Update your emergency plan before the storm hits

As cool days give way to warmer temperatures, the environment is ripe for hurricanes, tornadoes and other strong storms. While there’s not much that can be done to prevent natural disasters from occurring, business owners can take steps ahead of time to create or update their emergency plans and protect their most valuable documents and possessions.

Emergency plans are important to maintain the continuity of business in the event of a natural disaster, as well as a communication channel with employees and customers to let them know what is happening.

It’s a good idea to keep these plans updated regularly as personal and business situations often change. Revisiting these plans anytime a new employee is hired is a good way to keep them up-to-date.

Another component of good disaster preparedness is to keep duplicate copies of key documents, such as bank statements, tax returns and insurance policies safeguarded in a waterproof or fireproof container separated from the original set.

We and most financial institutions store files electronically so that they are protected and can be easily retrieved. If you still have some documents that are only provided on paper, you can always scan them into an electronic format and save them to an external hard drive or USB flash drive. Just be sure that these devices are stored somewhere safe so they too are protected from any disaster.

Many business owners hire a payroll service provider. We recommend that you determine whether that provider has a fiduciary bond in place. A bond can protect you in the event of a default by the payroll service provider.

We also recommend that you take photographs or videos of the contents of your home, especially high value items. Documenting these items will make it easier to claim any available insurance and tax benefits should a disaster strike. The IRS has an informational workbook to help guide you through this process.

Please let us know if we can assist you in any area.