Planning for Disaster

Is your firm prepared for a disaster? From hurricanes to earthquakes to fire, disasters come in all forms and no business is immune from their wrath. Know the basics and protect your firm's resources.

Have a plan. While you can't avoid a disaster, you can certainly be prepared in case one strikes. Ensure you have backup copies of firm records and a plan to recover them once the disaster is over. Consider offsite storage so you can get your hands on important data quickly. A recovery action plan can also help guide you and your employees.

Get covered. Having enough property insurance coverage is important. Business interruption insurance, also known as business income coverage, protects the profits a business would have earned had there not been a disaster. This insurance can generally be purchased as a part of property insurance.

Be part of a bigger team. Work with industry colleagues from an accounting association to help you recover. The buddy system can really help in disaster situations. If you aren't a member of an association, do the research and join an organization that can help in times of need.

Take care of your vendors. Pay on time and ensure you endear your vendors to your firm. In the case of disaster, these relationships will be key.

Communicate. Get in touch with employees and let them know your disaster plan is in effect. Make sure your clients know what is going on with your firm, too. Use available resources such as TV, radio, and the Internet to keep them up to date.

Take a look at the basics of disaster insurance at http://www.bankrate.com/ust/news/biz/biz_ops/19990816.asp.

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