging, and in most all ways rewarding time for accountants, said those at the virtual table. Clients are calling them — and lean- ing on them for help — like never before, and as
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