Financial Planning | Training & CPE

SBA and CPAs: Working together to help build small businesses

Dsc09858_3 In the midst of all of the market turmoil, the MACPA turned the attention from Wall Street to Main Street as we executed a strategic alliance memorandum with the Baltimore District of the Small Business Administration.

Pictured at the signing ceremony are (from left) Richard Rabicoff of the MACPA; O.J. Phillips, CPA, of the SBA; Tom Hood, CPA, of the MACPA; Steve Umberger of the SBA; and Jackie Brown of the MACPA. Steve is district director of the Baltimore Office and O.J. is the leader of business development in the Baltimore office and an MACPA member.

Small business is an incredibly important part of the Maryland (and U.S.) economy. This strategic alliance is one way we can make a positive difference in our community, despite the Wall Street crisis we are facing. According to the latest statistics from the SBA, Maryland has 536,200 small businesses (defined as those with fewer than 500 employees) who employ more than 53 percent of our non-farm private labor -- a total of 1.1 million people. Nationwide, a recent study indicated that over the past six months, small business generated 200,000 new jobs while large businesses lost 170,000.

As the trusted advisors to business, CPAs are in the best position to help small businesses find the right resources to help them start, finance and grow their businesses. That is why we think this strategic alliance is so important. We also are excited about leveraging the national strategic alliance that was created earlier this year between the AICPA and SBA.

The strategic alliance memorandum outlines ways in which the SBA and the MACPA can work together for the benefit of Maryland small businesses. We see four major resources the SBA has that we think our CPAs need to know about:

  1. Dsc09852_4SBA loan programs: These new and improved programs offer fast turnaround and higher levels of  financing than traditional loans.
  2. Getting qualified for federal contracting. Doing business with the federal government is a major industry in Maryland, and the SBA can help your clients figure this out.
  3. Understanding the opportunities around the Base Relocation and Closure (BRAC): Some estimates are as high as 24,000 more jobs in Maryland at Fort Meade and Aberdeen. The SBA can help you understand how to take advantage of this.
  4. Training and other resources available through the SBA: They have great online resources that CPAs can use to help clients.

Another important area that was discussed was recruiting retired CPAs to join the SBA Adviser Program (formally SCORE). Download the Maryland edition of the SBA Resource Guide.

The AICPA's small practice section (PCPS) has a Web site highlighting some of the great resources available for free from the SBA. Visit the site here.

We will be featuring the SBA and its resources again at the next Maryland Business and Accounting Expo, scheduled for June 16-17 at the Baltimore Convention Center.

What do you think? Can we come together as the business community and find opportunity and growth in the midst of these turbulent times?