BALTIMORE (WJZ) — As small businesses try to keep their companies afloat amid the coronavirus pandemic, many are turning to banks and accountants, keeping those in the financial industry busy.
Typically around this time of year, accountants are frantically trying to make the April 15 tax filing deadline. Even though that deadline has been extended to July 15 this year, they’re still busy now, helping clients navigate the challenging economic crisis caused by COVID-19.
“We have a number of clients who are in the ‘essential’ business category who are still up and running, but their primary concern aside from the health and well being of their team (is) will they ultimately get paid?” Jeff Rosen, co-managing partner of accounting firm RS&F, said.
Accountants are trying to accommodate small business owners who are increasingly turning to them seeking guidance about loans and other options.
“The advice that they give and the advice that we seek from them is really critical to our being able to move forward, particularly now during this crisis,” said David Nevins, the president of Towson-based public relations firm Nevins and Associates.
Many small business owners across the country are racing to secure their portion of the $349 billion made available by the Paycheck Protection Program, which was created as part of the coronavirus stimulus package officially known as the CARES Act.
The money is available to qualifying small businesses to help them survive the pandemic, but it hasn’t been all smooth sailing.
“There were a lot of challenges in its rollout,” Rosen said. “We’ve been helping clients through it.”
On top of it all, RS&F is still dealing with tax returns.
“We’re still keeping our foot down on the pedal in terms of getting regular tax filings done,” Rosen said. “In the case where people are getting refunds, they want them back.”
Amid the uncertainty, accounting firms are a lifeline for many small business owners.
“Right now, we are in a collective partnership — in the case of our clients, we tell them you never would have called your banker or your landlord or other vendor — you would never call them your partners, but in this environment, they’re your partners,” Rosen said.
For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.
By Amy Kawata