Putting it back together

Here it is February already and I am still pondering about the balance of 2021 and 2022.  I must confess that the Short Squeeze on Game Stop that took place last week kind of scared me because I could see it causing some major player to go BK and start the ball rolling like it did in 2007 or 2008 or whenever it was. When I hear a hedge fund CEO say “I only have a billion left” I cannot imagine what he lost in the process. “What’s in your wallet”?

An item to clean up.

#1 Both PPP1 and PPP2 forgiveness amounts are NOT taxable. They finally figured it out when issuing guidance re PPP2. If you received PPP1 using your 2019 payroll data, you can duplicate that for PPP2 if you opt in to use 2019 numbers. Makes it easy. But do not forget you have to prove you need it with a Quarter in 2020 that had 25% less revenues than it did in 2019.

What popped into my mind for this month was the Humpty Dumpty rhyme because he had a great fall. Do not ask me why it did it just did. But the end of the rhyme is the most important because “all the Kings horses and all the Kings men couldn’t put Humpty together again! Could many businesses be facing the same result post-pandemic?

Why would that be?

Because every business must recreate a game plan going forward after working in a disrupted environment for the last 12 months or so. Things have changed. People have changed. Customers have changed. Vendors have changed. And throw in a $15 minimum wage into the mix. Things could get interesting as well as challenging.

Even if you experienced a “good” year in terms of revenue generation opportunities it was probably tough to convert those transactions into a profit margin you were used to. The workflow was most likely irregular, or non-existent, or just finalized the best way you could. But you cannot do that any longer because it will put a permanent toll on the company. And the competition will not allow you that indulgence if you hope to get back your competitive edge.

Time to get your organization chart out of the drawer to start filling in the blanks to replicate your position starting in 2020. Now go back and dig out the same chart from 2015 and 2000. Next, do a headcount by the department and see how they compare. Same number as in 2000- probably not good unless you expanded your operation thus requiring additional staff. The same number as 2015 – needs further review. The reason being that the technology strong competitors (lower headcount) will be able to operate in your market with lower prices and easier business practices which customers today are looking for.

To see where you stand, I would suggest you formalize a Return-to-Work program with input from your legal, insurance, and other professionals. Assess the risks and decide how to protect all parties involved. Avoid the risk. Control the risk. Transfer the risk. (I always like the last option best).

Next, I would schedule an appointment with a senior person related to the industry-specific business system you are using. Have them come in to review ALL the options available on their system, especially those that help manage time, communication with customers and employees, and data dives that reflect operating results by revenue silo, techs, drivers, and other data that will assist in comparing results to prior periods and against the current market. Many of you will be amazed how much you are not using, and eventually what it is costing you to not do so. And if our vendor cannot provide this service start looking for a new system because some of your competitors have high technology efficiency quotients you do not want to compete against.

To make all this work, no matter where you fall regarding the technology score, someone needs to have the technical expertise along with a job description demanding a high level of data analysis to assist management with marketing schemes, email blasts, revenue silo results analysis, revenue/cost relationships including KPI’s, etc. This may even be a full-time job or maybe a 50-75% job. And if you do not have this person under your tent presently, I suggest (like I have in the past) to find a young recent graduate who is familiar with business accounting and technology and let them loose on your system as they experience the training they need to put it all together again. (the end of the last sentence repeats the end of the Humpty dilemma, but I bet many of you would have caught on).

We are on the verge of entering into the Fourth Industrial Revolution where the ability to work with, control, and maintain is 100% required. Better to get a head start on it now and rebuild your current business entity.

One last thing. I read a piece by Edward Gordon titled JOB SHOCK which defines the workplaces of the future, and it is not a pretty picture. They have provided approval to make this paper available and it will be on the MHW website. You must read it and pass it along to younger members of your families who may be looking for some guidance regarding future work opportunities.

Garry Bartecki is a CPA MBA with GB Financial Services LLC. E-mail editorial@mhwmag.com to contact Garry

Author: Garry Bartecki

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