The greatest modern commodity is no longer gold or oil, it is data. Today’s technology has enabled companies to collect and store massive amounts of consumer data. While there are many benefits and rewards to collecting and monetizing data, there are just as many risks and responsibilities when it comes to handling consumers’ personal information. Data can be a powerful tool to improve a product or service; however, to truly reap the benefits of data, businesses need to collect, store, and use it responsibly. Otherwise, corporations will lose customers’ trust and, ultimately, their business. Read More
As a small business, you may have qualified to receive a piece of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds that were allocated by the Small Business Administration (SBA) in response to the economic disruption caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. In addition to bolstering cash flow, SBA’s PPP will also forgive loans if all employees are kept on payroll for eight weeks and the funding is utilized specifically for payroll, rent, mortgage interest or utilities.
This past Monday, SBA reported that it had successfully processed more than 100,000 loans from more than 4,000 lenders. Assuming your small business was able to quickly turn around the application, it’s likely you received your funding (or it may be on the way as the SBA preps to process PPP round two – as an additional $310 billion in funding was granted by the SBA this week).
As organizations begin to put this funding to use, it’s imperative that the requirements for where, when and how you use these funds are top of mind as the fear of non-compliance looms. Taking necessary actions now can assist your small business down the road to reach forgiveness – you don’t want a loan (and neither does the bank at these low interest rates), you want forgiveness.
FORGIVENESS SURROUNDING EMPLOYEES
- As referenced prior, one stipulation regarding the PPP loan forgiveness states that “SBA will forgive all loans if all employees are kept on payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest or utilities.”
- It’s important to note that the eight-week period that is referenced commences on the exact date that the PPP funds are received.
PAID OR INCURRED – BE CONSISTENT IN THE APPROACH
- The law states that costs must be paid or incurred, which could be two different things depending on timing. For ease of reporting, and to best match up cash flow, it’s likely best to track things on a cash basis.
ENSURE RENT, UTILITIES, MORTGAGE INTEREST ARE PAID AND UP TO DATE
- No more than 25% of the forgivable amount of the loan can be attributable to these non-payroll costs.
- If your facilities costs include common area maintenance, do your best to get billed by lessor or estimate and pay.
CONSIDER PRE-FUNDING BONUSES TO EMPLOYEES THAT WOULD OTHERWISE BE ENTITLED
- If possible, consider matching contributions to retirement plans, such as 401(k) even if on a discretionary basis. You could also provide additional Health Savings Account (HSA) funding.
COMPENSATION IS LIMITED
- Keep in mind, as a small business you are limited to no more than $100,000 (annualized) for one employee. This works out to $15,384 of compensation during the eight-week period.
KEEP TRACK OF HEADCOUNT
- If you have had a recent reduction in employee headcount, consider bringing those employees back by June 30, 2020. They will count as Full-time equivalent (FTE) for the entire eight-week covered period.
SETUP A SEPARATE BANK ACCOUNT
- While this is not required, it makes this significantly easier for inflow/outflow tracking purposes as you begin to use funding
- Support for expenditures will need to be shown, but one dedicated account will make this process more painless.
NO DOUBLE DIPPING
- If there are employees on your payroll that receive their salaries in the form of a government grant, they need to be excluded from your total employee count.
SOCIAL SECURITY TAX DEFERRAL
- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has clarified that employers receiving PPP loans (that have not have been forgiven), may be able to take advantage of the Social Security tax deferral, without incurring penalties, until the date on which the lender issues a decision to forgive the PPP loan.
- The tax that is deferred prior to the loan forgiveness date is due under the applicable dates provided in the statute (50% by December 31, 2021 and 50% by December 31, 2022).
Life science and health care is the industry which is a late adopter of digital innovation but never left untouched by this. For life sciences companies who are looking to transform digital technology, here are the latest tech trends they should focus on.
Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning
One of the biggest challenges for life sciences companies is the time it takes to develop a product or drug, it varies from 7-10 years. A lot of this time is spent in reviewing and analyzing data, which can be reduced by using AI and ML. Researchers are focusing on writing AI scripts that can analyze the structures and unstructured data and present the meaningful value to the research community so that they can make faster decisions. AI can be used to select the right patient and sites for clinical trials to accelerate the trial process. Using AI and machine Learning, you can train the system to analyze people, drugs, trial results and regulations to expedite the drug delivery process.
Automated Data Extraction
Data extraction is a critical step for life science companies and regulatory agencies. Companies can use automated scripts to read relevant research data, historical trends to make better business decisions. Regulatory agencies can use it to read the submitted data and analyze it and make decisions like who to send the data for review. Regulatory agencies can use this to inform the drug manufacturer or public as well about the safety concern of a drug or ingredient.
Natural Language Processing
Reading unstructured data and understanding it in context of language and research has always been a challenge for life science companies. Additionally, companies that are submitting drugs in multiple markets have to face the challenge of translating content and labels in different languages. NLP can help this, It can be used to read unstructured data like texts, comments and data collected from kiosk in context of the scenario. NLP can be combined with machine learning to train the system and extract the right meaning.
Managing and securing data is big for life science companies. Blockchain seems to be the right solution for clinical trial, drug delivery and supply chain management. It can be used to secure patient health records, trial outcomes, historical data, communication among stakeholders, and other related data. Some blockchain platforms are being launched to cater to the life sciences, there is more need to understand the use cases and come up with the right solutions.
Mobile Apps /Wearables for Data Collection
Last 10 years have seen an explosion in mobile apps and wearable for health and fitness. Life science companies were initially slow to adopt to these technologies, however, they are focusing more on this now. It really makes the clinical trial process faster and accurate. You can give apps and wearables to patients to gather the data in real time and make the right decision. Overall, these technologies make the process faster and less costly.
Piyush Jain is CEO and Founder of Simpalm, a custom software development company based in Bethesda, MD.
Please see important information below regarding our office move, guest blogs and member videos! Let me know if you have questions. I’m looking forward to seeing you soon!
Maryland Tech Council is saying goodbye to our old digs on September 20, 2017. Please make note, our communications will be down that day and we will resume full activity on September 21, 2017. MTC’s new headquarters will be located at Launch Workplaces in Gaithersburg MD, 9841 Washingtonian Boulevard, Suite 200, Gaithersburg MD 20878.
Be a Guest Blogger
Maryland Tech Council is launching the Member Point of View (POV) guest blogs. We are inviting members to submit content for our blog page. The content will be focused on your niche/industry where you can add a new POV for the MTC audience. Our goal is to position you as an authority and well-known name in the industry. And for us, we will have fresh new content for the page and get new readers to our blogger community. It’s simple and a win-win. We will have numerous categories that you can write articles for; those will be available in the next few weeks. We are kicking off the Member POV blogs during Cyber Security Awareness month in October. If you are interested in submitting a blog on that topic, please let me know and we will get you started.
Become a Familiar Face in the Community
Maryland Tech Council is revitalizing the “member spotlight” that is featured in the VIBE E-newsletter. We now offer the opportunity to feature you, the member, through our new and exciting video blog or vlog. The video will be 30-45 seconds, prerecorded at our offices, about your company. We will then feature the vlog in our monthly VIBE E-newsletter. The vlogs allow us to distribute the member spotlight through other formats such as twitter, Facebook, etc. to get you more exposure. I mean, we are the Tech Council, right?
Remember, everyone in your company is a member of MTC. Please share this important information with your team.
Maryland Tech Council