By Kelli Comegys, PICPA business development manager
In the spring and early summer, the PICPA offered a series of virtual corporate finance roundtables. The meetings are part of the efforts of PICPA’s Corporate Cabinet to improve connections among our members in corporate finance through online forums and local events. The sessions were designed for CPAs in industry to discuss issues and trends in corporate accounting and finance on a quarterly basis. The summer roundtables, which were held June 15, June 16, June 18, June 23, and July 30 focused on the unforeseen disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic and how finance teams are innovating and adapting.
Tim Reiste was the host of South Central Chapter's virtual
corporate finance roundtable. Pictured above Reiste in this
screen capture are (l to r) John Pyne, Brenton Way,
Anthony Smith, Jeffrey Laird, and LeeAnn Stump.
More than 15 members participated, as well as
several PICPA staff members.
A total of 47 corporate CPAs came together over the five sessions thus far, as well as six PICPA staff members (including myself!) to help facilitate the discussions. Our first session, promoted to corporate CPAs in the South Central Chapter, was graciously hosted by Tim Reiste of Burnham Holdings. The one-hour get-together drew 14 CPAs from an array of industries, from manufacturing and construction to nonprofit and entertainment and many more. The following four sessions this summer were hosted by Franki Aitkin of Berks County Community Foundation in Reading Chapter, Justin Buschman of INRange Systems in Erie Chapter, Diane Spears of Benco Dental in Northeastern Chapter, and Kathleen Rue of YWCA of Bucks County in Greater Philadelphia Chapter.
Despite the diversity of backgrounds of our corporate members, our first set of roundtables had the unifying issue of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent disaster inflicted upon the economy to discuss and share observations. Generally, attendees of the five sessions all got to discuss how their businesses were affected, the various government assistance programs, how the crisis has made an impact on their reporting and metrics, changes on their day-to-day operations, how their forecasting may have been altered, and if they’ve made any adjustments to vendor payments.
When the topic of the virus’s impact on their businesses’ operations arose, most shared that, at least in the short term, their cash flow situation seemed to be OK. They are, however, concerned about the implications long term. Some have made the decision to take short-term hits to solidify their customer relationships moving forward. There was also some uncertainty as to how the mass telecommuting experience would affect areas such as real estate and office space rentals.
When it came to some of the assistance being offered by the government, Greater Philadelphia Chapter roundtable attendees discussed the pros and cons of the different economic stimulus programs offered to employers, such as Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and the Employee Retention Credit. Participants in the Erie Chapter roundtable shared that they found working with small banks on government assistance programs, such as the PPP loans, was easier than working with larger banks. It was not made clear what, if any, effect this will have on their banking relationships going forward.
Some in attendance wanted to know when their peers were considering bringing their workforce back to their physical location. Generally speaking, the consensus was that most would continue their work-at-home routine indefinitely until it was clearly safe to gather together again.
We at the PICPA, too, will continue our corporate roundtables virtually until it is clearly safe to hold them in person … and we can hardly wait! That said, we have our next virtual roundtable for corporate members scheduled in the Central Chapter on Sept. 9. If you are a CPA in business and industry in the central counties of Pennsylvania, please take an hour from 12:00 to 1:00 to join us. If you are interested, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For all our corporate CPAs who missed the roundtable in their region, have no regrets! We will be scheduling more, and we would be thrilled if you could join us. Continue to check PICPA’s Changing Role of the CFO and Controller webpage or your chapter’s webpage, and we’ll post upcoming roundtables as they are scheduled.
Get together with an even greater number of CPAs in corporate finance. Register right now for PICPA's Aug. 11 online CFOs and Controllers Conference.
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