Pandemic or Nothing Burger?

The pandemic was a world-wide tragedy, a national tragedy and local tragedies everywhere, thousands of people died. It was terrible. The deaths were serious and I’m not making light of any of the genuine tragedies (i.e., retirement homes), but from my perspective, much of the tragedy could have been avoided with better qualified people running those cities & states. The nursing home fiasco was a tragedy. I read recently they accounted for 85% of all deaths. The average barber where I live would be better at running a  government than the people actually running the cities & states. Look at what’s going on in Seattle, New York, Chicago & other cities. Crime & homelessness were pretty big problems in those states & cities already, and now a lot of those cities may not survive. I’m reading about people abandoning big cities. I don’t blame them, but I hope they don’t move here. (Please God, not here.)

Real estate values are dropping in the cities and rising out here where I live. I have the best of all worlds. I have a national 7 figure practice with clients in 46 states & 5 countries, but I live in a spectacular paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. I have a spectacular view from my home, and I’m thinking about putting a $5 million price tag on it and seeing what happens.

For our firm, for all intents & purposes, the pandemic turned out to be a nothing burger.  We were actually busier during pandemic than we’ve ever been. PPP loans kept us busier than one armed paper hangers. That’s a gift that’s going to keep on giving until they’ve all been forgiven.

When pandemic happened, we just picked up a computer & a couple of monitors and took them home. We didn’t lose a day. We expected the biggest problem would be keeping everyone connected, but in the end, we probably over connected. We managed great with Microsoft Teams, Textus, email, regular texts & the old, reliable telephone. I recommend them all. We also kept sent numerous email newsletters to our clients to keep everyone in the loop. Some of them are so happy with us they sent us boxes of candy. (Thank you, we love you.) Believe it or not, sometimes we over communicated. There were times when all the incoming sounded like a machine gun. But such is the price of working with a great staff and a great clientele.

The biggest problem with going fully virtual was actually an unexpected benefit when the schools closed, because everyone was already at home. Today, we are all back at the office, but now everyone has the option of working from home whenever they want. Sometimes there are two or three kids running around the office. But we’ve always been a noisy office, so it works.

I read a survey about how CPA firms are handling everything. My take is about half are doing fine and the rest are not going broke. We have been virtual for years with everything in place. We don’t have very many clients in this very great place where we live, most of them are somewhere else. I’ve been trying to buy practices, and very few good practices are for sale. My gut feeling is very few weathered the storm as well as we did, but very few have already gone broke.  We’ll see how it all breaks over the rest of the year as the economy shakes itself out.

If you’re a CPA and want to sell your practice, get in touch with me. You can save the commission.

For us, we’re happy and optimistic. But this is no time to get sloppy.

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