By Erik Asgeirsson, President and CEO, CPA.com
CPAs are meeting the moment when it comes to small business relief. This is a new advisory service for the profession, one that will last through 2021 and 2022, in terms of lingering pandemic impacts. Beyond that, we firmly believe funding options will continue to be a valuable category for CPAs to explore with their small business clients. To do it right, though, firms need expanded capabilities and tools.
That’s where the AICPA and CPA.com come in. Throughout 2020, we’ve been providing resources and guidance to CPA firms on relief developments, particularly those related to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Here’s some of the things we’ve done since March:
- Advocated for fast, effective small business relief both as a solo organization and as the leader of a small business funding coalition we organized
- Offered key advice to Treasury Department and Small Business Administration officials on improving guidance to the PPP and other relief programs
- Stood up a page of valuable PPP resources and recommendations that is constantly updated by experts within the AICPA’s firm and tax management sections
- Organized regular AICPA Town Halls on the latest PPP developments and related matters that have provided timely updates and insight to thousands of members each session
- Created calculators for PPP loan applications and PPP loan forgiveness
While all of these steps have been helpful, it became obvious that small businesses and the CPAs who advise them needed more. In July, we partnered with fintech leader Biz2Credit on a free tool to process a master report for PPP loan forgiveness applications, PPPForgivenessTool.com. And in September, we worked with Biz2Credit again to create a business funding portal, CPALoanPortal.com, for CPA firms that expect to handle forgiveness applications from multiple clients, as well as new applications from a potential second round of PPP funding.
As we await the president’s approval of the COVID-19 relief bill, which includes renewed Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds and related assistance for eligible businesses, there are several things your firm can do to prepare.
Reach out proactively to small business clients and hard-pressed businesses to begin collecting key documents such as 2020 revenue, monthly payroll amounts, and the like. Once “PPP2” funding regulations are in effect, likely by the end of December or early January, that groundwork will pay off.
CPALoanPortal.com has several features that can help, including:
- A free basic service for small businesses or CPAs advising only a few clients
- A more robust set of fee-based tools in a single platform to help CPA firms manage multiple clients in a standardized way
- Upfront integration with leading payroll providers (with more providers being added regularly) to intake data automatically from official payroll reports
- Access to the power of AICPA technical input and calculators
- Payment of agent fees for firms registered for one of the paid plans available through the platform
Once the pandemic ebbs, we see the business funding category evolving into a routine part of the advisory services that CPA firms offer their clients. CPALoanPortal.com will evolve, as well. These kinds of tools and solutions will help CPAs deepen their relationships with clients and broaden their roles as trusted advisors.
For more information about business funding options, please visit cpa.com/business-funding.
This article originally published on AICPA Insights