Category: Financial Preparedness

Preparation for National Convention

November 12th, 2015 by Mary Kay Hyde-Bohn

I had the chance to go to my first trade show in the ‘disaster’ industry last month, out of town, and did not know if any local ACP chapter members attending. Ever Onward!

One has to consider the cost of attending one of these events – both financially and time-wise.

  • Will the education from speakers add to my mental and physical libraries?
  • Will my cousin be available to host me (offset the hotel bill)?
  • Can I get a good airfare?
  • Will I find interesting exhibitors?
  • Will I see anyone I know from other industries?

I did a quick review with my CPA on what would be deductible or not (and some items that are only 50% deductible), so I had the start of a budgeting process.

  • Entrance fee
  • Airfare
  • Meals not covered at event
  • Transportation back/forth to event
  • Trinkets to bring home

What to pack:

  • Appropriate layers for outside the event.
  • More layers for inside the ‘refrigerator’ convention center that will fit in my tote
  • PC, new travel surge protector, several thumb drives
  • All the charger cables for phone, PC and tablet
  • Comfortable shoes (2 pair) to switch each day
  • Materials to share (business cards, BCPWest rack cards and more business cards)
  • Folder with agenda, map/list of exhibitors and pre-event postcards and solitations

The trip report:

I registered during the first ½ day – out of 4, and while organizing my tote ran into several folks from the local ACP chapter! We had similar list of classes so we compared our ‘2nd choices’ and agreed to divide and conquer, sharing notes later so we had better coverage of the 4 days – yeah!

Several of the seminars provided handouts or links to grab the handout later – wise choice. The event also had links to several of the main speakers, but not full coverage. The fellow attendees were always checking their phones for ‘hot situations’ back home, so were interrupting with questions covered in previous minutes — really irritating. I made a practice of checking email only on breaks so I could get the ‘full message’ while in session.

Exhibitor Hall was full of enterprise level products, so I challenged those companies to consider the smaller companies or the suppliers/vendors/contractors to the big companies – it takes all of them to keep production rolling. I had a list of vendors that I wished to ask about scaling for the small/medium business and found them to be interested in the conversation.

I have been listening to many webinars provided by several of the exhibitors and made sure to thank them for the continuing education – I have been able to forward several presentations to appropriate customers. The SWAG was normal stuff and I would load up on the last afternoon, so I would not have to carry the weight around and the exhibitors are willing to share so they don’t have to take home!

We are going to add a new tab to the web site called ‘Community Resources’ that will have listings, links and descriptions of products or service companies that I have found over the years. These are NOT endorsements, merely information for you and your team to consider.

Plan. Prepare. Prevail.

April 20th, 2015 by Mary Kay Hyde-Bohn

As part of the Colorado Rocky Mountain Chapter of Association of Contingency Planners, we get briefings from various organizations, companies and facilities.

On Friday, April 17th we were invited to the Federal Reserve Branch in Denver, which is actually a branch of the Kansas City Reserve Bank. Part of the briefing consisted of the normal barrage of statistics on the paper money of the United States as it flows in and out of the building and the overall system. It still amazes me that our paper money is pretty tough to last through all the stuff we put it through!

The second part of the briefing is what is of interest to this writing:
The Federal Reserve, FEMA and a couple non-profits have created several documents for employers and employees to complete as a part of ‘financial preparedness’.

Their program is titled “Plan, Prepare, Prevail.”

As part of their research to determine what resources they could provide to an employer or employee, it was discovered that $400.00 is the breakpoint for an employee. If they did not have that amount available for a health issue, new tires, unexpected car repair, etc. – they would be in trouble. If an employee is distracted at work you have problems: safety, work getting done, attitude, etc. If they have to take time off from work to resolve the issue you still have problems back at work due to the absence. Using the Federal Reserve’s education materials or trainers there can be free ‘financial education’ for your employees; also your bank might offer similar services. Per several of our chapter members that are in banking, they know their trainers use the Fed documents for training at schools – it’s your government’s resources – use them and often!

There is also a form for small businesses, if your CPA, insurance agent or banker have not given you something similar – fill it out and give it to key employees who have authority to execute these accounts if needed or save it electronically. If you save it electronically, be sure you have access from any secure location and make sure at least one other person has access.

Both forms are available on the above web site or you can order hardcopies, in English and Spanish and are PDF automated, meaning you can fill them out on-line and save the completed form.

There are blanks for all the basic financial information: bank accounts, insurance policies with contact phone numbers and account numbers. Utilities with account numbers and contact information is something I had not thought of, but getting the old bills with those numbers might not be feasible if the location of those documents is inside a burned or flooded building.

The section that gave us pause in the briefing was the last part of the form – Irreplaceable times to take during evacuation. This is what we never want to really think about or plan for — if I am at work do I race back to my office and grab the PC, phone and purse/wallet, favorite coffee mug or any of the personal stuff around my desk? If I am at home – do I grab the pictures that are in the far corner of the basement, then the empty kennels to use for scared pets or my classic 33’s and the new turntable?

We do need to consider our actions before we have to react! Doing it now gives us choices and plans – all of which can be updated or changed – but not ignored!

“The key deliverables that result from a comprehensive business continuity plan are choices. You get to decide what to do before a disaster instead of afterwards or worse, in the middle of one. It is a fact of life that most things are scarier when you have your back turned to them. Having knowledge gives you the power to act and allows you to be proactive, instead of reactive”

– David Kinlaw, CloudTweaks May 13, 2014