COVID-19 Impact on the Accounting Industry

BREAKING NEWS: David and Blake record a special episode to make sense of the rapidly changing coronavirus and COVID-19 news impacting the accounting industry.

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David Leary:You can't wipe your butt or sterilize your hands with gold. It's toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Those are the- that's the gold, currently. 

Blake Oliver:  I would love to see something come out from the AICPA talking about this, encouraging firms, encouraging partners to enable remote work. If you don't have the tech, I understand, but if you have the ability to do it, then let them work remotely for their sake and for your sake. Most of these partners are probably baby boomers, who are more susceptible to the diseastransactions
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Blake Oliver:  [00:00:39] Welcome to The Cloud Accounting Podcast. I'm Blake Oliver. 
 
David Leary: [00:00:42] And I'm David Leary. Crazy week, Blake. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:00:45] You always say that, and it really was a crazy week. It's Thursday, March 12. The President gave a speech from the Oval Office to the nation last night. Can I just run down some quick stats of where we're at – frame the discussion we're gonna have? 
 
David Leary: [00:01:01] 5:00 p.m. Pacific on March 12 – where are we? 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:01:04] Okay, so worldwide, 134,000 cases of coronavirus with almost 5,000 deaths – 4,970. In the U.S., we have 1,680 and 40 deaths reported, but we all know that the number of cases is likely much larger than that because we don't have enough tests to test everybody, and there are just simply lots of people who don't have symptoms, so they don't get tested. What else is going on? Worst day for stocks since the 1987 crash. The S&P 500 is down 27 percent from its high. The Dow is down 29 percent, I wanna say? 
 
David Leary:         [00:01:51] Well, the Dow finished at, what? 21,000? If I remember, recently, the Dow hit 30,000, right? It was a big, historical thing, and it was somewhat recent, I think. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:01:58] Yeah. The highs were back in February. 
 
David Leary: [00:02:01] Okay. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:02:01] So, everything's getting canceled. March Madness, NBA, NHL, MLB, Disneyland ... The churches are not going to be having services. I live in Los Angeles, and the rumor is that L.A.-USD is going to announce that they're closing after tomorrow; as have other school districts. We've had one death here in L.A. County, and we've got cases here. So, that's the precaution. 
 
David Leary: [00:02:27] My kids' spring break starts tomorrow, so, I'm assuming, here in Tucson, anyways, they'll ride that out, then make a decision at the end of next week, possibly. I think everything's gonna shut down for at least 14 days to balance out this curve. I think since we were talking about canceling stuff, we could kinda talk about how it affects us. Accounting shows- 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:02:49] Yes. 
 
David Leary: [00:02:49] -some conferences have been getting canceled this week. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:02:52] That's good that you're bringing that up because I just wanted to frame the discussion with some of those overall stats. The purpose of this special episode is not to give you the information about coronavirus, like, in general. You can go get that wherever you want ... We're gonna talk about how it's affecting the accounting industry specifically. That's what we wanna cover today. So, yeah, conferences are getting canceled. 
 
David Leary: [00:03:15] Oracle NetSuite was in Las Vegas. That was around April 20. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:03:20] Yeah, SuiteWorld. 
 
David Leary: [00:03:21] SuiteWorld, and- 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:03:22] That's been rescheduled, right? 
 
David Leary: [00:03:24] That's been rescheduled til mid-August, I think. Then, just today, Accountex UK just got canceled, and that's rescheduled out to November. In Sydney ... There's a lot of chatter about this on Twitter- the Accounting Business Expo takes place in Sydney, March 25 and 26. They have a statement from 16 hours ago that says they're still gonna host the event. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:03:48] Really? 
 
David Leary: [00:03:48] But it's questioned, because, at this point, everything's getting canceled; but this event's still – as we record – is still listed on- as going. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:03:56] Yeah, I don't think they're gonna be able to keep that going. 
 
David Leary: [00:04:00] Speaking of canceled, remember last time we recorded, I was gonna go to Tel Aviv. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:04:04] Oh, yeah. You were headed over to the Melio headquarters, right? 
 
David Leary: [00:04:09] Yes. I was a mile from the airport; literally, I had to have my wife pull over because I got a phone call, and they said don't come because, basically, Israel, right then, was deciding to quarantine everybody for 14 days, no matter what country you were coming from 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:04:23] Wow. 
 
David Leary: [00:04:24] So, if I would've got on that plane, I probably would not be back in the States- I would be in a big mess right now- 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:04:31]  Yeah. 
 
David Leary: [00:04:31] -so, thankfully, my managers at Melio realized, and made the correct call at the last minute. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:04:37] Well, that's good. So, accounting conferences are canceled, which is the safe thing to do, right? Because the way this pandemic works is counterintuitive. It spreads exponentially. What do I mean by that? This is something that's kinda foreign to us accountants because we're used to very linear growth in a lot of cases. When we do financial projections for folks, we're not typically doing it exponentially, unless maybe we're doing something- a model for a SaaS company, or something like that. Usually, we're projecting five percent growth annually, or something like that. 
 
[00:05:10] With this disease, the reproductive rate, which is the scientific way of describing how quickly it reproduces and how many people each person will infect ... The reproductive rate of the seasonal flu is in the low 1.0-somethings, right? Let's say it's 1.3. This has a reproductive rate of 2.3- maybe 2.6; we're not really sure, but it's over 2. That means that if you get sick, David, you're gonna give it to at least two other people, on average. That very quickly multiplies. If you have one infected person, that becomes two, which becomes four, which becomes eight, which becomes 16, and 32; 64, 128, and so on. Then, you're in the hundreds; then, you're very quickly in the thousands. 
 
[00:06:00] That's why everyone's freaking out so much about this because we've got 1,600 cases here in the U.S., so that could very easily become 3,000-something, and then 6,000, and so on, right? Then, we've got 12,000 ... There's projections that show that if we don't do anything about this, we'll have over 1.4 million people infected by April 30. 
 
David Leary: [00:06:25] Yeah. That's if nobody does anything, right? If everybody carried on as normal; if we still have all the conferences; people are taking plane flights; everybody was interacting as normal – that would be the case. But- 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:06:35] Yeah. Maybe ... Well, I've seen a few different models. I made my own, by the way. The one that I made, and I'll have a link to it in the show notes, doesn't account for any mitigation in one of the scenarios. In that case, though, the only difference is it takes another week for us to get ... If you do low mitigation, it only takes maybe another week to get to the unmitigated scenario. 
 
David Leary: [00:07:01] All right, so it's kind of delaying it, right? 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:07:03] Yeah, yeah. We need to do a lot right now to stop it. It's absolutely essential that we do as much as we can right now to stop it. 
 
David Leary: [00:07:10] Yeah, and I think that term that's been thrown out there is "flattening the curve." I do have an article I found that was: "The Case for Canceling Everything." It was in The Atlantic. They talked about the only measure that's been effects is extreme social distancing, right? 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:07:24] Mm-hmm. 
 
David Leary: [00:07:24] People just not interacting ... The scary part is if we don't flatten out the curve, it could just overwhelm the healthcare system. They can only handle so many patients a day. Maybe the amount of infections is still large, but if you can stretch it out over 25 days, instead of four days, it's just gonna be easier to manage for everybody involved. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:07:46] Yeah, and that's why so many people are dying in Italy right now is that all the ventilators that you have to use to keep the sickest people alive are occupied. So, if you get really sick, you're not getting medical care. They don't even have enough hospital beds in some cases. That's the critical thing is that we stretch this thing out. We're not gonna be able to prevent most people from getting infected, but if they get infected more slowly, then we can care for the people who do, and that reduces the death rate dramatically. 
 
[00:08:11] It's true – only a small percentage, if you get medical care, will actually die. It could be as low as 0.7 percent; I think that's what the situation is in Singapore. That's because everybody's getting top-quality medical care there because they don't have a lot of cases. That makes a big difference – don't overwhelm the medical system. If we don't do anything, and we have 1.4 million cases by April 30, then, if we even have a low death rate of one percent, that's a lot of people- 
 
David Leary: [00:08:44] It's still 10X more than the flu, I think, yeah, if it's at one percent- 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:08:47] 140,000 people, yeah. I'm wondering how many accounting firms- it's busy season, right? How many firms are still having their staff come to the office? It seems like- I don't have any numbers on this; I kinda wanna do a survey ... It seems like, when I read online, people are making black-humor jokes about it that this is still happening- 
 
David Leary: [00:09:08] I think there's two universes, right? There's all the tech companies have told all their employees to work from home. Any company that can, they've told their employees to work from home. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:09:18] Facebook, Google, Twitter- 
 
David Leary: [00:09:20] In theory, accounting firms could do that- 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:09:23] Yeah. 
 
David Leary: [00:09:23] -because it's not physically producing something, but you're not seeing that messaging come down from the accounting firms. I even saw an article, where somebody- I wanna say in Deloitte, in The Philippines, has confirmed ... So, they have employees that have confirmed infections. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:09:39] And they're still at the office? 
 
David Leary: [00:09:40] I don't know if they're still at the office, that person, but, in general ... They're not sending everybody home. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:09:45] Yeah. 
 
David Leary: [00:09:45] We're not hearing anything from the Big Fours on that front ... At least, I think if they announced it like that, it would bubble up to make the news. 
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Blake Oliver:  [00:10:54] I'm curious to know, do you work ... If you're listening, do you work at an accounting firm, where people are still coming into the office, business as usual? Most firms are set up, especially if they have audit folks who go out and audit ... You're set up with a computer, and you can work on a VPN; you can work remotely. It's just a matter of are the partners willing to let people do that? 
 
[00:11:14]  I would love to see something come out from the AICPA talking about this, encouraging firms, encouraging partners to enable remote work. I mean, if you don't have the tech, I understand, but if you have the ability to do it, then let them work remotely for their sake, and for your sake. Most of these partners are probably baby boomers, who are more susceptible to the disease, and don't forget the clients, too, right? You don't want clients coming in and getting sick. 
 
[00:11:43]  The AICPA was pretty quick, actually. They issued a statement yesterday. This is on the AICPA website. The release is titled: " AICPA Calls for Tax Filing Relief Amid Coronavirus Pandemic." I'll just read the beginning of this. "The American Institute of CPAs today called for the Treasury Department and the IRS to provide relief to all taxpayers, in light of the uncertainty and challenges caused by the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, we request the Treasury and the IRS consider the following recommendations, which will provide extensive relief to millions of individuals and businesses." Then, there's a list of relief requested for individuals and businesses. 
 
[00:12:24] For individuals, the AICPA is asking for deadlines from March 15 getting pushed to October 15. I think that makes a lot of sense, right? Let's just push tax season to October 15. That way, these firms where there's all this pressure to produce work can say, "Okay, let's take a break. Let's let people go home, and let's deal with this virus." They're also asking for automatic extensions to October 15 without the need to file any forms. Great idea. Waiving penalties and interest for late payment penalties if the tax is paid by April 15, waiving interest through October 15; other things like that. Pretty much the same stuff for businesses – automatic extensions; let's delay things until October 15. This is great, but that's ... It's good for the clients, but what about staff? Let's look after our own welfare, too. I would hope that they would say something about that. 
 
David Leary: [00:13:32] Because [inaudible] the Society of CPAs, right? It's the society of a bunch of people. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:13:39] It's like the show must go on ... Yeah, but there's people here. Yeah. Even Broadway is canceled. I don't know if you heard that. 
 
David Leary: [00:13:45] I saw that at my—my wife's uncle is an actor, and, yeah, he tweeted or talked about his play's canceled for a little while. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:13:51] My concern, though, is that a lot of accountants, a lot of CPAs are gonna get sick because we have this "busy season" mentality that nothing stops us during busy season, no matter what. 
 
David Leary: [00:14:01] Not even pandemics. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:14:03] Not even pandemics. 
 
David Leary: [00:14:04] We work through everything. Maybe that's the other route on this, right? Like, okay, we're just gonna keep our staff locked up in a building for 14 straight days and just not let them go out to the outside world. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:14:14] Well, that- there was a joke- 
 
David Leary: [00:14:15] Maybe that's- 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:14:16] There was a joke on a meme on the r/Accounting subreddit. Somebody said that their office is joking about a reverse quarantine, where once you come into the office, you can't leave until tax season is over. It's pretty much like that anyway, so it wouldn't be that much of a sacrifice. 
 
David Leary: [00:14:34] I think for a lot of our listeners – we're The Cloud Accounting Podcast – they're able to work remotely; they just spin it up fast. They interact with their clients remotely. They're on the cloud. But what about all those people that aren't on the cloud, which is still a lot of the bell curve? 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:14:47] Yep. 
 
David Leary: [00:14:48] People that are used to driving to their client to do work. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:14:51] Yeah. 
 
David Leary: [00:14:52] If you're not set up for remote work already, in the cloud, is this what's gonna finally put all those bookkeepers that have been resisting the cloud – because there's a set of them that have for the last eight years ... Is this what's gonna push everybody over, and they're like, "Obviously, I have to migrate people's files over to QuickBooks, Xero ..." 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:15:10] You can bet that as soon as this is over, there will be significant investments in remote technology, whether that's hosting, or cloud, or a hybrid approach, or whatever. It's essential to surviving disasters. Any area that has been through a significant disaster, like the firms there have already done this because they know- 
 
David Leary: [00:15:30] Yeah, and I think there's- we're seeing response to this. Oracle, Apple, Google, Amazon – they're all having people work from home, but then you're seeing this in the apps, right? Google Apps are up. Zoom. The- 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:15:42] Oh, the stock! Right, yeah- 
 
David Leary: [00:15:44] The stock's up because the use is up. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:15:46] Right. 
 
David Leary: [00:15:48] Slack- I saw Slack ... All these sign-ups are at all-time highs. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:15:51] A bunch of these apps have done a smart thing, which is they've made their services temporarily free. Zoom, for instance, had a cap of, I believe, 30 or 40 minutes on any meeting for free. There's a free option. They've lifted that temporarily. Now, anyone can use it for free, and they're building a ton of goodwill. People are gonna keep using it after. I saw some stories about other solutions doing that as well. 
 
David Leary: [00:16:17] I know Zoho just, coincidentally, just launched a remote-working collaboration/productivity platform. I saw TikTok ... Are you on TikTok? 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:16:26] No, that- [crosstalk 16:29] I have not yet ... I refuse to join TikTok yet. 
 
David Leary: [00:16:32] Okay, well, my son, Zander, the other day- yesterday, at Starbucks, he's like, "Dad, you guys should get a TikTok. Look, I can even set it up for you." I was like, "Slow your roll, son. We don't need this yet. I need to talk to Blake first." TikTok's like a little fast video thing, so we can make 15-second videos, or something. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:16:48] Yeah. 
 
David Leary: [00:16:48] Any of our listeners that have teenagers probably know about TikTok. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:16:52] It seems to be like people dancing to music, though, right? I don't know how this is gonna fit with the podcast. 
 
David Leary: [00:16:57] Because they're gonna launch work-from-home tools. They're launching a Google Office-type suite because they have the eyeballs. If you can hook those teenagers in ... Just like my generation really got hooked into Microsoft Office because it was at all the schools- 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:17:13] Yeah, yeah. 
 
David Leary: [00:17:14] Then, the next generation really got hooked into Google Office, right? You're a Google Office person- or Google- they don't call it Google Office. What is Google called? Google Apps, right? 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:17:23] Mm-hmm. 
 
David Leary: [00:17:23] If TikTok has all the teenagers' attention, if they can get them using TikTok Word, TikTok Excel, they're gonna have a whole generation using their products when they become- 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:17:32] It's possible, yeah. 
 
David Leary: [00:17:33] -in the business world. It's all remote-work tools. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:17:37] I found a stat that backs up that remote-work tools are doing well. There's a site called Productiv. It's [Productive] without an "e," so just a "v" at the end. They are a firm that helps companies track how their employees use software. They're reporting that Zoom usage is up 30 percent since the beginning of February for employers who put restrictions on travel. Microsoft Teams usage, among Productiv clients, is up 20 percent in the first week of March, compared to the first week of February. I think that's among people who are already probably using a lot of cloud software because Productiv is a tool that monitors cloud software. It's probably up much more than that. 
 
David Leary: [00:18:18] I imagine Teams is gonna get a huge bump because people are- so many companies already have it. They don't even know they have it, so they just have to flip it on. Microsoft just needs to communicate to people. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:18:28] Yeah, and they, by the way ... They saw a 500-percent increase in meetings, calls, and conference usage in China, since the end of January. The chat volume was up 50 percent on Microsoft Teams last week, and video and audio meetings were up 37 percent, compared with a week earlier. That was among Microsoft employees. 
 
David Leary: [00:18:49] What are some firm impacts that we're seeing out there? "Business executives at CPA firms are worried about coronavirus ... Well, yeah, DUH! [crosstalk] That was in Accounting Today. I think there's a lot of obvious stuff that's being thrown out there a little bit. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:19:05] Right. There was some news in the Journal of Accountancy of interest to you folks who are working in industry; so, not the CPA firms, but the in-house accountants. The SEC is providing some coronavirus relief. They've announced that if you're a public company, and you have a deadline between March and April, March 1 and April 30, under certain conditions, you can get an additional 45 days to file certain disclosure reports that would've been due during that time. 
 
[00:19:36] One of the conditions is that you have to report a summary of why you need the relief. Basically, write a letter saying why you need the relief, and the SEC will grant it. They've also said they're open to extending that time period, changing the circumstances, or providing additional relief based on individual circumstances. Hopefully, that will get the accountants outta the office, if they are unable to work remotely. They can quarantine without worrying about missing an SEC deadline, which is something you do not want to happen. 
 
David Leary: [00:20:10] Why don't we continue talking about some of the government relief stuff that's happening, then, because I think Trump, last night, announced that there's gonna be $40 billion or something, or $60 billion, possibly, I think it was, for small business loans, through the SBA. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:20:27] Yes. I don't know the specifics, but I heard that. 
 
David Leary: [00:20:30] That's what's really hard is are all these just proposals? Does it have to become a bill first? Does he have to declare a state of emergency? I also saw about a tax cut, or a tax holiday, they were calling it. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:20:40] Yeah. That was the payroll tax holiday, and- 
 
David Leary: [00:20:46] As I read that, it sounds like he's pushing to have that through the election, obviously, for his own interest, right? But it sounds like federal withholding's on the table, but then also, when I read the article, and some of the quotes from senators and congresspeople is that maybe Social Security and Medicare might actually be on the table, as well. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:21:08] Yeah, but that- even Lindsey Graham ... I saw him on Fox News, and he said, "No, I'm not ..." He doesn't like that idea. He said it in a nice way, but he's not on board with that. There's a lot of resistance in Congress to the payroll tax cut, and it doesn't make a lot of sense to me, because the number-one thing we need to do during this crisis is get social distancing. That means sick people need to stay home and not go to work. 
 
[00:21:33] If you give people a payroll tax cut, that only helps people who are going to work, if they're hourly workers. Those are the people who are most likely to go to work, when they're sick, because if they don't go to work, they don't get paid because we don't have a federal sick policy. A lot of people don't get any sick time. It actually could have a perverse impact of, "Oh, now I'm making more money, if I go to work, so I definitely wanna go to work ..." 
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David Leary: [00:23:11] It really needs to be ... They need to send out checks, and then, to some extent ... It could even be a small amount, right? You could just figure out what it costs for high-speed internet, and then figure out the cost to subscribe people to Netflix, Disney+, and all that, so people just have ... They can occupy themselves when they're at home, and not have to leave. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:23:27] Economists will always tell you that the best thing to do, if you wanna stimulate the economy, is just send everybody a check. Like an Andrew Yang-style universal basic income, but temporary. Just give people money, and they will go spend it. That's the fastest way to get it done. That's not popular because there's all this kind of a natural resistance that people have to just giving people money. They either wanna know, "Oh, are you gonna spend it well?" They wanna give it to people who actually need help. So, then, there's a lot of resistance to that idea. The one that, I don't know, I think they could get passed that makes the most sense is give everybody sick time that doesn't have it, that they can use for this situation. So, if you have to stay home sick, and you can't work, we'll pay for it. 
 
David Leary: [00:24:14] So, if your employees had to stay home sick, and then, you, as the employer, have to fill out some form to get reimbursed or something from [crosstalk] 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:24:22] Yeah, or they government just reimburses these people directly, or whatever. I don't know how it actually works operationally, but that makes a lot of sense, right? Hopefully, that will happen. That would provide good stimulus, but who knows what could happen? In Italy, they had to suspend mortgage payments. I don't know if you heard about that. The whole country of Italy is shut down, and they just suspending mortgages and bills because nobody can go do anything. I think they've even strengthened the restrictions. It used to be you could go out to go to work, and now, I don't even know if you can do that. They are really fighting this with ... Like Chinese-style Draconian containment is maybe where it will go. 
 
David Leary: [00:25:07] That seems to be the only thing that's been working so far. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:25:10] That's the only thing that you can do, if you don't have enough tests. You can contain it if you can test, because then you test everyone. You know who has it, you quarantine them, and you can stop the spread. If you can't test everybody because either it's gotten too big, or, in our case, the CDC didn't create enough tests for some inexplicable reason that I'm sure we'll all find out, when there's an investigation into this ... If you don't have enough tests, then you have to quarantine just massive numbers of people because that's the only way to stop the spread. That's what they did in China. We don't wanna have that situation. I don't wanna be an alarmist, and I think that, in the end, this will not be the end of the world, but I don't see how we get outta this without shutting down the country in a lot of ways, for a period of maybe a month or two. 
 
David Leary: [00:26:01] I think I would agree. I feel like- and maybe Trump should've said that last night. He should've said, "Hey, here's the deal everybody. Everybody just stay home for two weeks. Take care of your neighbors. Don't go get infected. Don't spread infection, and just bunker down. We're America. We can push through this. Let's get through the next 14 days, and then we'll see where we are then." Right? 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:26:20] Yeah. 
 
David Leary: [00:26:20] That message isn't really being put out there, and it probably should be put out there, something like that. There's a lot of confusion, just in general. Have you been following Bitcoin? 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:26:27] Yeah! 
 
David Leary: [00:26:28] We've talked about Bitcoin, and blockchain forever, right? 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:26:30] Yeah, Bitcoin has been falling, just like the stock market, right? 
 
David Leary: [00:26:34] But Bitcoin was supposed to be the savior! Like, "Oh, when the world falls apart, Bitcoin's gonna be the stable thing!" It's falling just as bad as the rest of the market, which kinda proves people just invest in it. They're not actually buying it to use as a currency. 
 
Blake Oliver:        [00:26:49] They were just speculating. 
 
David Leary: [00:26:51] Yeah, it's just like buying some stock, or any other thing. I would imagine gold's probably up. I didn't even think about checking that, but I did notice, yeah, all cryptocurrency is down. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:26:59] No, gold is down. It doesn't make any sense. All these safe-haven assets- I feel like people are just holding onto cash. 
 
David Leary: [00:27:09] You can't wipe your butt or sterilize your hands with gold. It's toilet paper, and hand sanitizer. Those are the- that's the gold, currently. Clorox stock's up- all-time highs, apparently. I even saw Apple, they talked about how to disinfect your phone- your iPhone. They actually specifically said to use Clorox in their release. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:27:28] Really? 
 
David Leary: [00:27:30] Not just bleach; they actually said that you can use Clorox wipes. They specifically named them. I don't know if Clorox paid them to be in their press release, but it's that specific. There are some things, though, people can do. Journal of Accountancy had an article about how to calm your clients' fears. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:27:45] I missed that one. What did they say? 
 
David Leary: [00:27:47] "Calming Clients' Fears During the Coronavirus Outbreak." Unfortunately, this is gonna involve a lot of soft skills that, sometimes, a lot of CPAs don't have. Right now, your clients are probably gonna have tons of anxieties. Stock market's down ... Everybody's panicking right now, right? 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:28:01] Well, and CPAs, especially in small firms, are serving small businesses. Small businesses are getting really, really hurt by this pandemic because people aren't going out. They aren't buying ... People don't wanna be in public, right? They're not going out and buying stuff. 
 
David Leary: [00:28:15] The recommendation is to offer perspective. A lot of times, it's just telling clients just- you gotta sit tight for the current time, right? Staying in touch. Even if they're not calling you, reach out to them. Just be there, you know? Be a good ear. Talk to them. Really, just listen; just acknowledge their concerns and that'll just help ... By you showing you're sensitive, as their accountant, you're just gonna alleviate a lot of their fears, just by doing that. 
 
[00:28:43] There are some more concrete tips, though, from Sequoia Capital. Sequoia Capital, they had an article they wrote up: "Coronavirus: The Black Swan of 2020." It's basically a note that they sent to Sequoia founders and CEOs. Sequoia's a big capital investment firm; a big VC firm. This is what they sent out to their founders and CFOs. They talked about what's happening – drop in business activities, supply chain disruptions, and really, ultimately, all travel's been canceled; all face-to-face travel, meetings, anything ... just don't need it. 
 
[00:29:17] Some tips that they're giving people ... Cash runway; expect fundraising. If you have clients that are raising funds, it could be very difficult here very soon. Sales forecasts, and this is like- I think you and I discussed, like Jirav, right? People are probably gonna need tools like that more than ever to really project where they're headed over the next 12 months to 18 months. Thinking about your marketing. It's gonna completely change. That obviously leads into headcount, and then capital spending. There's some tips on that, as far as things to have discussions with, with your clients on how their decisions they make probably in the next 30 days are gonna probably ripple for the next 18 months. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:29:58] I think the number-one thing is it hasn't officially happened yet, but April 15 – the tax deadline – is gonna get extended. I just don't see how that doesn't happen. The Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, already said that he supports extending the deadline beyond April 15. We just don't know when it's gonna be. He said- that was on Wednesday. He said that on Wednesday. 
 
David Leary: [00:30:23] Is that an executive order that can make that happen? Is this an act of Congress? Can the IRS just decide this? What's involved in that? Do you have any idea? 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:30:33] He said there's two things they can do. They can delay filing, and they can delay payment. Mnuchin said that his department can delay the payments without the permission from Congress, so that's something that they could do – delay it until, say, October 15, if they needed to. That doesn't necessarily take care of the filing, which also needs to happen. That's outlined in the tax code. The tax code gives the Secretary latitude to delay the deadline in disaster situations, and they have done that for victims of natural disaster, but that's been in regional areas. 
 
[00:31:14] So, I'm not sure if it would be okay for him to do it just on his own for the whole country. Congress really should pass a law saying what is delayed. That was the view of Nicole Kaeding, and economist with the National Taxpayers Union Foundation. But, assuming Congress doesn’t pass a law, then the Treasury Secretary has broad authority, so maybe he could just do it himself. 
 
David Leary: [00:31:41] This is a collision of two worlds because I think I talked about it last week, you're more likely to get ransomwared, or email-phished, than you are, probably, to get coronavirus-ed. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:31:49] Well, it depends if you're listening to this in March or April. So- 
 
David Leary: [00:31:54] That's true, but it's a collision of two worlds. The cybercriminals, now, are exploiting the coronavirus [crosstalk] 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:32:01] Oh, no. How? 
 
David Leary: [00:32:01] Imagine getting an email that looks legit, and it has some, "Hey, here's some tips from the CDC," and you click it ... Just be extra-diligent with the emails that are coming out because ... It's actually gone up. Every email from every software vendor, every company, every hotel, every airline – everybody's sending emails about- talking about the coronavirus, and how they care so much, et cetera. But those emails are very easy to spoof. You could write one that looks very similar, and all the links in it could be totally bad. So, be very, very careful on the emails you're opening. Don't let your guard down because it looks legit because it's talking about-  
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:32:39] Oh, right. I would never think that a hacker would send me a coronavirus notification; that wouldn't occur to me. Normally, they go ... It's something very predictable, like a payment notification or something ... That's good advice, yeah. 
 
David Leary: [00:33:00] Then, I was wondering about Facebook, Google, Apple ... They're tracking everything about everybody. They have all their phones. They know where we're at. In theory, they- what are they doing to help with this situation? They could probably predict who has it next, because they could tell, well, that guy was in the same synagogue with a bunch of other people that have Facebook running on their phone all the time. They know who's been in which vicinities. They could probably track it, and help that way, but- 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:33:27] Well, you know why they won't do that? Because then, they'd be admitting how much location data, and how much they know about us ... That's super-creepy. 
 
David Leary: [00:33:36] So, basically, they can use that to sell me something I don't need, but, God forbid, as a society, we need something more- 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:33:44] Yeah, they're gonna use their- they're not gonna use their power for good if it takes away the ability to make money someday. I mean, I have to- call me a cynic. 
 
David Leary: [00:33:52] I questioned that publicly, on Twitter, and Kylie Parker – she's LotusAccts - @KylieParkerCA on Twitter- she found an article that really says what they're doing. What they've been really doing is playing whack-a-mole with coronavirus conspiracy theories, incorrect coronavirus news, incorrect coronavirus coverage that's just all over. It's all over on Facebook, YouTube, TikTok ... That's what the tech companies are busy doing. They're busy just deleting bad stories, ultimately. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:34:20] Wow. 
 
David Leary: [00:34:20] I feel like they could contribute so much more! They have the data! 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:34:23] Well, and that's the thing that is kinda disturbing to me is I have come across folks on Facebook threads who really don't think this is happening; that it's a hoax ... Or they seem to, if they're real. I don't know if they're real, or bots, or what, but ... I mean, I could see how you could think that it's not a big deal, or it's not even really happening because you don't see it happening yet, and there aren't that many cases, and there aren't that many deaths, compared to the flu; but the math doesn't lie, and we can see what's happened in Italy, and in China, and in Iran. It's very possible that this could happen here, too. If you actually do the numbers and build out a model, it gets frightening. If we don't do anything, it's a real disaster. But, if we do do something, it's totally containable. That's the positive thing. We still have time to stop this from becoming a true disaster. 
 
David Leary: [00:35:23] Yeah, and it's starting to feel like private enterprise is taking steps and stands faster than the government is. I think I even got an email from Starbucks today, and they have ... Because they just experienced this in China, they have a whole operations manual on what to do now, here in The States. First, we're going to have people not sit next to each other at tables. Then, if we have to go the next step, we're not gonna let people in the store. Then, at the next step, we will only let people go through the drive-thru. Private enterprise is really possibly the ones that's gonna pull it- the free market might actually impact this more than government can, ultimately. I'm sure the government did not shut down Disney. They probably had to make that decision on their own. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:36:03] I'm curious, actually, yeah. That's a tough choice for a company to make. 
 
David Leary: [00:36:08] Well, I think it's ... They said through the end of the month. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:36:11] Wow, yeah. 
 
David Leary: [00:36:12] I think that's it. I don't think I have anything else that's related to coronavirus and our industry this week. Tomorrow, we're gonna do a real news episode, and that's why it was nice to separate this out, right? It lets people get a break. Tomorrow's episode will be coronavirus-free, hopefully, unless something really ridiculous happens in the next 24 hours- 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:36:28] Don't make promises you can't keep. 
 
David Leary: [00:36:30] -but we'll try, so we'll be able to have a separation, so people can get a little bit of a break from this because I think it is ... Hopefully, it's gonna smooth out, but I know it's a little stressful, and it's very distracting. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:36:40] Well, David, good chatting with you, and enjoy having the kids at home. 
 
David Leary: [00:36:45] Yes, the work from home with kids. That'll be interesting to see the impact on productivity across the nation. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:36:52] We'll talk about that [crosstalk] maybe not tomorrow, but definitely the following week, after I've been at home with my five-year-old for a week. 
 
David Leary: [00:36:58] Play a lot of Fortnite, I guess. "Here you go ..." 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:37:02] Maybe you can learn it for me and tell me how it is. 
 
David Leary: [00:37:04] You can get ahold of me- I'm @DavidLeary on Twitter. I’m @DavidLeary on LinkedIn, and Blake, yourself? 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:37:09] I am @BlakeTOliver on Twitter. I am Blake Oliver CPA on LinkedIn. If you want to talk to us ... Well, if you wanna leave us a voice message, you can do that. We now have a Google Voice number. You can call in and leave us a voicemail. We'll take a listen. We maybe will even play it on the air. That number is (202) 695-1040. Again, (202) 695-1040. 
 
David Leary: [00:37:43] I'd love people to call that number and just say how you're getting through this. Everybody's at home. They're on lockdown ... How you're getting through this. For a lot of us, because we're not going to an office, maybe we're not getting that social interaction we want, and maybe this is a way for you to get something off your chest to the rest of the world. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:37:59] Yeah, that sounds great. We're gonna need some interaction; some other voices, David. 
 
David Leary: [00:38:05] I can't only talk to Blake. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:38:07] Well, you know, just me, and my family ... You're part of the family, now, David. I mean, you're quarantined with me, here, through this headset and microphone. 
 
David Leary: [00:38:16] We'll get through it together. 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:38:17] All right. 
 
David Leary: [00:38:17] So will all of us- all our listeners, as well. So, until tomorrow ... 
 
Blake Oliver:  [00:38:21] Talk to you then. 
 
David Leary: [00:38:21] Have a good one [crosstalk] All right, bye. 
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