Blog & Newsroom

Posts By: Robin Baum, CPA, Managing Partner

As we re-open our economy after 16 long months of closure due to the global pandemic, business owners have been forced to pivot in many different areas in order to survive. Looking back at the seemingly split-second decisions many businesses were forced to make, what are the long-term takeaways that will influence your future business operations?

Since last March, our world dramatically changed in many ways! Based upon all of the changes that have been thrust upon us, what have we learned about the following areas of concern that we may not have thought about pre-COVID, regardless of age?

    • If I am unable to communicate on my own, do I have all of the necessary legal documents in place to address my wishes? Do I have a will? Do I need a trust?

    • Have I thought about my healthcare wishes if I become unable to make my own medical decisions? Do I have a Living Will and Healthcare Power of Attorney in place?

On Dec. 21, Congress passed the long awaited $900 billion COVID stimulus deal. The legislation called, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, is expected to be quickly signed by President Trump. It is intended to help families and small businesses that are continuing to be adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the past month, many of our clients and referral sources have asked if we have re-opened our office.

The short answer is that is yes, we are open for business and available to meet with our clients. The longer answer to the question addresses many other issues including our greatest resource - our people.

When the pandemic quarantine began in mid-March, Zinner & Co. quickly pivoted to continue to address our client needs, frankly, at the busiest time of the year for our tax practice. We sent our staff home and connected everyone through secured methods to our office servers. We even found a way to keep our tax season interns on staff while many other firms discontinued all internship programs at time.

Over the past few weeks, some of our local commercial lenders have slowly begun to open their online portals to allow those businesses who received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans to file their applications to obtain forgiveness of the debt related to qualified expenses.

While the loan application process was a heated fury of business owners rushing to obtain the much needed funds so that they could continue to employ and pay their employees, retain health insurance coverage and pay their rent, the loan forgiveness process seems to be occurring at much less of an accelerated rate. Although credit should go to the Small Business Administration for issuing some guidance to the lenders who have extended these loans, not all the related questions have been answered.

Having been a CPA for over 30 years, I can honestly say that the last three months of my career have been some of the most challenging, but also some of the most rewarding. 

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way that all of us work and also how we see the world.  For many years, I cherished the role of being my clients “most trusted advisor.” This meant I provided financial counsel related to income and estate tax matters and assisted in management consulting projects to help business owners maximize their profits. While all of these types of engagements brought value to the business owner, little did I know 2020 would transform my role to becoming a “front line” worker.

Based on presentation by Robin Baum at the 2016 Cleveland Boy Scout Estate Planning Seminar. Article submission to the Ohio Probate Law Journal