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From Management’s Point of View ~Benefit All Three Parties~

November 20, 2023

“Good for the seller, good for the buyer, and good for society” is a phrase handed down from the famed Oumi merchants of Japan’s early modern period. While I could envision the seller and buyer, it wasn’t initially clear to me why society would also be involved. Thus, we discussed about this topic at one of our Beer Bash events, and a staff member gave an interesting example that I would like to present here.

By the start of 2023, when the Coronavirus Pandemic was finally starting to recede, it wasn’t just the three years of illness that people had been struggling with. There were also many companies in all kinds of industries that were facing financial difficulties. Here in the United States, in order to help save such companies, the government offered various types of relief measures, including the Paycheck Protection Program loans (known as PPP loans), which would be forgiven if certain conditions were met. At first, however, nobody understood the content of these policies very well, and for non-experts, the application process was particularly hard to grasp with respect to tax law. Given this situation, many companies were in a position where they wanted to request help from an accountancy, but at the same time were hesitant to take on additional expenses in the face of reduced revenues caused by the Pandemic. At the time, a number of our staff members suggested that we could take on such work for loss-making companies without charging them for it. I actually thought that such a suggestion might be overly bold, but seeing as how a number of our clients really had no other means of moving forward, I ended up deciding that this was indeed the time to offer this work for free.

Because some of our clients scaled back their operations or withdrew altogether during the pandemic, our own sales and profitability declined during the period. However, we still needed to maintain our employment because we were working on special yet loss-making pandemic related projects such as PPP applications. But somewhat marvelously, the Employee Retention Tax Credit (or ERTC) was rolled out the following year, providing a tax credit for companies with reduced sales that maintained their employment levels. Accordingly, the ERTC was applicable to our situation and was sufficient to cover our losses. Because we kept our staff employment throughout, our actions matched up with the intent of the policy, which was to help maintain social stability.

Good for the seller, good for the buyer, and good for society. Private enterprises naturally set their prices so as to make a profit. It means that sellers should strive to improve their products and services so that buyers will pay more for them. Conversely, buyers should verify that prices are fair, working to see that the outcome is win-win. On the other hand, sellers must also know the true significance of their own existence while understanding the pain that buyers may be experiencing. This means that sellers must occasionally commit to making certain sacrifices. In the case related here, our actions were compensated in the form of a tax credit from the US government.

As it turns out, most of our clients who were struggling financially have now recovered and have chosen to continue working with us on our standard fee basis. Going forward, we will continue in our efforts to be a company that is helpful to our clients and to society as a whole.


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