Accountants should verify that banks will pay their fees before helping their small business clients apply for a second round of coronavirus relief loans or stick to a traditional advisory services agreement.
The American Institute of CPAs on Thursday released updated guidance on the fees accountants can charge to cover their advisory and client support services with federally backed loan applications for the Personal Protection Program. paychecks.
If the bank agrees to pay the CPA or the firm, the accountants should document and disclose this to the client and describe the services they will provide, including compiling payroll reports, calculating monthly salary costs, and reviewing the payroll. asks, says the guide.
Accountants can also choose to use the most common consulting engagements to explain how they will help and their obligations to the client, said Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com.
Under Orientation of the Treasury Department, accountants, lawyers or loan brokers, among others, could be considered agents and eligible for fees paid by lenders. The law that created the loan program also states that agents cannot charge any fees from the small business itself.
Not all banks have agreed to pay agent fees to accountants. Most accountants have relied on consulting engagements to cover their costs and help clients decide which relief option they should take, said Anne Zimmerman, who provides offsite CFO services to many of her clients. small business clients in Ohio.
“The application is only two pages long, so filling it out isn’t the hardest part. Figuring out how to get there and if it’s the right choice, I think that’s the hardest part, ”Zimmerman said.
Asgeirsson acknowledged that not all banks agreed to pay agent fees, but banking executives understand that CPAs are important to their operation.
“This is a critical time for companies to play the role of trusted advisor. It’s much broader than the simple PPP application, ”he said.
CPAs have been at the forefront of massive efforts to hand over the initial $ 350 billion in federally guaranteed loans to owners of closed and struggling businesses. But questions about what expenses are covered, how to calculate payroll, and the legal and ethical obligations of accountants quickly escalated amid the rushed deployment.
The AICPA has answered some of the key questions from accountants about fees and their legal and ethical obligations in a Q&A published on April 22.