An update on the construction industry and COVID-19

Written on Jul 09, 2020

By Nicole Fracasso, OSCPA communications intern

Like accounting, the construction industry has remained busy through the COVID-19 pandemic, says Doug Houser, CPA, MBA, CEPA, director of construction and real estate services at Rea and Associates, an Ohio CPA Proud organization.

“Construction was deemed an essential industry right out of the gate,” he said. “So, work continued using the new protocols.”

While some projects have been delayed, Houser said very few have been outright cancelled.

“Overall, I think the results for the industry for 2020 will be quite good,” he said. “The concern comes as we look forward into 2021.”

Now that clients have adjusted to the initial shock of the crisis, Houser is looking into how the virus will affect the industry next year. For example, some construction, such as road projects, are funded by the state’s ability to collect fuel tax. Because more people are working remotely and driving less, the funding for these projects is likely to decrease.

“The priority ones seem to still happen. You see that with the (Columbus Crew soccer) stadium and a lot of the major road projects,” Houser said. “There’s concern, but overall I think the segment certainly in total has fared much better their others.”

Despite some setbacks, Houser also said the last few months have brought success, specifically in an advisory role. Whether it’s helping clients with the Payroll Protection Plan, assisting with projections or navigating their financing relationship with their bank, Houser said he is focused on being there and providing the necessary resources for the industry.

“Now is really the time to sit down with all of your advisors and look at projections for next year. ‘What's it going to look like? What do we need to be thinking about?’” Houser said. “Let's revisit the way we do business right now. We've all been forced to take advantage of this time and really evaluate how you do things and what's most important.”

While this year has brought many ups and downs, Houser said being able to provide a voice of reason to clients has been rewarding.

“We've heard from a number of clients thanking us for being there and providing these resources. That's just been invaluable,” Houser said. “It caused us to look how we serve our clients and what's most important to them. We're certainly adapting and trying to figure it out and move forward as best we can.”

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