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posted: 6/17/2020 1:00 AM

Professional services adjust to a PPP, PPE world

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Like all sectors of the economy, the accounting world has felt the impact of COVID-19. Our firm has held steady as clients come to us seeking help interpreting new laws that change by the day. Others need assurance that the sky isn't falling in on them.

Professional services have maintained their workloads with the pandemic. Financial planners are busy. Attorneys are working overtime. Accountants like us are still, essentially, in "tax season." Since deadlines were pushed to July 15, we are still assisting clients with their tax returns. With the economic outlook changing so radically in the last three months, some of their financial goals have become moving targets. We believe it is our job to help them with those targets.

As employers our world has changed, too. Our first allegiance is to the health and safety of our team. Without their contributions of skills, talent, and brainpower, we would not exist as a firm. Each team member brings a unique set of gifts that combine to support our clients and the work we provide for them. We are proud of how quickly our team assimilated to the work-from-home directives, instituted after the Governor issued his executive order. Like many of you, we had to pivot quickly, making sure that pivot included security for our employees, colleagues, and clients. That security includes the considerable investments we've made in technology.

Professionally we've been on a learning curve with others in our industry as Congress passed laws for payroll tax credits, new laws to protect employees' rights and more new laws to provide business owners with forgive-able loans. Our role is always to help walk our clients through the process and the impact of these programs. We've spent a lot of time on the phone or Zoom with our clients, sharing about how these new laws may affect them. Whether they applied for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan or now need help understanding the forgiveness process, we are in close touch with clients.

We're proud of another sector of our team: those who have helped with our back-to-work plan. Our firm administrator Jennifer Grealish has led the charge for getting the office ready for employees (only) to come back. With office manager Cindy Gunderson and Laura O'Malley, our "Ambassador of First Impressions," Jennifer and team are getting the office ready for re-entry. Following the state guidelines, we will introduce our employees back into the office in smaller shifts, honoring the safe distancing rules and masking where appropriate. Together with the partners of the firm, our team is working together to plan for Phase 3 and beyond until we can once again open our doors to the public.

As leaders, we know it's important to set the example for our team members, our colleagues and our clients. Business owners are filled with stress over meeting their obligations in a world that has been turned upside down. Like all trusted advisors, we know our job is to help interpret laws, guide and support and provide tools to inform our clients. Some started their businesses with us. We won't let them down.

• Brett Mathieson, CPA, is a partner in the firm Mathieson, Moyski, Austin & Co., LLP. based in Wheaton. He can be reached at