Between the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and economic uncertainty, everything may seem to be changing rapidly. As a business owner, these changes can have large implications for your company and the communities you serve. The good news is that there are things that are within your power.
Utilize Banking Deposit Options
You still have a number of deposit options at your disposal during this time. Many institutions’ drive-up locations remain open and you can deposit checks at an ATM, but there are also digital options for banking. If you have a check you need to deposit, you can use mobile deposit through your banking app and for higher check volumes, or connect with your banker about options for renting a remote deposit check scanner.
Consider Online and Mobile Banking Solutions
Most financial institutions offer online banking and business bill pay. If you aren’t already taking advantage of these options, you should consider them, as they can help minimize financial disruptions to your business.
Understanding the different options for paying your bills is important as well. ACH transactions move money electronically through a clearing house that transfers funds from bank to bank and a wire can move money in real time. Regardless of your method, be sure to confirm the recipient before initiating any transaction.
If you move to takeout orders or e-commerce during this time, you will want to consider that you need to handle credit card or PayPal transactions. This may change your pricing, require you to remit taxes in a different way for out-of-state orders or involve additional software or hardware.
Protect Your Business from Fraud
As always, fraud is a real risk to your business. It’s important to be vigilant at this time and verify all transactions via phone with a trusted contact. While it can be tricky with remote work and other accommodations, it is still important to keep dual controls in place for ACH, wire and bill pay, which will also help reduce the risk of human error.
If you, or any employees, take sensitive documents or information home including banking statements or proprietary client information, please ensure that these documents are kept in a safe, locked place until they can be returned to the office.
Article You May Be Interested In: Seven Steps to Prevent Business Fraud
Create a Plan for Cash Flow
Having a clear plan will enable you to better manage your cash flow. When developing your plan, it can be helpful to consider your money needs falling into one of three buckets: short term outlook, mid-term planning and long-term spending. Then think about what changes you might need to account for to see past the next three months.
Explore Available Relief Options
For businesses in the commonwealth of Massachusetts, new tax relief measures were announced on March 18th. These measures include postponing the collection of regular sales tax, meals tax, and room occupancy taxes for March, April and May until June 20th. Additionally, all penalties and interest that would otherwise apply will be waived.
If you own a small business or non-profit, are unable to pay your ordinary and necessary operating expenses due to the crisis, and are located in a declared disaster area, you may also be eligible for a loan from the SBA. Visit their website to learn more about your available options.
We also encourage any business owner who is facing financial difficulty to reach out to their banking officer to learn if their financial institution has any special programs in place. At Rockland Trust, we have developed temporary relief options that will be available to most customers.
Remember that You Are Not Alone
We understand how quickly things are changing for your business. Here are a few websites that are updated regularly and may be helpful to you in the coming weeks:
If you have questions or want to discuss options, now more than ever, we are all facing a similar reality. At Rockland Trust, our business banking officers are here to help you navigate through these difficult times. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions or concerns.
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