Being proactive with clients through the uncertainty

Written on Jun 04, 2020

By Nicole Fracasso, OSCPA communications intern 

It was 9:30 on a Friday night when Cathy Vrenna, CPA, received a call from a stressed client stating that their PPP loan had been denied. 

Upon taking the call, Vrenna spent the rest of the evening determining why it had been declined and helping the client revise and resubmit the report. 

“Part of the problem was the first time it was filed, the client wanted to ask me a couple questions and then do it himself,” she said. “And so, this time we did a Zoom screenshare and went through it from 9:30 to 11:30."

Vrenna is the CEO and owner of Vrenna Enterprises in Columbus and has been working with clients from a variety of industries for 25 years. These industries include retail, restaurants, landscaping and many more. 

“I'm working with probably 45 to 50 different small businesses, nonprofits and high net worth individuals that want QuickBooks for their business analysis and numeric analysis mostly for their tax accountants,” she said. 

With all the changes that COVID-19 has brought, Vrenna said one of the most challenging aspects is being able to fit everything in her schedule. 

“I work eight to five, I work evenings and I work weekends,” she said. “I’m glad to work when a client needs help.” 

Apart from longer hours, Vrenna said work has been business as usual. And despite the circumstances of working remotely, Vrenna is still in constant communication with her clients. 

“Some clients I meet with weekly, some are monthly, and some are quarterly. It depends on how much activity they have,” she said. “But if they're busier clients, I stay on them.” 

For her fellow CPAs, Vrenna said it’s important to stay in close contact with clients and ask them how they’re doing. While some might reach out to you regularly, others might be applying for their PPP loan without telling you. By reaching out to them, you can sometimes help them (and you)avoid stress later. 

“It’s about being proactive, not reactive,” she said. 

In addition, Vrenna recognizes the long hours clients and banks are working as well. On a separate occasion, she was working late hours with another client. Once they had everything ready and submitted it, the bank emailed them back at 11:05 in the evening. 

“We're working a lot of hours with clients with PPP loans. It's not just the first responders in the medical field,” she said. ‘It’s the payroll companies, the banks and CPAs. It’s been a tough spring for everybody.”


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