The Effect of COVID-19 on Valuations

It is no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic has created tremendous uncertainty regarding the current value of businesses.  Earlier this year, our country witnessed major stock indexes lose more than 20 percent of their value, the World Health Organization declare a worldwide pandemic, and the President of the United States declare a national emergency.  In the months that have followed, our economy and business community have weathered extremely tumultuous times.  All these factors would make any business owner question the value of a business.  

It is important that business valuations account for known or knowable circumstance, as of the date of your valuation, that could affect its value.  Whether you are a business owner in the process of estate and gift planning, considering a sale or a merger, going through a divorce, or an investor, the global pandemic is most likely going to have a significant impact on your business’ future. 

Important considerations during this time include: 

  • Has your company received any stimulus? 
  • What was the impact on cash flow and will it continue?  Are there any additional risks? 
  • Have you had to decrease your workforce?  Will you be rebuilding your workforce? 
  • Are you confident in your management team and are strong plans in place?
  • Is your company experiencing a material change in the way it does business due to COVID?

Having a knowledgeable expert when it comes to these sensitive topics is crucial.  Let Crosslin consult with you how these events may impact your business or investment values and be a critical part of your advisory team.

Please contact a member of the Crosslin Forensic Valuation Service Team by e-mailing here or calling (615) 320-5500 with any questions you may have.  As always, we appreciate your business and are always here to help!

Tips on Virtual Business Meeting Etiquette

Virtual meetings are here to stay; they are the future! Like face-to-face meetings, virtual meetings should be effective, concise, and professional. Your clients and other participants should feel valued.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

–Maya Angelou

Key tips to having a successful meeting and encouraging strong participation.

PRIOR TO THE MEETING

The Look

  • Virtual Style: Design a personal style that works virtually. You are representing your company, so dress up/dress for the occasion. Take virtual meetings seriously and look professional. Make sure your body language is appropriate and look at the camera.
  • Lighting and Framing:  Use the camera on your computer to see what your surroundings will look like to other participants. You need to be visible (not too dark or too light).
  • Group Size and Audience: Consider the size of your group and the audience as you proceed and think about how you will conduct a virtual meeting.

Actions

  • Invitation and Meeting Information: Send thelink, password, day, date, and time (including time zone), ask participants to RSVP and give them a deadline.
  • Instructions for Back-up Plan:  If technical difficulties arise, make sure participants know the alternate plan, such as the phone dial-in number.
  • Agenda: Have an (even if brief) agenda and include a schedule with how long the meeting will last and if you will include breaks, etc.
  • Preparedness (Mental): Be mentally prepared, stay positive, be ready for technical difficulties, conversation lags, misunderstanding, contentious moments, and disagreements. Keep on task, be polite and use humor and humility in uncomfortable situations. Be gracious.
  • Preparedness (Meeting): Come to the meeting prepared, just like you would for a person-to-person meeting.
  • Virtual Meeting Tools/Applications: Know how to use virtual meeting tools, such as chat boxes, shared screens, and applications.
  • Test Run & Equipment: Do a test run of the virtual meeting. Get familiar with the equipment – camera, mic, chat tools, and shared documents. Make sure all equipment is working properly prior to your meeting.

THE MEETING

Introductions & Managing Expectations

  • Punctuality: Be on time or early (host should open the meeting 5 minutes early). Let the host know if you will be late or need to leave the meeting early.
  • Sound & Video check:  Make sure everyone can be seen and heard.

Let participants know if they are not coming through clearly – either internet (screen freezes), voice (mic), or video (camera).

  • Technical Issues & Back-up Plan: Make sure participants are aware of the dial-in number in the event of technical problems (most platforms allow you to dial into the meeting).  Say something like: “There is an internet connectivity problem, let’s move to the dial-in.”
  • Reaction Time: Be aware that it will take people an extra second or two to respond or jump into the conversation. It is a little more difficult to discern if the person speaking is finished, especially if any internet lag time. Additionally, participants may hesitate to be sure someone else is not going to speak.
  • Introductions: Welcome everyone to the meeting.Start with any introductions and recognize who is on the call and who may be missing.
  • Agenda Adjustments/Overview: Go over any adjustments to the agenda and quick overview of the upcoming meeting.
  • Excusing Yourself/Leaving a Meeting Early:  Communicate who may be leaving the meeting early, let others know it is fine to just wave and go. If you need to leave unexpectedly, wait for a pause in the conversation, raise your hand and say, “I need to sign off, good meeting, thank you.”

Do’s

  • Video/Camera On:  Show up, have your camera/video on. A dark box or screen with just your name, gives the perception that you are not interested in participating.
  • Listen: Be intentional, stay present, look at the camera, be authentic, clear your desk, silence your phone, and take notes.
  • Speak Clearly:  Speak clearly, slowly and with confidence.  Remember the sound quality may not be great. Be sure to mute and unmute as needed.  Do not forget people can hear you if you are not muted, so do not make a side snide comment-could be embarrassing or awkward!
  • Time: Be aware of the time, make sure a clock is in view.

Don’ts

  • Do Not Interrupt:  Never polite and very confusing on a virtual platform.
  • Do Not Shout into the microphone: Shouting distorts the sound.
  • Avoid Distractions: Such as kids, pets and, outside noises (mute).
  • Do Not Eat: No need to elaborate.  
  • Drinks: Keep beverages close, but out of sight. If you need to take a drink, take a drink as discreetly as possible.
  • Movement: Do not walk around and/or move erratically.

Ending the Meeting

  • Short wrap-up: Keep it short, include a reminder of follow-up items.
  • Parting:  Thank everyone for their time.  Leaving a meeting well and professionally is key, this is the last impression.

POST MEETING

  • Follow-up: Send a thank you email and meeting summary and/or any information requested immediately. 
  • Not Addressed in the Virtual Meeting: Ask via email if there were any questions or items that need to be addressed that did not come up in the virtual meeting.

Good Luck and Happy Meetings!

2017 Tennessee Reappraisal of Real Estate Valuations

     2017 is a critical year for minimizing your real property tax bills for the next four to six years for real property held in 22 Tennessee counties that are undergoing reappraisal.   Tennessee’s largest counties (including Davidson) are all undergoing reappraisal this year.   The purpose of the reappraisal, which occurs every four to six years, is to restore equity and hopefully ensure taxpayers are being treated fairly by updating all appraisals to “current market value.” 
     As you can imagine this is a huge task for each county assessor and, by necessity, the counties must utilize various mass appraisal techniques in order to reappraise all real property in a timely fashion.  These mass appraisal techniques will actually, for some taxpayers, cause inequity and lead to a higher than market value being placed on property.  Obviously when that occurs, the inequity causes a higher property tax bill than is fair to the taxpayer potentially for the entire four to six year period of the cycle. 
     During April or May, owners of real estate in these counties will be receiving the 2017 assessment notices by mail.  These assessment notices will advise taxpayers of the new reappraised valuation as of January 1, 2017.  For taxpayers who hold significant real estate in the counties listed below, we strongly recommend that your 2017 assessment notices and new appraisal values be evaluated for potential appeal opportunity.  Unfortunately, the time frame to appeal valuations is fairly short after it is received and, depending on the county, is generally prior to June 1, 2017. 
     Crosslin’s state and local tax group can evaluate your 2017 real estate appraisal for potential appeal.  We will do the initial evaluation and consultation at no charge to you and will make a recommendation on whether an appeal is warranted.   If, based on that recommendation, you authorize Crosslin to pursue an appeal; our fee would be based on a percentage of the first year’s actual tax savings.  There is no further fee for the other three to five years that you will enjoy the tax savings.   If the appeal is unsuccessful and there is no tax savings, there would be no fee charged. 
     We are limiting this opportunity to only those individual (or collective) properties with valuations over $750,000 as of January 1, 2017.  All we need to do this evaluation is to review the county assessment notices that will be mailed to each taxpayer.
     Counties undergoing this process include Bledsoe, Bradley, Claiborne, Clay, Cumberland, Davidson, Fayette, Franklin, Giles, Hamilton, Hancock, Henderson, Humphreys, Knox, Louden, Marshall, Sequatchie, Shelby, Smith, Sullican, Unicoi, and Union.  
     If you have property in one of these counties and would like to discuss your reappraisal, please contact Mark Loftis at 615-320-5500 ext. 472 ormark.loftis@crosslinpc.com