Accounting & Auditing | Financial Planning | Training & CPE

CPAs … takin’ care of business, every day

What are CPAs doing during this recession? That was the question posed to me by Ryan Sharrow, a biz reporter at the Baltimore Business Journal a couple of days ago.

Remember that song by Canadian rock group Bachman Turner Overdrive? Well, that reminds me of what most of our members are doing right now. I explained that while many of our practicing CPAs are heavily focused on that dreaded T word -- taxes -- they are also advising their clients on how to make sense of this crazy environment. Like our CPAs in business, industry and government, they are busy helping their organizations work through this recession.

They are busy evaluating expenses, cash flow, borrowing and risk management, calculating alternatives and options, looking for new revenue sources, and yes, even looking at taxes. They are takin' care of business.

Which brings me to the next question that Ryan asked: What about the new stimulus plan that was just signed into law (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, or ARRA)?

I explained that the new act has lots of changes that will affect small businesses and individual taxpayers in the areas of taxes, financing and even new sources of funding through the Small Business Administration. CPAs will be called upon to make sense of these complex changes and help businesses (and individuals) maximize all of the credits, tax savings, financing and other opportunities in this legislation.

Just yesterday, we met with representatives from the U.S. Small Business Administration to talk about the key provisions in the new act that CPAs need to know about to help their clients and organization take advantage of resources that are coming. Baltimore District Director Steve Umberger and Assistant District Director OJ Phillips visited with us to explain the act's impact on the SBA and what CPAs should know.

Some of the changes that should have a major impact for small businesses are:

  • increases in SBA loan guarantees, up to 90 percent;
  • business stabilization loans;
  • microloans;
  • refinancing;
  • secondary market expansion;
  • new investment programs; and
  • increases in surety bond limits guaranteed by the SBA.

They were excited that the SBA was included in the ARRA and felt this is both a comprehensive approach and will position the SBA to be part of the solution to the most pressing issues facing small businesses.

You can read about the SBA and the stimulus plan in a news release just published on MACPA's Web site. Look for more programs, resources and workshops designed to help CPAs and small businesses use all of the tools and resources available to help them navigate these turbulent times.

Check out our latest video with the SBA that talks about our strategic alliance memorandum and what CPAs need to know.

We have also scheduled a series of workshops and panels at our upcoming Maryland Business and Accounting Expo that will cover the latest impacts of the stimulus bill and the latest programs available from the SBA, covering topics like financing, BRAC opportunities, how to qualify for government contracts, and even international trade opportunities for small businesses.

The SBA also confirmed that its chief economist, Chad Moutray, will be giving us the latest on the economy and the SBA at our Expo on June 16 and 17 at the Baltimore Convention Center. (See Chad's latest post on the impact of the stimulus bill on small businesses at the SBA Blog.)

Our efforts with the SBA are also part of a national effort started by the AICPA's PCPS team, creating both national and local strategic alliances to help CPAs help small businesses. We believe small businesses will be the key to getting Maryland and the U.S. out of this recession.

Stay tuned for more resources to help CPAs keep takin' care of business.

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