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27 Disaster Response Questions to Prepare for the Coronavirus

March 9, 2020

The VSCPA has education, resources and more for CPAs looking for help regarding the coronavirus outbreak. Check out the Coronavirus Resource Center for more.

By Jennifer H. Elder, CSP, CPA, CMA, CIA, CFF, CGMA, MS

The below questions are not all-encompassing, but a place to get you started thinking about your response. While you might say, “I hope it never happens to me,” hope is not an effective strategy. The worst time to try and figure out your response is in the middle of a crisis. There are too many pressures, emotions are running high and no one is thinking clearly. Developing a disaster recovery plan is like buying life insurance, you hope you never have to use it but if you do, you need it!

Questions About Your Employees

  1. Will you train your employees on how to identify coronavirus symptoms?  
  2. If an employee does not have available sick time, how do you make sure they do not come to work if they are sick?  
  3. How will you respond if an employee is diagnosed with coronavirus?    
  4. Who can work from home?  
  5. How will your employees get access to the necessary information and documents they need to work from home?  
  6. Will you allow employees to travel?  
  7. If employees must travel, what steps will you take to ensure their medical safety?  
  8. How will you respond if an employee needs to care for an infected family member?  
  9. If an employee contracts coronavirus, will they only be allowed to use their accrued sick time?   

Questions About Your Operations


  1. How will you decide if you need to close an office?  
  2. Will you close your business for the recommended two-week quarantine or longer?  
  3. How will you disinfect your office?  
  4. How will you keep employees, customers and vendors informed?
  5. What parts of your business are crucial to keep operating? 

Questions About Your Finances


  1. If your offices are closed, how will you collect payments?  
  2. How long can your business survive without any new sales? 
  3. How will you pay your bills and payroll if your office is closed?  
  4. Do you have available lines of credit?  
  5. Will you pay your employees and for how long if you close your office?  

Questions About Your Customers


  1. Will you notify customers if an employee is diagnosed?  
  2. How will you stay connected to customers if employees are out sick or the office is closed?  
  3. How will you deliver on contracts if the office is closed or there is a disruption in your supply chain?  
  4. Do you have a “force majeure” clause in your contracts?  
  5. How will you respond if a customer is affected by the coronavirus and does not pay your invoice on time?  

Questions About Your Supply Chain


  1. Do you currently source any supplies or products from China?  
  2. How would a delay in delivery of materials and products affect your production?  
  3. Do you have alternate suppliers?


Jennifer Elder, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), CPA (Certified Public Accountant) , CMA (Certified Management Accountant), CIA (Certified Internal Auditor), CFF (Certified in Financial Forensics), CGMA (Chartered Global Management Accountant), works with companies to find creative solutions to their most challenging problems. Jennifer is the author of “Faster Disaster Recovery” published by Wiley. She is currently a member of the board of the New Hampshire Society of CPAs and a past member of the board of the Maryland Association of CPAs. She is also a member of the NASBA/AICPA Joint CPE Standards Committee. Contact her at jennifer at jenniferelder.com, or visit her website.