This page is to help support our community during the Coronavirus pandemic. You will find resources on how to navigate running a small business; stay physically and mentally well; and some fun resources to keep your spirits up. Please feel free to use all resources and disperse as desired.

We hope you are all staying safe and healthy!

Updates on the Paycheck Protection Program as of 3.31.2020. 

U.S. Small Business Administration Resources

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

U.S. SBA has put together resources to assist small businesses during COVID-19. There are loans, grants, federal programs, and resource partners available. Please visit, www.sbc.senate.gov for more information.

Admittedly, it can be a little overwhelming, so the U.S. Senate Committee has put together a guide to the CARES Act. You can access the guide here.

Updates to note as of 3.31.3020

The Paycheck Protection Program it is scheduled to be released either Thursday or Friday of this week (April 2nd or 3rd) and is going to be processed by the SBA on a first-come, first-serve basis. While the $350 Billion allotted for the program seems like a lot, those funds will be used up quickly.

Steps You Should Be Taking NOW
  1. Contact your bank regarding the SBA loan if you have not already.
    1. Make sure they are an SBA preferred lender. If they are not, the loan is routed to the SBA and you will lose valuable time.
    2. Ask if they have a process they are having clients follow.
    3. Ask what type of information you should be gathering.
  2. Begin gathering information.
    1. To see what type of information will be needed for the loan application, the SBA provided a sample form for people to use as a reference. It can be found here.
  3. Set time aside on Thursday, April 2nd and Friday, April 3rd to fill out your application and work with your bank.
A couple of additional items to note about the loan:
  1. The SBA will determine the amount of the loan and not the bank.
  2. The loan amount will be based on payroll, utilities, mortgage interest (not the principal), insurance expense, and rent. This will be the monthly average; however, the months have not been disclosed yet by the SBA. This average amount will then be multiplied by 2.5 resulting in your maximum amount of the loan.

OHIO HAS RECEIVED OFFICIAL DISASTER DECLARATION

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced that the State of Ohio has qualified for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Under this program, businesses and non-profits economically impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19 may apply for a low-interest loan of up to $2 million to help pay for fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact.

#1. You can apply for the loan online at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/, which is recommended by the Ohio Development Services Agency Business Services Division Team, or by calling 1-800-659-2955 to have an application mailed to you.

#2. To expedite the process, applicants should have:

  • Copies of the most recent federal income tax return;
  • Completed and signed IRS Form 4506T, which authorizes the release of tax information;
  • Schedule of liabilities;
  • Personal financial statement;
  • Current year-to-date profit-and-loss statement;
  • Year-end profit-and-loss statement and balance sheet for that tax year if the most recent federal income tax return has not been filed. (Example, if 2019 has not been filed, you will need a year-end profit and loss statement and balance sheet.)

#3. The team at Development is working to identify other options to support businesses and non-profits during this public health crisis. To that end, you are encouraged to complete an online form.

Items to Note:

  • EIDL's are funded through the US Treasury and do not involve banks.
  • If your business intends to apply, please begin pulling together the information to expedite the process.
  • These loans are only intended as working capital loans utilized to assist with the impact caused by the coronavirus emergency efforts. The EIDL's are not for other purposes such as expansion, new equipment, property purchases, etc. that do not have anything to do with the national emergency we are facing.
  • Rates to business are expected to be 3.75% and can have extended terms.
  • Loan applications will be evaluated by SBA loan officers. Criteria includes:
    • Credit history acceptable to the SBA
    • Repayment abilities
    • Eligibility - businesses in a declared state/county, suffered working capital losses due to the declared disaster (not a general downturn in business due to the economy or other reasons.
    • A paper application can be submitted but this will slow the process considerably.
  • When applying, please take your time. Ensure you are providing all the information completely and checking all the boxes.
  • Save the information you have uploaded as you go to ensure work has not been lost.
  • If you do not provide complete information, it will slow down your process of applying and ultimately receiving funds.
  • Do not submit the application until you are done uploading all the required information.
  • When registering, note your username and password. If you aren't able to complete the application in one sitting, you can return back to the website, click register, and enter your username and password to continue entering.

The above information was provided by the Voinovich School, Small Business Development Center.  They frequently provide information through their facebook page @sbdcohiouniversity.

To obtain assistance, you may reach out to the SBDC and/or contact your CPA.

Remote Work and Cybersecurity

Call the work what you will: Remote | Virtual | Telecommuting | Telework

The transition to mandatory telework due to the coronavirus is defining our new norm.

Many leaders had to dive in with little preparation to keep their organizations moving forward and afloat. As we begin to stabilize our remote workforce, we must revisit best practices in protecting our organizations. Personal technology and computing practices within an employee’s home typically are not as sound as inside of the company walls. This coupled with cybercriminals adjusting their lures with coronavirus bait to “phish” in people centric (vs company) waters, suggests we need to review how we manage telework teams.

Below is a cursory list of items you should be considering. For the complete list and further explanation click here.

Employer Checklist

These are items we recommend implementing at a company-wide level and managing by system group policies when possible.

  1. Practice good cybersecurity hygiene with your team. Currently, these practices are THE best thing a company can pursue, especially those who have recently transitioned to a remote work platform due to COVID-19.
  2. Set auto screen locks on company devices to be enabled after five minutes.
  3. Make passwords strong and change them frequently.
  4. Protect Your Email. Enable spam filters and email encryption.
  5. Manage Physical Devices. Keep them in sight and encrypted.
  6. Create and implement Data Backup and Disaster Recovery programs
  7. Set-up Mobile Device Management (MDM) Software for Personal and Company Owned Devices
  8. Provide secure remote connectivity tools to access the company network (e.g. VPN)
  9. Control Access Levels of Your Employees
  10. All devices should have up-to-date software.
  11. All devices should have up-to-date antivirus.
  12. Mandate that only Admins are allowed to install software on the computers.
  13. Users should not have pirate applications, music, or videos on their computers.
  14. Set up Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)
  15. Provide consistent feedback and support for teleworkers.
  16. Acquire cyberliability Insurance
  17. Write and/or initiate  Remote Work and Bring-Your-Own-Device Polices

How can remote workers minimize security vulnerabilities?

An employer’s biggest concern is having remote workers introduce new vulnerabilities to the company network.  Melding home networks and personal equipment with the work environment is a complicated situation. Between weak company password policies, poorly secured home WiFi routers, and device sharing with family members there are numerous areas for hackers to penetrate a company’s network. Many businesses have a VPN setup to minimize risks, however there are still loopholes a hacker will find. The more security layers we can introduce into remote working environments, the safer everyone becomes.

The below points should be taken into consideration when reviewing a company’s security posture.

  1. Ensure employee’s Wi-Fi connection is secure.
  2. All devices should have up-to-date software.
  3. All devices should have up-to-date antivirus.
  4. Employees should not be allowed to download company files locally onto a personal device.
  5. Protect your physical devices.
  6. All business-related activities should be routed through the VPN.
  7. Require employees shred confidential information printed locally.

As always, should you need assistance or have any questions, BSSI is here to help. You can contact us at 740.475.1700.

Coronavirus Communications Templates

Accounting and Finance

Accounting

COVID-19 is an extraordinary event happening to businesses worldwide and should be accounted as such on our financial statements.

Why? (1) Accounting theory states we need to track one-time events, (such as this, hurricanes etc.), so when we analyze historical financial trends we can easily identify and understand the fluctuations.  In addition, by tracking separately, we can these numbers from the 2021 budgeting and comparatives. (2) With the stimulus packages being considered and the possibility of being supplied with government assistance and insurance availability, we want to be able to easily produce and clearly show expenses related to the pandemic. As an example, the SBA loan documents ask for a projected loss based on the pandemic

HOW? Simply add additional general ledger accounts labeled as such for expense tracking. COVID-19 costs that can be tracked in these specifically labeled accounts include cleaning supplies / cleaning company (did you add the service or additional cleaning) / added IT services (due to remote workers) / cost reimbursements (those now working from home, covering phone, paper, other office supplies), additional shipping / delivery costs, additional professional fees, inventory loss, and salary allocations for time spent on planning for and communicating about the Coronavirus and managing your team remotely.  You can capture any expenses you wouldn’t normally have so each company may have these, or others not listed.

https://www.yakesandassociates.com/

Finance

FocusCFO has provided resources regarding cash-flow forecasting, unemployment insurance, and financing to help guide small businesses during this time of crisis. To view the resources click here.

Mike Michalowicz has provided a Small Business Economic Crisis Financial Management Plan. The outline can be downloaded here.

Taxes

Tax Deadlines, Payments, and Credits

On Friday, March 20th the IRS announced that the April 15 filing deadline was going to be deferred until July 15, aligning the filing deadline with the extended payment deadline announced Wednesday, March 18th. They also announced that small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits. These tax credits are designed to immediately and fully reimburse them for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave to their employees. T

The Payment deadline states:

  • Individual taxpayers, regardless of filing status, with a tax liability of $1,000,000 or less may defer payment of that amount until July 15, 2020, without interest or penalty. - The liability threshold is the same for a single individual and married individuals filing a joint return.
  • Corporate taxpayers with a tax liability of $10,000,000 or less may defer payment of that amount until July 15, 2020, without interest or penalty. - The determination is made at the group level for larger corporate taxpayers.
  • Estimated income tax payments due April 15, 2020 are deferred until July 15, 2020, without interest or penalty.

The official announcement of the new filing date can be found here.

Announcement of the new tax credits can be found here

Q&A with a CPA

With these changes come many questions. A CPA who generously donated his time, provided the following Q&A to Cyberguard 360 who is allowing us to disperse this information. However, we strongly encourage you to contact your CPA for answers specifically regarding you and your business. They are best-suited to provide you the information and guidance that will help you.

Q: If I have not sent in my tax documents, how should I send these to my CPA or Accountant?

So as to ensure the health and safety of everyone, I encourage everyone who can, to submit their 2019 tax documents in an secure, electronic format.

Your accountant may have his or her own tools to facilitate that. Otherwise, fax them or use encrypted email to send them.

If you don’t have the ability to send encrypted email BSSI. We are here to help. Contact us at 740.745.0017.

Q: My tax documents are currently in the mail, what will happen to them? Also, I was planning to mail my documents next week, what should I do?

Your accountant has, most likely, made arrangements for the regular collection of mail at their offices. Contact them to find out what arrangements they’ve made. Make sure that they take necessary precautions so that no documents will be left unattended for an extended period and that this information is collected and processed in an expeditious manner.

Q: Will this impact the processing timing for the preparation of my return?

Many accountants have, or have made arrangements for the ability to work remotely. However, given the uncertainty of the virus’ spread, and the health of their staff being paramount the answer is probably. We encourage your patience as they navigate the fluidity of the current situation.

The silver lining is the extension of Tax Day to July 15th, meaning that any disruptions or delays will have no impact on your obligations to the government whatsoever.

Q: Where can I find the most up-to-date information on tax filing deadlines and changes?

Again, please reach out to your CPA or accountant if you have specific questions. Additionally, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (“AICPA”) has established a Coronavirus Resource Center and, as part of their efforts they are monitoring both state and Federal tax filing developments, They are updating their information daily and those updates are available on their website.

Additionally the IRS has setup a Coronavirus Tax Relief Page for tax related updates:  https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus

Leadership in Times of Crisis

Times of crisis present an opportunity to be a leader and not just for executives. Below we have gathered leadership resources for everyone from top-level execs to individual contributors.

  1. ActionCOACH Central Ohio is offering complimentary coaching sessions to business owners. To sign up visit,  https://heatheryakes.actioncoach.com/engage/
    Heather Yakes is an internationally recognized business coach—ranking in the Top 10 in the U.S. & Top 25 worldwide—an employee engagement expert, one of only 10 Adding Zeros Licensed Facilitators worldwide, and the owner of an award-winning ActionCOACH Business Coaching firm. Heather spent 20+ years leading multi-billion-dollar companies in strategy, growth, sales, operations, and team building, and she now specializes in working with business owners, executives, and their teams to achieve record-high performance and profits. Her clients experience an average of 50% growth in revenue and 135% growth in profits year over year.
    Email: heatheryakes@actioncoach.com
    Website: heatheryakes.actioncoach.com
    Phone: 740-808-8318
  2. Register for Greg Brenneman’s presentation on “Managing in Uncertain Times”. The presentation, which is normally $99, is currently free. Greg is known for turning around Continental Airlines, PwC, Burger King, and dozens of other firms.Access the presentation hereThere is a quick registration form – then you will be given several viewing options/times and one immediately (just click on the “select date” option). This was shot years ago, so not the highest quality video – but the content is priceless.
  3. Real Leaders magazine reached out to over 60 CEO’s how they are leading from home. Advice we found consistently through the article was to:
    1. Have constant communication
    2. Be transparent
    3. Be grateful
    4. Show empathy
    5. Engage your employees
    6. Keep having fun

    The article is long but well worth reading. It can be found here.

  4. This article provides five lessons for keeping your team together and performing well in a virtual environment.
    1. Lesson #1: No Trust, No Team.
    2. Lesson #2: Create a “High-Touch” Environment
    3. Lesson #3: Conduct Effective V-Meetings
    4. Lesson #4: Empower and Motivate Team Members
    5. Lesson #5: Soft Skills Are Essential
  5. Employee Leadership Opportunities
  6. Crisis Management Advice from Bizly chief strategy officer Kevin Iwamoto

Marketing During the Coronavirus

Marketing is going to look a lot different right now with COVID-19. It doesn’t necessarily mean you need to stop marketing, but you need to be aware of how you are marketing.

Sales

Sales calls could come across as insensitive to the current situation, creating a negative association to your brand. Not only that, but in some states, it might actually be illegal to make unsolicited sales calls to companies and consumers during a state of emergency.

Last December New York State passed the “Nuisance Call Act," prohibiting anyone from “knowingly making unsolicited sales calls to [anyone]……during a declared state of emergency.” This includes B2B calling.

Earlier this month, New York governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency due to the spread of the coronavirus in the state. Therefore any telemarketing or other unsolicited sales calls or text messaging to anyone in NY is illegal no matter if your business is located in New York or not. This declaration could last until September 7, 2020. Several other states have similar language in place. If you do business outside of Ohio, we recommend researching the telemarketing laws in those specific states in which you do business.

Marketing Strategy

Regardless of these laws, it is wise to reevaluate your current marketing strategy.

    1. Make sure any previously scheduled automated marketing is paused as to not appear tone deaf to what is going on in the world.
    2. Don’t stay silent. At the least, communicate with your employees and clients what is going on with your business operations. View our Coronavirus Communication templates generously provided by Krile Communications.
    3. Leverage your expertise. How can you be a resource to your clients and community?  Here are some examples of what other companies are doing.
      1. Zoom is providing resources on effective remote working and hosting virtual events.
      2. Grenzebach Glier and Associates is providing guidance on how to communicate with donors during this time.
    4. Create social experiences to stay connected with your employees and your clients.
      1. Gyms and fitness centers have been providing online classes.
      2. Beauty salons are posting makeup and hair tutorials and booking online facial consultations. Get creative!
      3. Additional examples here
    5. Lean into "The Why" of your company.
      1. Do Good.
      2. DON’T take advantage of the situation. Be a helping hand. We are all in this together.
    6. Think long-term
      1. First focus on what communication is needed now.
      2. Second begin thinking how the coronavirus will be affecting companies and consumers in the future. How can the digital marketing skills you are learning/implementing now be put into effect on a larger level in the future to help grow your business’s revenue.

BWC Updates

Insurance Premium Installments

Ohio’s Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) system is announcing that insurance premium installment payments due for March, April, and May for the current policy year may be deferred until June 1, 2020 due to COVID-19. At that time the matter will be reconsidered.

"BWC will not cancel coverage or assess penalties for amounts not paid because of the coronavirus pandemic," said Lt. Governor Husted. "Installment payments due for the three-month period are totaled at approximately $200 million, and that money will now stay in the economy."

Workers’ Compensation Claims

Generally, seasonal illnesses like the flu are not compensable through Ohio’s workers’ compensation system – at least in part because it is difficult to prove the employee caught the disease at work. However, where an employee’s job subjects them to a greater risk of harm than the general public (like a medical professional treating patients with COVID-19), a valid workers’ compensation claim may exist.

For questions about COVID-19’s effect on BWC, you can email BWCCOVID19@bwc.state.oh.us or visit bwc.ohio.gov.

The BWC FAQ can also be found here: BWC COVID-19 FAQ for Employers & Injured Workers

Ohio Chamber of Commerce Resources

The Ohio Chamber of Commerce has created a page on its website at ohiochamber.com/coronavirus-business-resources that:

  1. lists all current executive orders from Governor DeWine and his administration currently affecting businesses;
  2. any actionable programs or resources businesses and individuals can utilize immediately;
  3. any legislation pending or passed at the federal or state level that affects businesses or provides additional resources to help offset the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Human Resources

Health Insurance

All health insurers are required to provide the option of deferring premium payments, interest free, for up to 60 calendar days from each original premium due date. This means that employers can defer their premium payments up to two months, giving them some relief on costs, while keeping their employees insured. For more information, refer to Bullet 2020-03 Health Insurance Coverage Flexibility for Ohio Employees.

Unemployment

All Ohio employers planning a mass layoff or shutdown due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic should provide the following mass-layoff number – 2000180 – and the Instructional Sheet (Form JFS00671) to their employees to speed the processing of unemployment benefits.

COVID-19-affected claimants with otherwise valid applications for unemployment will be awarded benefits. While claimants must still meet the weekly requirements that they be able and available for work, the requirement that they actively search for work while receiving benefits has been waived.

COVID-19-affected contributory employers will receive regular monthly charge statements, but these charges will be charged to the mutual account and not the employer’s account.

Reimbursing employers will follow existing charging requirements under Ohio Revised Code Chapter 4141.

More ODJFS Coronavirus and Unemployment Insurance Benefits Information

Employers with questions can email: UCTech@jfs.ohio.gov

Coronavirus Scams

  1. COVID-19 presents a prosperous opportunity for Cybercriminals. Phishing emails, calls and texts are a few of the tools being used to take advantage of the coronavirus and people's fears.To protect yourself and your employer, please don’t be fooled.  We encourage everyone to perform due diligence above and beyond to minimize cybercrime opportunities. Download our checklist to help keep your company safe.
  2. The FBI has seen an increase in schemes related to the coronavirus. Among them are:
    1. Fake CDC Emails
    2. Phishing Emails asking people to verify personal information to:
      1. Receive an economic stimulus check from the government
      2. Receive charitable donations
      3. Get airline carrier refunds
      4. Provide general financial relief
      5. Provide cures and vaccines or Fake testing kits
    3. Counterfeit Treatments or Equipment.
      1. More information on unapproved or counterfeit Personal Protective Equipment can be found at www.cdc.gov/niosh.
      2. Report counterfeit products at www.ic3.gov and to the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center at iprcenter.gov.More information from the FBI can be found here. https://www.ic3.gov/media/2020/200320.aspx
  3. You can also report scams on the Better Business Bureau website or search “COVID-19” in the keyword search to see what scams are happening around this topic and near you.

BMV Updates

As of March 19, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) closed 181 BMV deputy registrar locations. Five locations will remain open to provide the following services ONLY:

  • Issuance of commercial driver licenses, or CDLs
  • Renewal of CDLs
  • All other services will be discontinued

Because of these BMV closures, Governor DeWine announced that he will work with the Ohio General Assembly to extend the expiration date of driver's licenses that are up for renewal. In the meantime, the Ohio State Highway Patrol will not issue tickets to drivers whose licenses expire while BMV's services are unavailable. Governor DeWine recommended that other law enforcement agencies in Ohio do the same.

Ohioans can still renew their vehicle registrations by mail or online at www.oplates.com, and BMV is currently working to provide other online service.

Five driver examination stations will also remain open to provide commercial knowledge tests only. Locations for the deputy registrar and the driver examination stations can be found here.

These locations will remain open to keep Ohio’s supply chain open and moving. Medical, cleaning, and food supplies are critical to the welfare of our citizens.

For frequently asked questions about the BMV closures visit their FAQ page here.

Coronavirus Education

The spread of correct, science-based information can help reduce people’s anxiety and help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Below we have supplied several reliable resources to help educate the public. Our hope is that you share this information with others.

Global Resilience Institute at Northeastern University

Northeastern University’s Global Resilience Institute, has just launched a short online course to develop the skills needed to be safe and to help others be safe regarding the coronavirus.

Click here to see the course: COVID-19: How to be Safe and Resilient

The course is accessible to the public and takes under an hour to complete. There are nine modules covering the following topics:

  1.   Introduction to Being Safe and Resilient
    2.    Mastering Washing Your Hands
    3.    Avoid Touching Your Face to Reduce Risk
    4.    Managing Your Household
    5.    Disinfecting Your Surfaces
    6.    Properly Using Masks and Gloves
    7.    Navigating Public Spaces
    8.    Staying Connected with Older Relatives, Neighbors, and Friends
    9.    Enhancing Community Resilience by Becoming a COVID-19 Leader

Center for Disease Control

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is one of the main authorities on COVID-19. Their site provides information on how the coronavirus spreads, how to protect, yourself, and how to protect others.

Symptoms of the Coronavirus:

These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

The CDC is also providing resources regarding the education, preparation, and response to the coronavirus for:

  1. Businesses and Employers
  2. Community and Faith-Based Organizations
  3. Schools and Childcare
  4. Travel

World Health Organization

The World Health Organization (WHO) is another authority on the coronavirus. They have provided an extensive Q&A list available here.

Ohio University Extended Bobcat Family

For those looking for a way to support our Bobcat students, consider contributing to COVID-19 Ohio University Student Emergency Fund. This fund will make Emergency Microgrants available to help students who are experiencing financial difficulty due to COVID-19 and COVID-19 response measures.

COVID-19 Microgrants will cover:

  • Technology and connectivity needs related to distance learning
    • Books and other instructional expenses
    • Tuition and instructional fees (for students with balances of $1,000 or less)
    • Housing/Rent/Utilities
    • Food/Groceries
    • Personal Automobile/Travel
    • Medical/Dental bills (cannot cover outstanding balances)
    • Childcare
    • Other emergency or unforeseen circumstances

Donors from across the country have already shown how connected Ohio alumni are - taking care of each other no matter where they end up after leaving OHIO's campus. Regardless of a donation or location, share a video message or post with fellow Bobcats using #BobcatsTakeCare to spread a kind message or reassuring words.

For more information on Ohio University and the Coronavirus please visit: ohio.edu/coronavirus

Comic Relief

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Even though COVID-19 has the world in some uncertain times, there is still some humor to be found. This article has compiled several hilarious tweets on people’s new experiences as they learn how to work from home. Working from home - tweets to make you smile.

Enjoy some of these memes. We hope they bring a smile to your face.

If there is anything we can do to help your business, please let us know. You can contact us at 740.475.1700.

Disclaimer and Legal Notices:

While all attempts have been made to verify the information provided on this page, the author nor the publisher assumes any responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, or omissions.  Before implementing these strategies, you must be aware of the various laws governing business transactions or other business practices in your particular geographic location and industry.  These resources are not intended for use as a source of legal, accounting, or employment practices advice.  In all cases, you should consult the services of a professional, licensed attorney in all matters pertaining to the operation and delivery of your business and services.