Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has ordered the closing of all non-essential businesses and other establishments and prohibited large gatherings and events in response to the continued spread of COVID-19.
Among the businesses that may remain open are CPA firms, which are among those included in the federal list of organizations that are part of the “Essential Critical Infrastructure.”
On March 21, MACPA President and CEO Tom Hood sent a letter to Gov. Hogan requesting that Maryland’s CPAs be allowed to go to their physical offices when needed, “maintaining the social distance guidelines (less than 50 percent capacity) when in their offices,” Hood stressed.
“While the profession has implemented remote work, there are some critical functions that are required to be done in the office, including payroll and banking in secure systems, processing mail with checks, invoices, and other financial correspondence,” Hood wrote in his letter. “This falls under the Professional and Business Services classification of the (North American Industry Classification System) in two categories — No. 5412, ‘Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping, and Payroll Services,’ and No. 5511, ‘Management of Companies and Enterprises,’ which covers CPAs and management accountants in businesses and non-profits (CFOs, controllers, etc.).
“CPAs are essential to the U.S. economy as we work on compliance with federal and state tax and financial reporting requirements,” he added. “CPAs are essential for the preparation of taxes, audits, and financial reports for business financing and loans, projections, and contingency planning for businesses.”
Other financial-service organizations are also exempt from the order, including:
- Banks and credit unions.
- Non-bank lenders.
- Payroll processing companies.
- Payment processing companies.
- Armored car companies.
- Insurance companies.
- Securities and investment companies.
Gov. Hogan stressed that his order “is not a shelter-in-place order. However, all Marylanders are urged to remain home, and employers are urged to promote work-from-home arrangements to the greatest extent possible.”
See the order, including the non-exhaustive list of businesses that may remain open, here.