As Congress weighs renewed economic stimulus, CPA firms should be gearing up to assist small businesses whose survival depends on a new round of funding under the Paycheck Protection Program, according to the American Institute of CPAs and its business and technology arm, CPA.com. Small businesses should be reaching out to their trusted advisors as well.
“We are encouraging the 44,000 CPA firms affiliated with the AICPA to start identifying clients who will meet the proposed criteria for the next round of PPP,” Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com, said. “As part of that, they should begin the process of gathering key information, such as 2020 revenue. It’s also important for firms to put in place processes and PPP platform capabilities. Firms have a great opportunity to be much more proactive and strategic on how they support clients with this stimulus compared to the original PPP round in April.”
The AICPA is urging swift, renewed funding of the PPP and other business relief programs.
“Small businesses, the engine of our economy, continue to struggle,” Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, president and CEO of the AICPA, said. “We strongly support Congress’s efforts to deliver more relief funding as soon as possible.”
During the initial rollout of the PPP, CPA firms were forced to set up manual processes to serve clients and often operated with limited guidance. To provide better support, the AICPA, CPA.com and Biz2Credit launched a financing platform for CPA firms, the CPA Business Funding Portal (CPALoanPortal.com), to help practitioners guide small businesses through PPP loan forgiveness and any other small business financing options. Versions of the portal’s tools, developed by CPA.com and Biz2Credit, have been used by more than 37,000 business owners and almost 7,000 CPA firms since this summer.
Once so-called “PPP2” funding is authorized, the portal will be updated to make loan application processing efficient and aligned with the latest guided assistance, Asgeirsson said.
Among other features, the CPA Business Lending Portal offers:
- A free basic service for small businesses or CPAs advising only a few clients
- A set of tools in a single platform to help CPA firms manage multiple clients in a standardized way
- Upfront integration with payroll providers to intake data automatically from official payroll reports
- Access to AICPA technical input and calculators
- Payment of agent fees for firms registered for one of the paid plans available through the platform (assuming this is permissible in PPP2 as it was in the original PPP)
“We’ve learned a lot of lessons about simplifying the application process for small businesses since PPP was first introduced,” Rohit Arora, CEO of Biz2Credit, said. “The CPA Business Funding Portal is built on our Biz2X Platform, which is tailor-made to the specifications of the SBA and the Treasury Department and is adaptable as regulations change. It has become a trusted platform for lenders, small business borrowers and their trusted CPA advisors. We will be ready for accounting professionals on day one following the enactment of PPP2.”