Alert: Accounting Services Deemed Essential

by WSCPA | Mar 24, 2020
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Updated: March 24, 2020 - 5:00 PM

On March 23, Governor Inslee announced a “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order for a minimum of two weeks. All Washington residents must stay home unless they are providing an essential service that cannot be performed outside of the office. Social and recreational activities are banned, and all businesses except essential businesses must close. Accounting services are included in the Governor’s list of essential services.

Please keep in mind that it is more than likely that not all normal business operations fall under the category of essential services. See the Governor’s Proclamation here for additional clarification/guidance. Essential business services and minimum basic operations are further described in sections 1(b) and 3(d).

In the last two weeks, the Washington Society of CPAs received numerous inquiries from members regarding adding accounting as “essential services”. Many businesses that are working overtime to stabilize and adjust to a new norm depend on accounting services, and it is important that you have the necessary tools to do so.

In a letter sent on March 23, the WSCPA asked Governor Inslee to consider adding accounting services to the list of essential services should a statewide shelter-in-place go into effect, or provide guidance on this issue for cities and counties to ensure uniformity in their mandates.

We realize that many members, whether they are part of small, mid-size, or large firms, have implemented remote work policies and taken other steps to mitigate the potential spread of coronavirus. However, there are tasks that cannot be completed remotely, or that require extra security and require key staff to be in the office to help ensure continuity.

The addition of accounting as essential services does not mean that individuals should jeopardize their health or the health of others by going to offices; however, this allows firms to continue providing services to clients who are depending on them for critical support.

Accounting services are instrumental to local businesses and our financial health as a nation. Although our first request is that you stay safe and healthy, we also want to remove barriers that would prohibit CPAs from providing critical services.

 

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