When disaster strikes, will your business be prepared?

Disaster preparedness involves answering the question: How would a disaster affect your business? If you’re not sure, it’s time to start planning. Here’s a quick look at how you can prepare beforehand, and what relief might be available afterward.

  • BEFORE DISASTER STRIKES

Identify key issues. Bring together managers of key areas and brainstorm on the critical steps needed to recover from a disaster. Consider at least two scenarios: a company-specific event such as a fire that affects only your business, and a regional disaster that affects the whole area. Since you can’t anticipate every need, your goal is to identify key issues and make basic preparations.

Establish a communications protocol. Think about how you’ll communicate with employees, vendors, and customers. At a minimum, each manager should have a contact list for key employees. Include phone numbers and personal email addresses.

Backup company records. Identify essential company records and know how you’ll access them. Make sure backups of your electronic information are stored in a safe location off-site. You may also need paper backups of certain key information in case of a power blackout. Create a master list of federal, state, and city tax information, bank account passwords, account number and login information, and insurance policy numbers.

Review your insurance. Meet with your agent and review the scope and dollar limits of your coverage. Discuss business interruption insurance. Make sure you understand your coverage.

  • AFTER DISASTER STRIKES

Apply for relief assistance. Know the steps required to apply for insurance reimbursements and federal disaster loans or grants.

Take advantage of tax breaks. Your business may qualify for a casualty loss deduction. If you’re in a Presidentially declared disaster area, you have the option of claiming the deduction against your prior year’s taxes for a faster refund.

Other tax benefits include extended due dates and penalty relief. Contact us for tax advice on your specific situation.

About Brenda J. McGivern, CPA

Brenda McGivern started her own certified public accounting and management consulting firm in October 2001. The full service CPA firm provides tax and accounting solutions to meet the needs of today's small business and individual. Brenda McGivern has become a trusted advisor and valuable resource her clients rely on for timely, accurate assistance when they need it. Before starting the firm, she worked as an accountant for three years at a local firm and prior to that five years at a large international CPA firm in Boston. She has performed the following tax services: federal, state and local tax planning, international tax planning, estate and succession planning, mergers and acquisitions, capital retention and IRS representation. She has also coordinated assurance engagements, such as financial statement audits, reviews and compilations from the planning phase through the reporting phase. She has prepared and reviewed regulatory filings for numerous regulatory agencies including the Security and Exchange Commission. Prior to these positions she was selected from over 2,000 candidates into an eight-person intensive financial management program at an international technology company. The program consisted of graduate level classroom study and two six-month rotational assignments in financial operations. She graduated cum laude from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting. McGivern also holds a license in Massachusetts as a Certified Public Accountant and is a member of the American Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants. She resides in Stoughton, Massachusetts with her husband Brian, and their sons Sean, Ryan and Conor and their dog, Davis.
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