5 practical steps for small business resiliency
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5 practical steps for small business resiliency

Oct 24, 2021 · 3 min read · AICPA Insights Blog

The COVID-19 pandemic spotlighted many aspects of our society and economy, including the importance of small businesses to the health of local communities and the global marketplace. CPAs have helped small businesses navigate through extreme uncertainty as they’ve struggled to stay afloat throughout the pandemic.

Small businesses still need you as they shift from the initial rapid response and recovery efforts to building resiliency and sustainability. We’re here for you with a helpful Small Business Resiliency hub.

Here are five ways you can help small businesses adapt and thrive:

1. Provide trusted advice on tax legislation changes and updates

As a trusted adviser, you are the ideal person to guide your clients or business through the U.S. government economic relief programs and any related loan forgiveness. Soon, there could be new federal tax legislation, providing additional opportunities for you to continue being that trusted adviser.

You can turn to the AICPA Town Hall Series webcasts for the latest information on proposed legislation, federal business relief programs and practical guidance to help you understand and respond to the most pressing issues the accounting profession faces. In the town halls, you’ll get:

  • Critical updates on legislation and policies.

  • Real-time interpretation and analysis.

  • Insights into marketplace trends.

  • Reviews of technical developments in all areas of the profession.

  • Practical strategies for sustainable business practices, including resources and tools available to you.

And it doesn’t hurt that live sessions equal one free CPE credit.

2. Increase your knowledge of cybersecurity

Cyber risk management is no longer a nice-to-have; it’s a must-have. Throughout the long months of the pandemic, many people have been shopping online and working remotely. Most businesses have adopted tech solutions to support their employees working from home. This, unfortunately, is providing more opportunities for cybercriminals.

To implement a sound cybersecurity risk mitigation strategy for your small business clients or employer, consider:

  • Completing an inventory of their systems and controls.

  • Reviewing and remodeling their technology supply chain.

  • Developing an incident response plan that includes staff training and data protection procedures.

Don’t forget to do this for your firm as well! Check out these cybersecurity resources as you mitigate cyber risks for you and your clients.

3. Offer strategic ideas for addressing cash flow

From meeting payroll and accounts payable obligations to managing receivables and facilities, small businesses are especially vulnerable to cash flow-related concerns. Over half of the CPAs we recently surveyed said resources on cash flow management are very relevant to small businesses.

With your financial expertise, consider offering scenario planning so small businesses can learn how to appropriately respond to “what if” situations and identify key drivers that negatively affect their cash flow.

You can also help small businesses focus on meeting customers’ needs, as well as revamp existing cash flow models to help them weather any future economic uncertainty.

4. Retain talent by embracing a hybrid workforce

Attracting and retaining staff is one of small businesses’ greatest challenges. Burnout, resignations and backlogs have led to a nationwide phenomenon known as the Great Resignation. High turnover rates can significantly affect small businesses’ sustainability.
You can help small businesses develop relevant human capital management strategies, addressing issues such as back-to-office procedures and work-from-home protocols. You can also help small businesses explore hybrid working, which lets them hire more remote workers, broaden their talent pool and create an environment that is more conducive to talent retention.
You’ll find other tips for strengthening workforce resiliency in the FM article, How CFOs can incorporate resilience in their plans: Workforce.

5. Review and redesign the supply chain

The pandemic’s effect on global logistics affects vendors and customers, making supply chain management a key sustainability concern for small businesses. Shipping containers have been unable to dock and postal deliveries have been delayed. It can be difficult for small businesses to keep up with logistics-related costs and procedures.

You can help small businesses address supply chain restrictions by using existing business data to:

  • Explore agile costing and manufacturing models.

  • Identify specific supply chain vulnerabilities.

  • Establish alternative sourcing options.

  • Develop new models that account for changes in supply and demand.

To overcome challenges, small businesses are looking for an adviser to answer their questions and offer practical guidance. You can help them. We can help you. The Small Business Resiliency hub is your one-stop shop for free and paid resources.

Lisa Simpson, CPA, CGMA

Lisa is Vice President — Firm Services for the AICPA. She leads the Private Companies Practice Section (PCPS) team in the development of practice management tools that address topics most important to firm owners. Lisa and her team develop and foster relationships with firms of all sizes, including through the AICPA’s Major Firms Group and Group of 400 initiatives as well as networking groups for small firms. Lisa began her career with EY gaining audit and tax experience in her six years with the firm. She then worked for a small firm in Lexington, Kentucky for five years. Lisa has 20+ years of industry experience as well, having served as the CFO for non-profit and for-profit organizations before joining the AICPA in 2012. Lisa graduated from Eastern Kentucky University and is licensed as a CPA in NC and KY.

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