Launched quickly, the webinars built a loyal following of decision makers
Southfield, Mich.— June 25, 2020 — After a very successful and extended eight-week run of its weekly webinar series on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Clayton & McKervey, a certified public accounting and business advisory firm helping growth-driven companies compete in the global marketplace, has been able to get a first-hand look at busines owners’ concerns in the midst of COVID-19. The weekly Wednesday PPP webinar series launched on Wednesday, April 29 after the firm was inundated with questions about the PPP loan program following the first round of government funding.
“We had discussed doing webinars in the past as part of our marketing efforts, but we never made the commitment to get it off the ground. It literally took a pandemic and, boom, we had a webinar series almost overnight,” said shareholder and webinar co-host Sarah Russell, CPA. “We had over 300 people for the first webinar and continued to attract those numbers for the duration of the series, which we ended up extending from four weeks to eight because the interest level was so high.”
Webinar co-host Tim Hilligoss, CPA, also a shareholder, said the most popular questions were:
- Definition of covered payroll and nonpayroll costs
- When costs must be incurred or paid to be eligible for forgiveness; is it accrual or cash
- The impact that reductions in Full Time Equivalents (FTEs) and reductions in compensation have on loan forgiveness
- When covered periods and reference periods start and end
- How Safe Harbors work
“The webinar software allowed us to see how many people were asking the same questions, so we targeted in on those and were really able to cover a lot of ground,” Hilligoss said. “It was a very efficient way to answer the most common, pressing questions in the one-hour span of the webinar.”
The webinar series, which was not limited to clients, tended to attract decision makers at the highest levels, including business owners, CFOs, and leaders of professional services firms.
“This topic was not relegated to entry level or mid-level staff,” Russell said. “For many of these business owners and executives, the PPP was a lifeline for staying in business during the pandemic and after. They wanted information directly from a trusted source in order to make sound business and strategic planning decisions.”
Hilligoss added that the number of additions to the PPP kept the webinars lively, with updates like the PPP Flexibility Act of 2020 – which extended the loan forgiveness to December 31, 2020 and increased the loan amount that could be used for non-payroll expenses – and the EZ PPP loan repayment application.
“There is no federal payment program in my career as dynamic as the PPP; it seemed to be changing weekly – and that kept our participants engaged,” Hilligoss said.
The PPP loan webinar series is complete, but the firm, which has approximately 70 staff members, does plan to use webinars moving forward to explain new business, tax and accounting topics that have broad appeal.
About Clayton & McKervey
Clayton & McKervey is a full-service CPA firm helping middle-market entrepreneurial companies compete in the global marketplace. The firm is headquartered in metro Detroit and services clients throughout the world. To learn more, visit claytonmckervey.com.