The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is launching a new initiative to help small firms struggling with regulatory issues and is enlisting the help of accountants to do so.
In a press release issued on Monday (June 25), the SBA announced a strategic alliance with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) to help small businesses (SMBs) facing regulatory compliance and enforcement issues.
Accountants with small business customers facing regulatory compliance or enforcement issues will be able to seamlessly direct those clients to the SBA’s Office of the National Ombudsman (ONO), which helps to resolve those matters. The ONO focuses on small firms that have been unfairly treated by excessive regulation, like repeated audits and investigations, excessive fines or unfair activity on the part of a regulator.
“CPAs [(certified public accountants)] play a key role in the small business community as trusted business advisors,” said AICPA Vice President of Small Firm Interests Carl Peterson in a statement. “This strategic alliance between the SBA and AICPA will provide our members with the latest tools and resources when they or their small business clients have concerns regarding regulatory enforcement.”
“Our partnership with the AICPA will enable the SBA Office of the National Ombudsman to further expand our reach to, and impact upon, an even greater number of CPAs who could benefit from our assistance,” added SBA Deputy National Ombudsman Mina Wales.
The SBA and AICPA have been working together since 2008, the entities noted.
Legislation passed in the Senate earlier this month increases the SBA’s ability to lend to small businesses after data revealed a decrease in the number of small businesses seeking SBA loans at the end of last year.
The Small Business 7(a) Lending Oversight Reform Act would enhance the SBA’s credit risk management and lender oversight review process, while requiring the administration to detail its oversight budget and perform complete annual analysis of its program.