With 2021 coming to a close, tax season will begin soon. Small business owners will make their appointments to meet with their chartered accountants to work on and file their tax returns. Of course, a good accountant will be able to file on time and do everything in their power to minimize tax exposure for their clients and avoid audits. They also generate year-end financial reports and advise on estimated tax payments that must be paid during the year.
However, an outstanding accountant can do much more than that. After all, he or she knows better than anyone how successful the business is, and in many cases what the company can do best, including ways to increase revenue and reduce costs, improve cash flow, manage inventory, and secure small business financing .
Above all, a competent CPA can help solve business problems. Nowhere has this been more evident than during the government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) when millions of small US businesses were forced to assemble documents in order to take advantage of PPP financing opportunities.
In September 2020, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the business and technology arm of CPA.com, launched CPALoanPortal.com with Biz2Credit to simplify the process for CPA firms that advise small businesses on loan forgiveness under the Paycheck Protection Program and more small business financing options that customers may need to finance growth.
The portal has been an effective platform for chartered accountants and their clients who have sought government-backed business relief. So far, the portal has allowed users to process and obtain about 40,000 PPP loans totaling more than $1 billion for small business business relief. The offer has now expanded to include term loan financing – a natural extension of the capabilities of CPA firms.
“CPA companies have played an important role in supporting small business owners during workplace closures and the emerging recovery,” says Eric Asgerson, President and CEO of CPA.com. “As trusted advisors, they are required to do more for their clients and need advanced tools to deliver these services efficiently and effectively.”
Recently, the cloud-based financing platform added a business term loan option for small business clients of CPA firms. The term loan option offers online applications, competitive financing terms, fast turnaround in loan decisions, and financing amounts ranging from $25,000 to $1 million at unchanged interest rates. The ability to quickly capitalize on opportunities can be a huge difference factor for small and medium-sized businesses.
“The development of the CPA Business Funding Portal reflects this growing role, as well as the rapid movement of the profession in business finance advisory services,” says Asgeirsson.
For example, Tony Thread, CPA, PFS, owner of Eco-Tax, Inc. , a Brooklyn-based CPA, has been the CPA Business Funding Portal for the past year to secure PPP financing and tolerance for clients. He says he now plans to leverage the platform to support the future business financing needs of his clients.
“No one knows my clients’ business better than me and my employees,” Khait said. “We look at their financial statements every day. We know their short and long-term business goals. With the CPA Business Finance Portal, we can strengthen our relationship as a trusted advisor by recommending the right loan for their unique needs.”
In addition to providing taxes and helping clients obtain small business loans, CPAs also perform services such as providing virtual financial manager services, developing financial projections, providing financial advice, and even playing a role in succession planning.
When searching for the right CPA, small business owners should consider more than just tax knowledge. A good accountant can make a huge difference to a small business owner by helping to improve reporting, planning, efficiency, and prepare for long-term business growth. If your business defaults on its tax obligations, the CPA can often establish a reasonable payment plan with the IRS or state tax collector to update the payments.
CPA’s best client relationships are partnerships in which the CPA is a trusted advisor who can help guide the ship’s finances through times of smooth sailing and rocky waters. If you’re looking for one, ask other business owners who they use, ask your local Chamber of Commerce or Small Business Development Center (SBDC), or visit the AICPA Directory. Ask for a list of the services offered and the names of some references. If everything worked out, find out how much the company charges and determine the required regularity of communication.