Rebuilding a Business After a Flood
Tips for getting started and reconstructing records
Whether aid to businesses comes through private insurance or public resources, businesses will be required to provide detailed financial information concerning their losses.
But how does an affected business that lost books and records to the flooding reconstruct financial and other business records?
Fortunately, there are ways to obtain reliable information from third parties.
• Inventory, machinery and equipment Contact suppliers and vendors, who should be able to provide copies of past invoices for at least the past year.
• Income Contact the bank for monthly statement. Deposits likely show a relatively accurate history of monthly sales. The checking history likely shows paid costs and expenses, as well as some payroll information.
• Payroll records Contact the payroll vendor or request copies of back forms from federal and state agencies. Employees may also have copies of their pay stubs.
• Tax information Contact the Internal Revenue Service, the Louisiana Department of Revenue, and local taxing authorities. Request past tax returns, sales tax reports, copies of business license applications and payroll returns. Previous returns should also contain relevant schedules, including depreciation schedules to aid in reconstructing a list of assets.
If a business owns real estate or immovable property, it would likely be helpful to contact any real estate agent or broker, insurance agent or broker, architect, contractor, or mortgagor who was involved in the building or purchase of the property. Those professionals likely have a plethora of documentation concerning the property’s fair market value, as well as specific financial information concerning the purchase or sale.
Additionally, a contractor or architect may be able to provide additional cost and expense information, as well as detailed plans and specifications of the buildings. Once those are obtained, the owner or employees can complete room-by-room sketches showing the location of furniture, business equipment, inventory, machinery, and records such as book cabinets or file cabinets to help reconstruct the total economic value of any loss.
The outside of any building or space also needs to be accounted for: landscaping, awnings, parking facilities and signage that have been damaged or destroyed should be counted as part of any business loss.
If a business suffered damage to paper records that have some intrinsic value, information concerning preservation and restoration from the Northeast Document Conservation Center and ARMA International can be found on the Louisiana Secretary of State’s website. Specifically, the website contains tips for dealing with wet or moldy photographs, books and records.
As businesses affected by the recent flooding continue to rebuild, they likely will need to reach beyond insurance and traditional business funding resources.
Although the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) does not provide grants to businesses, FEMA does act as a referral source for business owners.
Low-interest loans are available through the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) to businesses of all sizes that suffered economic injury or damage to business property due to the recent flooding in president-declared disaster areas. SBA loans may be used to repair or replace business real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets that were lost or destroyed and are not covered by insurance. The SBA also provides certain capital funding loans.
Information about the SBA’s loan programs can be obtained by visiting Disaster Recovery Centers, staffed by specialists from the SBA and the Louisiana Small Business Development Center (LSBDC). SBA and LSBDC specialists are available to meet individually with business owners at those Disaster Recovery Centers. No appointment is necessary, and services are provided free of charge.
SBA and LSBDC-staffed Disaster Recovery Centers have been set up
in the following parishes and cities:
• ASCENSION PARISH
Bancorp South Bank
13423 Highway 73, Prairieville, La. 70769
Mon.- Fri. 9:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
• EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH
Louisiana State Archives
3851 Essen Lane, Baton Rouge, La. 70809
Mon.- Sat.: 8:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.
Baker Workforce Development Center
3262 Baker Blvd, Baker, La. 70714
Mon.- Sat. 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Sundays: noon- 4:00 p.m.
• LAFAYETTE PARISH
Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise (LITE)
Executive Conference Room,
537 Cajundome Blvd.
Lafayette, La. 70506
Mon.- Sat., 9:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.
Sundays, noon- 4:00 p.m.
• LIVINGSTON PARISH
Southeastern Louisiana University
Clausen Family Building Literacy and Technology Center
Room 119, 9261 Florida Boulevard
Walker, La. 70785
Mon.- Fri.: 8:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
• TANGIPAHOA PARISH
Amite Chamber of Commerce
101 SE Central Ave., Amite, La. 70422
Mon.- Sat.: 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.,
Sundays: noon- 4:00 p.m.
• FEMA Referral information hotline:
Angelina Christina is a member in McGlinchey Stafford’s New Orleans office and serves as managing editor/content editor of the Flood Law Blog, www.floodlawblog.com. Christina represents clients in consumer finance litigation, complex litigation, corporate compliance, government relations and international law.
Rudy Aguilar III is an associate in McGlinchey Stafford’s Baton Rouge office and editor-in-chief of the firm’s Flood Law Blog, www.floodlawblog.com. He works with clients in the real estate, commercial development and finance industries.