COVID-19: How the Accounting Community is Helping

This feature is an intended resource to highlight what accounting software companies and firms are doing to provide useful information, resources and support due to the business effects of COVID-19.

Mar 23rd 2020
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AccountingWEB recognizes your struggles at this difficult time and as a business ourselves, our goal is always to provide you with practical, useful information that can in some way improve or support your professional lives.

As such, we have created this article as a resource to share what accounting software companies and firms (or even individuals) are doing to provide some assistance as we navigate the impact of COVID-19 on your lives.

We hope to regularly update this page as we receive more efforts from companies and firms, so do check back or watch our social media posts on the topic. On that note, if you or a firm you know of is offering some level of support in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak(links, financial help, community outreach, etc.) we would love to hear about it and highlight it here. Simply email [email protected] or even comment below.

Be safe and be well.

ADP: The payroll and benefits service provider has launched a comprehensive Coronavirus Preparedness Toolkit, complete with FAQs, checklists, webinars, articles and guidance for what business owners can do to protect themselves and their employees. The are encouraging all partners and firms to share with their clients. They also have this expert guide on protecting businesses and employees as well as this webcast: Protecting Your Workforce and Understanding Policies as Your Organization Responds to COVID-19. As of April 7, ADP created a comprehensive PPP Guide to help learn about the Paycheck Protection Program, how to complete borrower applications and ADP’s PPP reports that can help clients determine their eligibility and maximum loan amount. 

Avalara:  The sales tax and compliance software maker and service has created an ongoing content stream for U.S. and international tax updates and changes that will be updated on a daily basis. You can view each resource below:

Additionally, their VP of U.S. Tax Policy, Scott Peterson is on standby to answer any questions about how U.S. governments are adapting tax policy in response and Richard Asquith, VP of Indirect Tax is available to speak to how international governments are leveraging tax in their responses. 

AICPA: As expected, the American Institute of CPAs has its own resource site, specifically dedicated to providing up-to-date and useful information related to the profession and the clients they serve. Also, more than a dozen new members have joined an AICPA-led group advocating the use of payroll processors to quickly distribute governmental funds to small businesses so they can meet payroll and avoid layoffs. The new members are: Alliance Payroll, Asure Software, BenefitMall, CheckWriters, Council for Electronic Revenue Communication Advancement, EmployCo USA, Green Dot, Gusto, OnPay, National Payroll Reporting Consortium, Paycom, Paylocity, PPI Business Services, PrimePay and Thomson Reuters. They join the existing coalition of the AICPA, Paychex and Intuit and the International Franchise Association. All members have signed an open letter to the President. In addition, the Institute has this new resource for SBA PPP questions.

Avii: The tax and accounting firm workspace software provider is offering its Avii Workspace unified firm cloud platform at no cost in its full version for up to 25 internal firm users, with up to 1GB of data storage and unlimited client users free of charge until at least June 1, 2020.

Becker Professional Education: The CPE course and CMA Exam Review provider is offering a complementary 10-course bundle (20 CPE credits total) that include a mix of technical content and soft skills content; a free weekly series of Federal Tax Update webcasts, breaking down the CARES Act and Families First Affordable Care Act; and new courses including The Coronavirus Impact: What Every CPA Should Know and Business Owners’ Response to COVID-19.

Bloomberg Tax & Accounting: The global research, analysis and technology business has a new series of free webinars to help tax and accounting professionals navigate the implications of Covid-19 on an increasingly complicated tax landscape. The first webinar, which will be held on April 7, is designed to help tax practitioners get a more complete picture of state tax changes due to Covid-19.

ConvergenceCoaching, LLC: This national consulting firm that works exclusively with CPA, accounting and consulting firms has launched a COVID-19-focused resources webpage including practical, “how-to” articles to support your team’s “rush to remote work”live and recorded webinars on remote work best practices and business continuity strategies, and a free remote work toolset.

Dean Dorton Allen Ford, PLLC: One of the largest CPA firms in the Southeast has launched a new podcast show, Jumpstart Your Restart, to help companies learn how to efficiently and effectively restart their business once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. The first episode, released April 20th, covers seven of the most important beginning measures companies should take ahead of restarting their business after COVID-19. A new episode, featuring various guest speakers, will be released every week. Upcoming topics include understanding cash flow and how to optimize financial data, preparing businesses to be disaster-ready in the future and making the most of current technology solutions. The firm also added Short-Term Accounting Assistance to its Accounting and Financial Outsourcing (AFO) list of available services in an attempt help businesses and organizations who are overwhelmed with day-to-day finance requirements due to the unforeseen circumstances caused by COVID-19.

Future Firm Inc.: The Canadian firm's owner, Ryan Lazanis, CPA, CA put together some resources when it comes to weathering the impact of COVID-19 at your firm. Here's his 15-Point Survival Kit for firms: Is he missing anything? Also, the firm recently partnered with Xero, Karbon, Practice Ignition, MindBridge, Float & Ron Baker for a giveaway, valued at over $13,000, for The Digital Firm Assistance Package: a curated set of tools and support to help accounting firms struggling with digital adoption. Firms can find out more details and enter to win at the provided link.

Green Hasson & Janks: The Los Angeles-based tax, accounting and consulting firm has had a taskforce seeking to be ahead of the curve in helping their clients and network with information and tools around dealing with fallout from COVID-19. One of its key efforts has been directing clients to a Resource Center, which is being refreshed hourly.

Illinois CPA Society: The CPA Endowment Fund of Illinois—the charitable partner of the Illinois CPA Society—has committed to delivering laptops to accounting students impacted by coronavirus-related college closures. In this emergency action, the CPA Endowment Fund of Illinois is awarding laptops for students at nine Illinois schools, including DePaul University, Governors State University, Illinois State University, Loyola University, Northeastern Illinois University, Oakton Community College, Roosevelt University, University of Illinois at Chicago, and University of St. Francis.

Inovautus Consulting: A firm that develops marketing and business development programs designed for CPA firms has created the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Toolkit. It contains alerts and communications related to changes in work environments, tax deadline updates, and other tax implications to the current market climate.

Intuit: The company has a few efforts in place: They have launched a microsite, with resources to help small businesses navigate their way through this difficult time. It includes links to government information and resources, as well as guides and content on how to communicate with customers, support employees and steps to take to manage their small business. They have another microsite for accounting professionals, which also links to government information and resources specific to accounting professionals, including the latest on the tax filing deadlines and how to work virtually and securely. Both the small business and ProConnect microsites are updated daily. In addition, they company has scheduled a webinar with Mammoth HR, titled Covid-19 HR Strategies and Best Practices. It can be viewed any time with registration. In addition, their QuickBooks division has partnered with GoFundMe to launch the Small Business Relief Initiative, and have committed to donating $1M to this effort. 

IRS: The Internal Revenue Service has established a regularly updated resource page related to COVID-19 news and how it is impacting business and individual tax filings and related matters. The Service has also extended federal return and payment deadlines through July 15, as well as a similar extension for any individual who has to file a federal gift tax or generation-skipping transfer tax return by April 15, 2020. For any such individual, the new due date for filing Forms 709 (United States Gift and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Return) and making payments of federal gift and generation-skipping tax is automatically postponed until July 20. This extension is automatic, and there is no requirement to file Form 8892 to obtain the benefit of the filing and payment postponement. On March 31, IRS announced it is waiving additions to tax under Sec. 6656 for failure to make a deposit of employment taxes (including withheld income taxes, taxes under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act, and taxes under the Railroad Retirement Tax Act) related to the new credits (Notice 2020-22).

Jody Padar, CPA(Radical CPA, Partner Advisor/Botkeeper): Through her Radical CPA site, Jody now has a live social format, running a Covid-19 educational series through July 1 where she will be interviewing professionals every Monday at 12pm EDT and live streaming that interview on her personal LinkedIn page and on The Radical CPA Facebook page. Jody will also be starting social conversations around #CPALove and #AccountantLove highlighting the love being shown to them and how they are
showing love for their communities during this pandemic. All this information will be compiled on The Radical CPA Blog under the #CPALove and #AccountantLove tags. 

Karbon: To help aid fims at this time, the online accounting work management software maker has expanded their onboarding services and introduced Karbon Rapid, a new 3-step plan designed to help firms implement Karbon in less than 14 days. They have also removed user-minimums on all plans to allow all firms to take advantage of their collaborative work management platform, regardless of size. On the resources front, they have published a new Remote Work hub, which includes numerous tips and advice to help firms and accountants make the shift to working from home. They have also released a Resource Center, to assist in the Initial Consult, Cash Flow Advisory, and assistance with PPP and EIDL loans.

Kevin P. Martin & Associates, PC: The Braintree, Mass. firm partnered with local restaurants on the South Shore, Southcoast Region and North Shore to provide meals to COVID-19 first responder units such as hospitals and police, fire and EMT stations such as Lahey Clinic and South Shore Hospital. The firm is also part of a collaborative team helping area small, minority and women-owned businesses gain access to PPP funds.

Liliana D Pinto Bookkeeping Services: To help small business owners, her practice is offering assistance with bookeeping tasks such as Accounts Receivables. They offer virtual support that fits the current situation.

MACPA: The Maryland Association of CPAs created a COVID-19 resource page for our members, consisting of official announcements and resources from federal, state and local governments, as well as from its strategic partners.

MSCPA: The Massachusetts Society of CPAs launched a marketing campaign and web page to promote various relief funds and organizations that accounting firms and comppcanies can contribute to in Massachusetts. There have been over 350 visits to the web page since the campaign began in April.

NASBA: While not directly relief, it may be for some. NASBA is recommending to Boards of Accountancy that have CPE reporting years ending on or before October 31, 2020, to consider offering a grace period for those licensees to meet their CPE requirements until October 31, 2020. Boards may also have to consider adjustments to any attestations that are required as part of license renewal process. It may also be beneficial to place a notification of waivers on Board websites. Under the above scenario, if a CPA’s reporting period ended on March 31, 2020, the licensee would have until October 31, 2020, to complete the CPE requirements for that reporting period. Similarly, if a CPA’s reporting period ended on June 30, 2020, the licensee would have until October 31, 2020, to complete the required CPE.

NJCPA: The New Jersey state society has many resources for CPAs in their state to help guide them through this difficult time, but has also created some guidance around how taxpayers should best spend their Stimulus checks.

Profit First Professionals: The accountant and business training group has created a Resession Response page to help firms communicate with and guide clients through what could be uncharted waters for many of them.

Receipt Bank: The accounting and bookkeeping tool maker has created a COVID-19 resource page for existing partners and the broader accounting community. They will also be running a special webinar "Keeping Business Going: Coping with COVID19" involving a panel of experts including Jason M. Blumer, CPA.

Right Networks: The provider of cloud technology solutions and services to accounting firms and SMBs has developed a COVID-19 Resource Center to help firms quickly adapt and manage their businesses. The Resource Center features free webinars, links to business and government resources, and a collection of blog posts, eBooks, Whitepapers and tools offering best practices on topics from prioritizing cybersecurity, to choosing the best work-from-home technology tools, to providing guidance on recent government funding programs. The webinars include: An Intentional Response to COVID-19 For Your Clients (in partnership with Rootworks); How to REALLY Work from Home (in partnership with Gene Marks, CPA and ADP); and Preparing Accountants to Advise in the Wake of COVID-19 (in partnership with AccountingWEB) on April 22, 2020.

Sacco & Associates LLC: The Worcester, Mass. firm, among other forms of community outreach, donated funds used to supply local hospitals with needed equipment as there was a shortage of masks, gowns, gloves, etc.

Sage: The business and enterprise accounting software maker has created a Coronavirus portal that explains how the company is taking action.  https://www.sage.com/en-us/coronavirus/ The portal will also be updated regularly with fresh content around advice, best business practices, free tools and latest news concerning how to work remotely & efficiently; cash/financial pressure; paying people and their welfare; managing operations with sickness; and recruitment.

SmartVault: The cloud-based document management & client portal provider for accountants, has put in place several offers to assist accountants and tax providers during this uncertain time. For new users SmartVault has extended the annual discount to monthly plans from now through July 31, 2020 for new accounts opened by April 30, 2020. They are also waiving all fees for onboarding and training, For existing users, the company has also extended access for seasonal licenses to July 31, 2020 at no additional cost. There is also complimentary access to eSignature, if you don’t have eSignature enabled on your account. The company is currently asking accountants, bookkeepers, and tax professionals to take part in its State of Accountants Survey to help gauge the impact that COVID-19 is having on the profession across the globe. 

State of Connecticut Insurance Department: The Department has launched an initiative to educate and partner with accounting firms in Connecticut to help protect businesses across the state going forward. One of the main issues is that commercial insurance coverage will offer little to no reimbursement to most businesses suffering losses due to the coronavirus pandemic.The National Network of Accountants and Private Insurance Management Inc. have been selected to design and implement the training and coordinate the initiative.  

Susan Tinel(April 15 Taxes Inc.): an EA, regular AcountingWEB contributor and small tax prep firm owner has created a client resource page, complete with useful links and video.

TaxWorkFlow: A comprehensive tax and accounting practice management solution, this company has decided to go with a 6-month grace period without any subscription fees or initial deposits for any new clients. This, they hope, will help accountants stay on top of things as the service will be free.

Tonneson & Co., PC: The Wakefield, Mass. accounting and consulting firm donated 700 KN95 masks and over 2,000 3-ply surgical masks to the Wakefield Fire and Police Departments, Melrose/Wakefield Hospital, Lahey Hospital and Medical Center and multiple nonprofit organizations. 

Universal Accounting Center: An online training center for small business accounting, bookkeeping and tax preparers has a how-to-guide for accounting professionals to help them work with their clients to address their cash flow needs is being offered for free. ome are showing mental health issues as they are struggling to cope with the stresses and anxieties related to the pandemic and economic crisis. As such, owner Roger Knecht has reached out to the coaches he's known for years and has two individuals that are offering their services below cost. He is also providing his time as well to help accounting professionals.

Wolters Kluwer:  Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting has launched a series of complimentary webinars for tax and accounting professionals, during which Wolters Kluwer experts and guest speakers will offer insights and best-practices to help these professionals and their firms adapt to the current market landscape. In addition, a complimentary self-study bundle has also been made available to all professionals. The webinar series starts today (March 27), with two 60-minute sessions on topics of cybersecurity and business continuity with several timeslots available over the next two weeks, as well. Additional sessions and new topics will be added soon. Wolters Kluwer is also offering free resources for tax and accounting professionals, including Tax Briefings, commentary from federal, state and sales & use tax experts, and more.

Woodard Alliance: The accounting profession educational and advisory group is offering a free 60-day membership to accounting and bookkeeping professionals to provide the opportunity for increased professional interaction during this time of social distancing. The free 60-day membership includes access to all Woodard Alliance resources and benefits, including the Woodard Alliance Forum, the VIP Resource Library, the Members Only Webinar and included software and software discounts.

Xero: The cloud-based accounting software maker has put together a sercies of webinars: ‘Minimize business disruption with cloud technology from Xero’ as well as ‘10 tools to support your accounting practice’s business continuity planning’ that can be easily actioned. They also have a guide to prepare a cash flow forecast a cash flow advisory guide and this Resourse Page for customers and accounting community.

Zoho: The business and accounting app maker has launched Zoho Small Business Emergency Subscription Assistance Program (ESAP).  With this global program, our existing small business customers (up to 25 employees) are able to seek 3-months of full subscription waiver for any and all Zoho product they currently use. Also, a previously announced free Zoho Remotely program for any businesses is being used widely with more than 5000 new global companies running their business on it within two weeks. They will extend this offer beyond the 3 months, for as long as needed.

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