The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) expects the US’ federal government to open up the application process for lenders participating in the latest round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) by Friday and has encouraged CPA firms to advance the application process for small business clients seeking relief.

AICPA president and CEO Barry Melancon said: “We believe the full program needs to go live as soon as possible and we fully support the Treasury Department and Small Business Administration (SBA) reopening the program for all lenders by Friday.

“What we’ve been telling CPA firms is be prepared and get to work. All indications, based on input from the Treasury and SBA, is there will be enough funding to meet all of the ‘first draw’ and ‘second draw’ PPP applications, so firms can help alleviate concerns their clients may have.”

AICPA has advised firms to collect key information from their clients to speed up the process.

In September 2020, AICPA, and Biz2Credit launched a financing platform for CPA firms, CPA Business Funding Portal, to help practitioners assist small business through PPP loan forgiveness. The portal has been updated to accept ‘PPP2’ applications. president and CEO Erik Asgeirsson said: “Small businesses should expect more scrutiny in this round of PPP applications. The SBA is doing more vetting for potential fraud and in some instances is asking for more validation. It’s important that businesses and their advisors get it right, so that applications don’t get held up and pushed back in the queue. That’s why we think it’s vital that firms use the more robust set of tools that are available now.”

The CPA Business Funding Portal offers a free basic service, plus tiered subscription plans for firms that want a direct path to fund loans through an SBA-approved lender to ensure they receive agent fees.