We’re a month from the tax return deadline, experiencing increased stock market volatility, and in the midst of a global health pandemic. To say these are unusual times might be an understatement.
However, this time of year is critical for a tax and financial services firm like ours. It’s critical that we get returns filed on time. It’s critical that we be there for clients who are concerned about their investments. Halting business operations would have significant implications not only for our firm but more importantly, for our clients.
Although we don’t believe media frenzy or fear-based, emotional responses are constructive, we do believe COVID-19 should be treated with appropriate caution. We serve hundreds of clients who fall into the “high-risk” category for potential infection, and it’s out of care for them that we’re enacting some changes to how we do business. In addition to following the World Health Organization’s recommendations for cleaning and hygiene, we’re taking the below steps to protect our team and clients:
We highly encourage clients to submit documents electronically. All Wymer Brownlee clients have access to online portals with the necessary security to keep their information safe. For tax clients, the NetClient CS portal offers easy sharing of sensitive information, as does the eMoney portal and document vault for financial services clients. Rather than bringing documents into our physical offices, please submit them digitally if at all possible. If you’ve not yet been set up on the portal, just let us know.
Completed tax returns should be reviewed by phone whenever possible. When your tax return is complete, we’ll schedule a phone call to go over it together. In typical years, we review returns with many clients in person, and although we’ll still do so if absolutely necessary, we hope you’ll use it as a last resort. Reducing external traffic to our offices helps protect our staff and clients.
We ask staff and guests alike to notify us of recent travel to COVID-19 infected destinations. If you’ve traveled internationally or to a state where the virus is spreading within the past month, we ask that you please let us know proactively – even if you don’t have COVID-19 symptoms. We’re encouraging Wymer Brownlee team members who have recently traveled to these areas to work from home for the 14 days recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is not intended to foster fear but rather as a precautionary measure to protect one another from unnecessary risk.
Staff will be allowed to work from home as needed. At the guidance of the CDC, our employees or members of their households who demonstrate symptoms of acute respiratory illness are encouraged to work from home until they are free of symptoms and fever for at least 24 hours. Thankfully, technology allows most work to continue remotely with minimal interruptions, and we have video conference capabilities available for meetings and collaboration. Please use email to connect with our team whenever possible as there may be an increased number working remotely. All email addresses follow the firstname.lastname@example.org format. In emergencies, we may route calls to staff cell phones.
More than 1,500 Oklahoma families and businesses have placed their trust in Wymer Brownlee. We believe that trust warrants more than good financial advice and accurate tax preparation. It includes caring for the overall health and wellbeing of the people we serve. We all have a responsibility to do our part to reduce COVID-19’s impact on our communities. We’re grateful for your understanding and flexibility.