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When employers think of business continuity, it’s usually in the context of a hurricane or other natural disaster.

The coronavirus pandemic has put a different spin on it, but business continuity right now is still about finding ways around a major business interruption. NJBIA’s Emergency Preparedness webinar on Wednesday covered three scenarios that, while not exactly unique to COVID-19, certainly have more prominence in the current health crisis.

 

Give Access to a Trusted Second

Keeping your key documents in a safe place is fundamental to business continuity, but what if the employer who is in charge of those documents becomes incapacitated or dies?

“We live in a digital age,” Todd Foray, owner and founder Foray CPA, LLC. “Many documents and needed information are stored digitally. So you want find a trusted individual that has access to all of your online accounts and all of your documents.”

Someone close to the business or spouse or other family member should have all of the key information about where the documents can be accessed, including a list of online accounts, and user names and passwords/PINs for each online account. The same should be done for the employer’s work laptop and cell phone.

 

Do Not Delete Bank Accounts

If you find yourself in the position of that trusted second person and the worst does happen, do not delete the business owner’s bank accounts, at least not right away.

Foray said such bank accounts often are used to pay bills automatically through a direct debit. Before closing an account, review at least 14 months of bank account statements and identify any automatic debits that look like they are paying utility bills or other regular expenses. If the account is closed prematurely, it could interrupt payments for insurance premiums, for instance, and result in a loss of coverage.

 

Adjust Your Energy Bill with a Mobile App

The pandemic has forced people to embrace technology if they have not already done so. E-commerce has soared, and telemedicine has provided a lifeline for many non-COVID-19 patients, for instance.

Jared Osorio, digital products lead for PSE&G, provided an overview of how to access your energy accounts online through the company’s online dashboard as well as through its mobile phone app and smart device.

Employers may want to use the phone app to pay attention to is how much they are being billed during the pandemic. Osorio said PSEG has not been able to read meters at many businesses because of the state’s social distancing policies, so it has been billing companies for estimated usage. If your business is shutdown, the difference between actual usage and the estimate could be large.

“The mobile app is a really powerful tool to send us a picture of your reading, of your meter and have use bill you accurately going forward,” Osorio said.