Natural or manmade disasters can strike at any time. Of course, your family and employee’s health and security are the most important considerations. Once safety concerns have been addressed, regaining order in your personal and business finances is essential for returning to normal life. The South Carolina Association of CPAs (SCACPA) advises that proper planning and preparation before disaster strikes is crucial. CPAs offer these tips on how to do it in our Financial Planning For Disaster Resource Center (www.scacpa.org/Disaster), launched this week in conjunction with National Hurricane Preparedness Week and National Small Business Week.
KEEP YOUR RECORDS IN ORDER
In the wake of a disaster, documentation, including personal identification, insurance papers and banking and investment information may be necessary. CPAs advise that you keep all of these important materials in a bank safe deposit box or a secure, fireproof home safe.
Among your records, remember to store photos of your home and what’s inside it, including the contents of closets, garages, attics and basements. Photograph your cars, as well, and any other belongings that could be damaged in a disaster. It’s also a good idea to make an inventory of your possessions, along with your best estimates of what it would cost to replace them. The photos and inventory will come in handy when you make an insurance claim for lost possessions.
HAVE SOME CASH ON HAND
How will you pay for food, a hotel or other needs if you are forced to leave your home? If the power goes out in your area, banks or ATMs may be unavailable. That’s why it’s a good idea always to have enough cash on hand to cover your family’s expenses for at least five days. Keep this money in a safe location where it can be easily accessed.
TALK TO YOUR CPA
Your local CPA has expertise in a wide range of financial matters, including preparing for or recovering from unexpected events. Contact him or her for advice on all your financial needs. To find a CPA near you, visit http://www.scacpa.org/FindaCPA
USE FREE RESOURCES
These are a few of the steps that CPAs recommend to make sure your family is prepared for a disaster. For more guidelines, check out “Financial Planning: A Guide for Financial Preparedness,” a booklet made available to you by the American Red Cross, the American Institute of CPAs, the South Carolina Association of CPAs and other sponsors.
Access the Financial Planning for Disaster Resource Center for the public and small business: www.scacpa.org/Disaster
South Carolinans . . . what are you doing to prepare for a disaster?
Blogger: Charles ‘Eddie’ Brown, CPA