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Business Loans for Accountants

business-loans-for-accountants

Whether you just passed the CPA exam and have decided to open your own firm, or have been offered partnership, as an accountant you understand the importance of access to capital. A business loan could fund opening your own office or buying into a partnership. It could pay to build out a new office, buy out a partner, or advertise your new firm.

While the accounting industry has long been dominated by the Big Four, there’s plenty of room for smaller firms. The sector expects 11% growth by 2024. Small firms make up the majority of the industry, with 90% of firms having fewer than ten partners and less than $600,000 in annual revenues. While 86.2% of these firms provide tax preparation services, a larger percentage (92.2%) fill the accounting and bookkeeping needs of other small businesses. 77.7% of small firms round out their businesses by providing business consulting.

There’s plenty of opportunity to expand by adding services to your firm’s offerings. But expansion often requires capital investment – to bring on new staff, purchase computers, or invest in software. Here are some common reasons that it might be time for you to borrow.

Top Reasons for Accountants to Borrow

Here are several reasons that an accountant or accountancy firm might borrow. If these reasons apply to your business, it’s a sign that borrowing could be a wise choice.

Start a new firm

If you’ve been licensed and practicing as a CPA for many years, and have a loyal client base, now might be the time to start your own firm. Striking out on your own gives you the opportunity to be pickier about the work you take on and the clients you choose. You can set your own hours and have more control over your work/life balance.

But starting a new firm requires a significant capital investment. If you decide to invest in a franchise, such as H&R Block, you would need to open an office and invest in office equipment and supplies as well as pay the franchise fee. Hiring and training staff, advertising your new business, and investing in tax preparation software also require significant upfront capital.

A small business loan could cover these expenses until your new firm begins to generate cash flow. 

Buy out a partner or buy in

Another way to advance in the accounting profession is to buy into a firm. After several years at a firm, when a current partner is ready to retire or move on, the firm may offer you the chance at partnership. When you buy a partnership, you’re purchasing equity in the firm. 

Firm’s price this equity based on the firm’s valuation, and you could pay between $100,000 to $150,000 at a smaller firm. In exchange, you receive a partnership interest, which translates to a portion of the firm’s profits.

Buying out a current partner is another reason to borrow. Perhaps the partnership hasn’t yielded the results you anticipated when offering the partner a portion of the firm. Or, they’re ready to retire but you don’t yet have a suitable replacement. Borrowing to buy them out preserves their capital in the firm’s control.

Staffing Needs and Payroll

Accounting practices that focus heavily on tax preparation are often subject to seasonality. While you must keep staffing at appropriate levels to meet tax season demands, during other times of the year it could be a struggle to meet payroll. Properly compensating your employees also helps you attract and retain top talent.

During lean times, a working capital loan helps you meet payroll obligations. A working capital loan could also support hiring new employees ahead of an expansion or growth push. This expansion could be opening a new office or offering new services to existing clients.

Upgrading technology, software, or cybersecurity

Accountants handle sensitive, personal information. Your firm may have the social security numbers, EINs, dates of birth, and addresses of hundreds to thousands of individuals and businesses. A data breach could cause serious reputational harm and loss of business. 

If it’s been several years since you invested in cybersecurity tools, now may be the time to upgrade your cybersecurity and protect the privacy and fidelity of customer data. Alternatively, new software could reduce the time you spend on simple tasks, freeing staff to focus on additional services or revenue-generating activities. 

Marketing to reach new customers

Attrition is natural in any business. Individuals may move to other states, taking their business with them. Businesses close or shift operations.

To maintain business and grow, it’s important to attract new customers. A marketing plan could help you reach new customers, and if your marketing includes social media and blogging campaigns that educate existing customers it could also support retention.

Questions for an Accountant to Ask Themselves Before Borrowing

Before researching small business or working capital loans, formulating a plan and purpose for the funds will ensure borrowing success. These questions can help you get clear on how the funds will support your business plans, direct your application to the appropriate funding sources, and save you time and money.

  • How long have you been in business? 

Traditional banks prefer to work with borrowers who have a long history of successful business operations. Businesses with less than two years of operations will find it difficult to work with a bank. If your firm only opened its door two months ago, an alternative lender will be a better source of capital.

  • How do you plan on using the capital?

If you’re funding a large expansion, you may need to use the funds longer and borrow more. A long-term small business loan could best meet your needs. On the other hand, if you only need to cover payroll for a month or two a working capital loan could be the best fit. Your plans for the capital will direct you towards one loan product over another. 

  • Do you have good credit?

Whether it was taking on a loan to open your firm or paying for school and the CPA exam, taking on debt in the past may have hurt your credit score. Small business owners with a lower credit score could find it difficult to obtain capital from traditional lenders. However, if you have a credit score at or above 500, most alternative lenders will extend credit.

  • What can you afford to borrow? 

Borrowing that over-extends your business could lead to financial difficulties in a few months or years. Before you apply for a loan take the time to budget and determine how the loan’s payment will impact your cash flows. If it looks as if the loan’s potential payment could damage your cash flows, scale back your plans.

If you’re borrowing to add an office, expand the services you offer, or hire to support an expansion, that leads to the next question.

  • Will the project generate a profit? 

Run a few cash flow projections to answer this important question. If you’re borrowing at a rate of 15%, the projected rate of return should be higher than the cost of capital. Capital that’s invested wisely will produce long-term profit for your business.

Best Business Loans for Accountants

Once you’ve pulled together a budget, cash flow projection, and project plan for the capital, you’re ready to look at potential business loans. Lenders offer different loan products to meet different needs. One of these products will be the best fit for your business circumstances.

Working Capital Loans

Working capital is the money needed for day-to-day operations. These funds cover rent, payroll, and utilities. Working capital loans have a shorter term, helping business owners who face temporary cash flow issues. You can apply for and receive funding for a working capital loan in as few as 24 hours, making them perfect for temporary and emergency needs.

To qualify for a working capital loan, you’ll need a credit score above 650 and your business must have minimum monthly revenues of $10,000. Lenders offer working capital loans between $10,000 to $1 million.

Unsecured Business Loans

An unsecured business loan can fund larger projects – such as opening a new office with a group of accountants. Lenders offer unsecured loans in amounts between $50,000 to $2 million. They have a longer repayment period of up to three years to match the project’s projected timeline.

With a longer repayment term, you’ll have lower payments, making it easier to manage cash flow during the project’s launch phase. Rates range from 12% to 45%, and your business qualifies if you have a credit score above 530 and minimum monthly revenues of $10,000.

Same Day Business Loans

A same day business loan can technically any type of funding that can be received within 24 hours. It can be used to fund a smaller project – such as investing in new accounting software or refurbishing an office – which will be completed within a year. 

After a few months in business you can apply for a same day loan. Lenders only require a minimum credit score of around 600 and to be the owner of the business. The business’ minimum monthly revenues must exceed $10,000, but you can borrow as little as $10,000, and there are no prepayment penalties.

When it’s time to borrow to open or grow your accountancy, look for a lending partner who understands your business needs. Shield Funding has worked with accounting firms for over NUMBER years, helping them reach their business goals. We understand your business and offer a variety of loan products. Reach out today to find out more.