The PPP Forgiveness Problem

Banks and Credit Unions were not set up to forgive loans, much less forgive loans in the volume that PPP has created. Add to that challenge the fact that in-person meetings are not possible, the PPP Forgiveness Application is as complicated as a business tax return, and constantly updated “guidance” from the SBA. Finally, banks and credit unions are not accounting advisors to their small business customers, nor should they be. But these PPP lenders still have to figure out how to process all these PPP Forgiveness applications, and the window for doing so gets smaller every day.

The PPP Forgiveness Solution

We’ve created a solution for all PPP lenders that requires zero core integration. Our plug-and-play PPP forgiveness solution is divided into three phases:
  • Education
  • Intake
  • Processing 
The solution offers zero implementation costs, a low monthly fee, and a fee per successful transaction.

PPP Forgiveness: So Complex It’s Like a Tax Return

The PPP Forgiveness Application is much more complex than anyone expected it to be, especially compared to the “good faith” application that was required to get a PPP loan. We continue to hear that the Forgiveness application is at least as complicated as a business tax return. We shouldn’t be surprised by this complexity, given that PPP loans were created to be free money to the businesses who needed it the most. The difficulty comes in substantiating that “need” with documentation.  Most small businesses do not do their own tax returns. There’s a reason for that, and the same reason may apply to completing the PPP Forgiveness Application. To solve that issue, we offer our network of virtual accountants for those businesses that need assistance. Or, perhaps the business’ existing accountants don’t provide this type of guidance. Either way, we can match any small business with a virtual accountant to help them through the PPP forgiveness application process.

How the FINSYNC PPP Forgiveness Solution Works

First, the education phase offers free materials including a simplified PDF guide on exactly how to prepare for and complete the PPP Forgiveness Application and a calculator (Excel and Google Sheets) for small businesses to utilize in calculating how much of their loan can be forgiven. Then, as guidance arrives from the SBA, we update these materials and make sure our users get the right updates. We also inform each user that accountant assistance is available through our network of vetted professionals. Next, after the eight week PPP use window has passed, the user will complete the intake form, which is a bank-branded workflow that directly follows the SBA PPP Forgiveness application. Once the user gets through the form section, we create an account and password for their portal. Once they're in the portal, they complete the application including submitting their supporting documents and the lender’s team gets notified that there is a new application pending.  Finally, once the forgiveness application is submitted in the lender’s portal, that’s when the lender’s users can access the application, and start processing it to it’s next point, and then passing it on to the next phase for the next user to access it. Ultimately, the lender’s users carry those through to the point at which the application is ready for SBA submission. At that point, the lender either electronically or manually submits the PPP Forgiveness Application to the SBA.

No Core Integration

Here we want to reiterate that we are offering a plug-and-play solution, for which zero IT investment is required. We do not integrate to the bank’s core. We consume the borrower’s information as part of the onboarding process, so that's how we get the information into the system in the first place. Then we provision the lender’s portal and intake form in just a few minutes. So, once the lender accepts our terms of use we can have these ready and in your hands within an hour.

Very Affordable Pricing

Once your lender’s portal is deployed, you get visibility into the business and their PPP Forgiveness Application status throughout the process. The cost is $350 per lender user per month, with no long-term contract. You tell us how many users you want and that's what we bill you, and you can cancel anytime you need to. We then charge just $25 per successful SBA e-submission. There is no implementation fee.

Schedule A Demo

Schedule a personalized demo here. We will be happy to answer specific questions and walk you through the various tools.
Last Friday, May 15, the SBA issued new guidance for PPP loan forgiveness, and also published the official SBA PPP Loan Forgiveness Application (SBA Form 3508). We immediately went to work updating our free guide and calculator. Today, we’re releasing our new guide and an updated version of our free calculator. These tools will be helpful as you prepare to submit your PPP Loan Forgiveness application to the SBA through your lender.

Updated Guide and Calculator

Our SBA PPP Loan Forgiveness guide and calculator are absolutely free, and you can download them by going to this page. We’ve created a Microsoft Excel version and a Google Sheets version of the calculator. The guide is a 4-page PDF. Get them both here.

What Changed?

The Community Bankers Association of Georgia has a good update here. To sum up the major changes, other than the issuance of the actual application, here are the pertinent bullet points from that CBA of GA article.
  • Options for borrowers to calculate payroll costs using an “alternative payroll covered period” that aligns with borrowers’ regular payroll cycles, as opposed to exactly 8 weeks from the day you received funding.
  • Flexibility to include eligible payroll and non-payroll expenses paid or incurred during the eight-week period after borrowers received their PPP loan.
  • Step-by-step instructions on how to perform the calculations required by the CARES Act to confirm eligibility for loan forgiveness.
  • Statutory exemptions from loan forgiveness reduction based on rehiring by June 30.
  • The new exemption for borrowers whose good-faith, written offers to rehire workers were declined.

What’s the PPP Loan Forgiveness Application Look Like?

You can download that document (PDF) here. To sum it up, it looks a lot like a 1040 tax return. That’s good news for our accountants, whose job it is to help us work through forms like this one, but it’s bad news for anyone who thought they could do it themselves. The application is complex, which is why we’ve done the following:
  • Created a guide, much clearer than the official SBA instructions. You can see those for yourself here.
  • Created a calculator that will help you prepare to complete your official application.
  • Vetted thousands of accountants, and set up a simple matching process for any small business to find the right accountant in a few steps.

What Happens Next?

We expect the SBA to continue updating its guidance for PPP loan forgiveness as more and more businesses get funding and then begin the forgiveness application process. We encourage everyone who received a PPP loan to go ahead and download the SBA forgiveness application, so you can begin to prepare (or find an accountant for help). Eight weeks after you received your PPP loan, you will have most of the data that you’ll need to complete your forgiveness application. However, we also encourage everyone who received a PPP loan not to wait, but rather to keep accurate and up to date information on your payroll costs and other necessary payments that fall under the acceptable forgiveness uses for your PPP loan. If you are like most people, you will need help from your accountant. We encourage you to invite your accountant to join our network and help you complete and submit your PPP forgiveness application through your bank via our portal. Invite your accountant here or find a virtual accountant here.
From the Employee Retention Tax Credit to the SBA’s Express Small Business Loans, small businesses have options beyond PPP for coronavirus relief. By FINSYNC Many struggling small businesses pinned their hopes on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which essentially offers free money to qualified small businesses who use it correctly to cover payroll. As good as it sounds, not all small businesses were able to capitalize on this popular program. Whether you don’t qualify, your application didn’t get processed before the money ran out, or you need aid outside of payroll relief, there are several programs beyond PPP that offer relief for SMBs that have been affected by coronavirus.

Employee Retention Tax Credit

Introduced in the CARES Act, the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERC) is similar to PPP in that it’s designed to encourage businesses to keep employees on the payroll. However, unlike PPP the Employee Retention Credit is a refundable payroll tax credit for qualified wages. Businesses that receive a PPP loan are not eligible for the Employee Retention Credit. You don’t have to wait until you file your quarterly taxes to receive the credit. Eligible employers can receive the benefit now by reducing your employment tax deposits or by filing a claim for an “advance refund” of your credit for the quarter.

Amount of the Credit

The amount of the credit is equal to 50% of qualified wages that you pay your employees in the quarter — after March 13, 2020, and before January 1, 2021. Eligible wages are capped at $10,000 per employee, which means the maximum credit for each employee is $5,000.

Eligibility

To be eligible, your business operations must have been suspended partially or fully due to a government shut-down order caused by COVID-19. Your business is also eligible if your gross receipts have declined more than 50% for a quarter in 2020 (compared to the same quarter the prior year).

How to Receive the Credit

To receive eligible tax credits, businesses can claim credits on quarterly employment tax returns (IRS Form 941) starting with the second quarter of 2020. Alternatively, you can reduce the amount of employment taxes you pay without penalty. You can also submit Form 7200 to receive an advance refund.

SBA Express Bridge Loans

While it’s not new, the Small Business Administration’s Express Bridge Loan Program was expanded in March so that small businesses affected by COVID-19 are eligible. Designed to provide working capital to help businesses survive the economic downturn caused by coronavirus, the 7(a) loan program offers expedited SBA loans up to $25,000. You can apply through any qualified SBA Express lender, though you must have an existing relationship with the lender. Funds for the SBA Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program will be received within 45 days of application approval.

SBA Debt Relief

If you have an existing SBA loan, chances are you’re already getting help paying it off through the SBA Debt Relief Program. The SBA will automatically pay the principal, interest and fees of current, eligible 7(a), 504 and microloans for a period of 6 months. The same applies for new 7(a), 504, and microloans disbursed prior to September 27, 2020. For loans that are currently on deferment, SBA will start making payments on the next payment due after the deferment period is over.

Discontinued or Limited Coronavirus Relief Programs

Unfortunately, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Advance (EIDL) has tightened eligibility requirements and new applications are only being considered for agricultural businesses. In addition, the $5,000 Save Small Business grants have also hit capacity. Not to worry, in addition to the programs above, online lenders are another option for small businesses that need to access cash fast.

Alternative Lenders

Online lenders can provide a lifeline for small businesses who need funding to get through this downturn. Even before the coronavirus crisis, small businesses have been turning to alternative lenders in increasing numbers. According to the Federal Reserve’s 2019 Small Business Credit Survey, 33% of small businesses applied for a loan from an online lender in 2018, up from 19% in 2016 and 25% in 2017. Why? Less stringent application requirements, a streamlined application process — and perhaps most importantly, a higher approval rate. According to the Fed, online lenders approved funding for 76% of small businesses categorized as a medium or high credit risk in 2018. Contrast that with an approval rate of only 34% from large banks and 47% from small banks. More Help on the Horizon: Main Street Lending Program While there’s currently some debate over whether or not there will be a round 3 of PPP funding, additional relief programs have been announced and will be coming soon. One such program is the Main Street Lending Program, which is designed to help small and medium-sized businesses affected by COVID-19. To be eligible for the Main Street Lending Program, businesses must have 15,000 employees or less, and 2019 revenues below $5 billion. The minimum loan starts at $500,000 and the term is four years. Eligible banks can extend new loans or increase existing ones, and interest and principal payment will be deferred for one year. The start date of the program has not been announced yet. Additional programs and opportunities for small business coronavirus relief will also likely be introduced in the coming weeks and months. Take stock of your current options, and take advantage of the programs that can help your business weather this economic downturn.
Learn four strategies that can help you retain your customers, and even onboard new ones, during disruptive times.  By FINSYNC  COVID-19 has turned the world upside down for small business owners. You, like many others, have probably had to deal with cutting costs, laying off employees, and securing funding for your business.  And while crisis management is important, it’s equally important to think ahead and focus on retaining your customers. The major changes in the market have altered the purchasing habits of your customers, and you need to adapt fast.  We’ve put together four customer retention strategies that will help you retain your customers. To help you persevere in the new economic climate.

Increase Your Online Presence

Your customers are probably spending more time at home than ever, which also means more time online. This provides a great opportunity to create additional interest around your products or services, which can be achieved in multiple ways. First, you should stay connected with your customers in a more casual way through Facebook and Instagram. Think outside the box and experiment. You can stream anything related to your business, from a Q&A to a launch party or a product tutorial. This type of content can help customers stay engaged with your small business while also providing some much-needed entertainment. Social media platforms can also help create a sales channel to replace the one you may have lost in the physical world. You can add links to your products or services directly in the videos and photos you post to make it easier for customers to make a purchase.  

Rethink Your Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing is all about creating sales leads by publishing valuable content for your target audience. Regardless of where they are in their buying journey. However, the coronavirus has drastically changed the needs of your customers as well as their buying journey. This means that you also need to adjust the content you’re publishing. For example, if you run a small consulting company within the legal or personal finance space, your customers are probably looking for information about unemployment benefits, employee rights, and budgets, rather than investment advice and help with real estate documents. This gives you an opportunity to build a thought leadership position, both with your existing clients and prospects.

Enable Easy Payments

To ensure payment continuity, small businesses should focus on offering as many online payment options as possible. These days, cash payments can easily be replaced with credit card payments. Not only does using a credit card make it easier for customers to pay you from the comfort of their homes, it may also be a preferred payment method for those whose financial situation has changed.  Payment platforms like FINSYNC make it easy to accept a variety of payment types, including ACH and credit cards (even if you don’t have an existing merchant account). You can also convert paper checks into online payments by acquiring a lockbox. This way you won’t have to deposit the checks in person, and you can still do business with customers who can’t pay any other way. 

Communicate Frequently With Your Clients

Prioritize keeping your customers in the loop about how COVID-19 is affecting your business. This is different than any social media content you may post, and will likely be a more serious and straightforward communication. Perhaps your small business can start a newsletter. Or maybe you add a new landing page to your website where clients can go to be updated on the most important information. But if your products and services are especially useful during the COVID-19 situation, you can take it a step further. How about hosting a webinar where you demonstrate how your products and services can be helpful? Or follow up with customers by phone or email to see how they’re handling the situation? It’s also a good idea to put extra effort into customer service, such as video instructions, how-to pages, detailed FAQs, etc.   There’s a balance to be struck between necessary and redundant information. If you succeed, you may kill two birds with one stone; you can retain customers right now, but you may also gain new ones once the crisis is over. After all, word of mouth is powerful, and we all know that happy clients are some of the best salespeople a small business can have. 

Maintain a Customer-Centric View

Now more than ever, it’s important to focus on your customers. Recognize that the purchasing journey — from why customers buy your product to how they pay for it — has changed and you need to adapt accordingly. To retain customers, and even gain new ones, make sure that your small business is providing valuable information during this time of uncertainty. Go back to the core of your business and ask yourself what kind of problems your customers are dealing with right now. Focus on how your products or service can make this period easier for your clients. And, of course, make it easier for them to pay for those services with online payment options. Your customers and your business are likely to face tough times. How you handle the current disruption can define whether you’re able to retain and grow your customer base.
The second round of PPP funding is just over a week old. Experts predict that funding will be exhausted in the next couple of days. Approximately 3 million small businesses around the U.S. have received PPP loans. As the dust settles on a bit of a gold rush for lenders and perhaps some breathing room for small businesses, everyone’s attention is, or should be, turning to the forgiveness aspect of these loans. As we talk about that, just like during the PPP loan frenzy, the SBA does and will continue to offer “guidance” as to how things will work towards forgiving these loans.

Was Your PPP Loan Actually “Necessary”?

This article from Forbes delves into which businesses actually needed one of these loans. There have been accounts of fairly large, well-capitalized companies — even publicly traded companies — who have applied for and received a PPP loan. Perhaps the most public of these instances was ShakeShack. Who was one of the first, if not the first, to “give back” their PPP loan. But the Forbes article goes a bit deeper, and even brings up the possibility that Taking an Unnecessary PPP Loan May Result in Criminal Consequences. The author notes that “The PPP was intended to help enable small businesses and professionals to keep their employees on payroll, and to pay utilities, rent, interest, health insurance and pension contributions.” When a business applies for, receives, accepts, and then spends the funds from a PPP loan, the federal government has indicated that the business could be audited to determine necessity of the funding. Once a business is audited, Forbes notes that, “if the loan is found not to be “necessary,” criminal fines of up to $1,000,000 and imprisonment for up to thirty years can be imposed.”

Have You Laid Off Employees?

One of the main tenets of the PPP, also mentioned above, was “to keep employees on payroll”. However, many businesses had to make the decision to lay off employees either before the PPP was passed. Or before they could get a PPP loan. Due to the massive competition for the $350 billion in initial PPP funding. The intent of the PPP was that such businesses would rehire those employees and keep them on payroll. Satisfying the initial intent of the legislation. The latest guidance from the SBA gives the business some relief if employees decline an offer to return to work. According to this article from the Journal of Accountancy, the business “can exclude laid-off employees from loan forgiveness reduction calculations if the employees turn down a written offer to be rehired.” That’s a benefit for the business; however, there is also a consequence for the employee who has been laid off: “employees who reject offers of reemployment may find themselves ineligible to continue receiving unemployment benefits.” Such requirements are commonplace when any business or individual receives taxpayer funds in any form. Both the business and the individual must follow the rules laid out by the governing body. In this case, the SBA.

Receiving A PPP Loan Will Impact Your Business Taxes

In “normal” times, businesses take business tax deductions for payroll, rents, and other expenses according to IRS tax regulations. However, once a business takes and spends the funds from a PPP loan, the business will NOT get to take the same deductions for those costs that are covered by the loan. As this article from Barron’s puts it, very clearly, if participants in the program have loans forgiven they may not claim the usual business tax deductions for payroll, rents, and other expenses covered by the loan...prevents a double tax benefit” and is consistent with past guidance.

Free PPP Forgiveness Calculator and Guide

We’ve created a simple guide, based on the most up to date information from the SBA. You can download the guide and get the calculator in either Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets format. The SBA also updates their “Frequently Asked Questions” PDF here.
Regardless of the state of the economy, optimizing your small business cash flow is crucial. Learn how to improve your cash flow in the time of COVID-19, and beyond.  By FINSYNC  For any small business, effective cash flow management is key to longevity and profitability. Unlike profit, which paints a picture of the general health of a company, cash flow projections show how much cash a small business has available at any given point. Knowing this is important, regardless of the state of the economy. However, cash flow analysis is a crucial tool that can help your business weather the rough waters of an economic downturn.  In such times, you should not only be focused on monitoring your cash flow, but also optimizing it. Here are eight steps you can implement today to improve your cash flow in the times of COVID-19. 

Reduce Your Operational Expenses

In times when revenue may be decreasing, the first course of action is to reduce your expenses. This will, of course, look different for every small business. You could cancel equipment leases, adjust working hours for your employees based on current customer demand, or reduce orders with your suppliers. Other areas where you can reduce expenses include subscriptions, office supplies, and any independent contractors working on fixed retainers.

Negotiate with Suppliers

Now is also the time to take advantage of bulk prices and Covid-19 discounts. Ask your suppliers if they are running any promotions during the crisis. If not, take a look at bulk discounts. Not all small businesses can take advantage of these offers as they simply don’t need that many goods. However, you can still enjoy the discounted price by forming a buying cooperative with other small businesses that use the same suppliers. 

Reexamine Your Offerings

Take a close, critical look at the profit margins on your products or services. Ask yourself, what products bring in only mediocre profits? What doesn’t sell as well as it should? This way of thinking can be applied to both products and services.  Profit margins on services can be harder to calculate than profit margins on products. Take a look at the number of hours a project or service takes to complete and compare it to the billable amount. This will give you a good idea of how profitable any given service is. But what do you do with products that perform sub-par that you still have in stock? Consider putting them on sale. This will free up cash and improve your liquidity.

Offer Discounts to Clients

One way to boost your cash flow is to offer discounts to clients that pay before the due date. Yes, you may not be getting the full sum, but getting the cash earlier, especially if you operate on net 30 or net 60 payment terms, will improve your cash flow significantly. 

Use Credit Cards

There’s never been a better time to use credit cards to increase your cash flow or to pay bills that are due before a payment is scheduled to come in. Paying your bills with a credit card, including traditionally cash-only expenses like commercial rent, can buy you some time and free up your cash in the short term. To avoid unnecessary fees, make sure to take advantage of the grace period. 

Evaluate Your Prices

It may feel daunting to increase your prices in a time when people seem to be reducing their spending, and it goes without saying that you shouldn’t increase prices without reason. However, if you’re truly not charging enough for your products or services, your small business stands to lose a lot.

Apply for Funding

Business loans are another good way to improve your cash flow. Right now, there are two funding programs that are dedicated to helping small businesses get through the COVID-19 situation: the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). You can use these loans to pay expenses such as payroll, rent, operating expenses, etc. The PPP loan can also be 100% forgiven if you adhere to specific rules in the eight-week period following the date of receiving the loan. 

Conduct Frequent Cash Flow Analysis

To determine if any of your efforts are producing results, it’s important to analyze your cash flow frequently. A monthly cash flow forecast is adequate, but a bi-monthly or weekly forecast will help you account for rapid changes connected to the COVID-19 situation. For the forecast to be valuable, you need to base it on real numbers that accurately reflect your income, payroll, production, etc.  In addition to cash flow analysis, you can construct different cash flow scenarios to see how increases in your expenses or decreases in your income will affect your runway. In times of uncertainty, it can be difficult to know how your business will be affected. Our advice is to look at several worst-case scenarios and be prepared for them.  Cash flow forecasting is much easier with intuitive cash flow management software that can import information about your income and expenses automatically. These tools allow you to customize different “what-if” scenarios to help you visualize any big changes in your business. Try FINSYNC free for a week to see how the platform can help you get a better sense of your current financial situation.
FINSYNC is helping the businesses who received funding from SBA’s PPP loan by offering them a free forgiveness guide, forgiveness calculator, and access to a network of accounting professionals who are trained to help if one has questions or needs assistance.   For the banks and credit unions that made PPP loans, FINSYNC is providing a portal through which all of their business customers can upload forgiveness calculations and supporting documentation. Our goal is to help lenders process forgiveness applications efficiently, and offer automated uploading to SBA’s ETran when that becomes available.

Download the PPP Forgiveness Calculator here

The Payroll Protection Program (PPP) funded more than 1.6 million small businesses across the country earlier in April. The second round (PPP2) is (as of this writing) funding hundreds of thousands more small businesses with 2.5 months of payroll costs. The administrative hurdles to apply for a PPP loan were fairly low, although the competition to get a loan was very high. The first PPP money ran out in 14 days. Round 2 is expected to last hours instead of days. Perhaps there will be a 3rd round, but we don’t know that yet. In the meantime, approximately 3 million businesses will have what amounts to ‘free money’ to help them stay afloat and keep employees on the payroll. Then the fun of forgiveness tracking starts.

What Is Forgiveness Tracking?

When Congress created the CARES Act, the PPP provision stated that these loans could be 100% forgiven. The stipulations behind forgiveness are mostly clear. Up to 100% of the principal amount of the loan may be forgiven if:
  • You use the proceeds on qualified expenses. Such as maintaining support for at least the number of jobs you had when applying, and funds were used for:
    • Payroll costs (excluding 1099 contractors)
    • Group health insurance benefits, paid sick leave, medical and insurance premiums
    • Mortgage or rent payments
    • Utilities
    • Interest on any other debt obligations that were incurred before the loan period
  • At least 75% of the amount used must be for payroll to qualify for maximum forgiveness, the remainder may be used for other qualifying expenses.
  • To qualify for forgiveness, expenditures for both payroll and other expenses must occur within 8 weeks of receiving the loan (aka, the funding date)
Those are the requirements. The “tracking” portion of the equation about tracking, documenting, and proving to your lender and the SBA that you did indeed use the money for these purposes.

How Is PPP Spending Verified?

The PPP loans require payments to begin 6 months after the funding date. In order not to have to make any payments, the borrower must submit documentation to their bank. The bank must then certify that they have reviewed the documentation, and then submit the documents and their certification to the SBA. The problem is, there’s no standard for documentation, nor the collection and submission of that documentation. That’s why we put our heads down and built a calculator for any business to track their PPP expenditures and why we’ll soon be launching our PPP Forgiveness Tracking App, so businesses can submit and banks can easily accept, track, certify, and submit forgiveness documentation to the SBA. The FINSYNC PPP Forgiveness Calculator includes:
  • A complete guide to forgiveness requirements
  • Thorough instructions on using the calculator
  • A straightforward worksheet to help you calculate your forgiveness amount
  • An example of a completed forgiveness calculation 

Get the free PPP Forgiveness Calculator here

Take these five proactive steps today to create a more robust financial future for your small business in light of COVID-19.  By FINSYNC  In these turbulent times, you still have the power to shield your business from financial turmoil. From the way you sell products to securing funding, here are five steps you can take today to protect your small business. 

Evaluate Your Financial Situation and Loan Options

The first step is to organize your finances to get a better understanding of your costs, expected cash flow, and options when it comes to securing additional financing. Create a cash flow projection and test different scenarios. How long will you be able to pay essential bills given a reduction in or absence of sales? Depending on what your cash flow projections show, you may want to increase liquidity in your business through either credit cards or a business loan. For many small businesses, payroll represents a large expense that can be very difficult to cut.  On the one hand, if customers are not coming through the doors (physical or virtual), keeping employees on the payroll may seem like an unnecessary expense. On the other hand, employees are often the backbone of your business. So you’ll want to approach the termination of contracts with consideration.  The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) offers one option to ease the expense of payroll without having to let any employees go. The SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll. And the money is used for fixed expenses. Such as payroll, rent, mortgage interest, and utilities. 

Rethink Your Business Offerings

Now is the time to get creative about ways you can offer your products and services to customers. Discounts, product bundles, and gift certificates are all obvious choices, but there are ways to go beyond that. Any service-based small business will benefit from coming up with a couple of online event ideas. For example, if you run an agency that offers consulting services, you can offer the same services in virtual form. Or, if you run a hair salon, you can offer online consultation and customized color kits for delivery.  The main question to ask here is, how can you adjust your products or services in a way that can help customers during shelter-at-home restrictions? It may also be a good idea to partner up with other local small businesses in industries that are complementary to yours. Giving customers the ability to buy goods and services from both businesses in a single transaction can provide much-needed convenience. It’s also a great way to round out your offerings. For example, if you’re a graphic designer, find a marketer or a digital marketing specialist to work with and offer packages that companies can purchase. Or, if you’re a small accounting firm, perhaps you can team up with a lawyer to provide better guidance to people in these challenging times.

Make It Easy for Customers to Buy From You

Even if you had to close your physical doors to customers. It doesn’t mean you need to close down your operations completely. There are numerous ways you can keep your business running without physical interactions with customers. You can, for example, extend the home delivery of your products, or offer curbside pickup. If you can’t afford to hire delivery personnel, explore different delivery apps. If your products aren’t physical, increase your virtual offerings.  Making payments easier for your customers can go a long way as well. Switch to paperless payments as much as possible and allow customers to pay you online via credit card or ACH. To avoid contamination risk on your end, you can use FINSYNC Lockbox to handle check payments, which will be remotely deposited into your account for you.

Utilize Your Network

Your customers are not the only group that’s affected by changes in your business. It’s a great time to reach out to your entire network. Get in touch with all of your key business relationships — suppliers, partners, consultants, etc. — and ask how they’re doing. Open up a conversation where all of you can work together to find ways to make it through the current situation, and beyond.  Perhaps you have experience in areas like how to work remotely or deal with a disaster that you can share with others, and vice versa. Sharing your knowledge will earn you some goodwill as well. 

Increase the Liquidity In Your Business

In light of the COVID-19 situation, the U.S. government passed the CARES Act, which offers small business relief. You can apply for either an SBA Disaster Loan or a Paycheck Protection Program loan, which can be partially or fully forgiven. You can apply for both of these SBA Disaster Loans online. Additionally, you can turn to private sector programs. For example, Facebook dedicated $100 million in grants to small businesses. Other fintech companies that specialize in small business loans are also expanding their offerings. In order to help small businesses get through this challenging time.  You can also renegotiate the terms of your current debts. Because many banks and financial institutions are now offering better terms for new loans, some existing loans are eligible for better terms as well. Finally, as you await your small business PPP funding or Disaster Loan assistance, you can increase the liquidity of your business by tapping credit you already have. FINSYNC makes it simple to use your credit card to make payments for traditionally cash-only expenses, including everything from rent to vendor payments. Taking these five proactive steps now will not only help you weather the current disruption, but prepare for a full recovery when this storm passes.
Learn how electronic payments can streamline your business operations and free you from having to manually deposit checks.  By FINSYNC Shelter-at-home orders and lockdowns have forced many small businesses to close their doors and start working remotely. If you’re among them, you’ve probably had to get creative to find ways to keep your business up and running during these tumultuous times. If you’ve been worried about how you’re going to get paid now that your clients are confined to their houses, now could be the time to embrace electronic payments. This is especially true if your small business still deals with paper check payments. Let’s look at how going digital can help your small business simplify payment processing.

Credit Card Payments Provide Convenience

It’s safe to say that people are likely to use more credit and debit cards than cash and checks for the foreseeable future. As a small business, it’s vital to accommodate this new purchasing behavior if you want to maintain a healthy revenue stream.  An intuitive payment platform can make it easy to adapt to these changes and allow your customers to pay you from the comfort of their homes. FINSYNC makes it simple for you to accept credit and debit cards, even if you don’t have an existing merchant account set up. Approval is typically the same day, so you can be up and running in no time. Better yet, you can easily use credit cards to pay for traditonally cash-only expenses with only an email address, which can give you more control over your cash flow in uncertain times.  Accepting credit cards doesn’t involve any additional work on your end. You simply send an invoice through FINSYNC, and the client gets access to the secure payment portal, where they can choose their desired payment method. For you, processing credit cards will look no different than ACH processing. If you have clients that insist on paying by check, there’s a solution for them as well. You can continue to accept checks, but enjoy the benefits of electronic payments with a lockbox. 

Get Paper Checks Deposited Automatically with a Lockbox 

A lockbox is a bridge between traditional and digital businesses. It allows your business to go paperless with payments, even when you’re working with a customer that pays by check. Using a lockbox is the easiest way to streamline payment processing without alienating clients who prefer to pay with a paper check.  Traditionally, lockboxes were only available through banks and offered to companies with a high volume of checks. This meant that small businesses were often unable to enjoy the benefits of a lockbox. However, with FINSYNC you can have a lockbox regardless of the size of your business. FINSYNC Lockbox acts as an inbox for your checks. As a bonus, your paper bills can also be sent and processed in the same way. If you have a vendor that absolutely insists on receiving a paper check, you simply need to collect their remittance address. FINSYNC will draft the money from your account, and send a FINSYNC check to your vendor. Together, both of these features can make remote work easier and more efficient.       

Benefits of Lockbox for Small Businesses

One of the main benefits of a lockbox is, of course, mobility. You can get paid no matter where you are. With FINSYNC Lockbox, all checks are deposited automatically and payments are matched to the corresponding invoices in your accounting system. In other words, your accounts receivable is completely automated. If a check cannot be matched to an open invoice, it will still be deposited in your bank account, but you will be notified immediately to take the right course of action.  FINSYNC Lockbox makes managing accounts payable easier as well. All bills are scanned and uploaded to the platform. Then it’s up to you to approve and pay the bills. Together, these features streamline your payment processing and result in money and time savings. 

How to Enable Lockbox in FINSYNC

You can set up FINSYNC Lockbox for your small business in a few easy steps. Start by logging into your FINSYNC account. Go to the “Income” tab and choose “Settings.” Working Remotely? Maintain Business Continuity with Electronic Payments 2 Under “Settings” you will see the option to enable Lockbox. Once you tick “Yes,” you will see your Lockbox address below that. Working Remotely? Maintain Business Continuity with Electronic Payments 3 You can now start using this address and providing it to clients. The address will automatically be included on every invoice you send out. Working Remotely? Maintain Business Continuity with Electronic Payments 4The same goes for the payment portal if your clients choose to use it. Working Remotely? Maintain Business Continuity with Electronic Payments 5

Take Advantage of Electronic Payments in the Time of Coronavirus

Electronic payments have multiple advantages. First, you can easily accept credit and debit card payments from your clients. Not only does this help encourage social distancing, it also makes it easier for you to work from home and get paid in a timely manner.  Secondly, with FINSYNC Lockbox, your small business can accept checks and still get all the benefits of electronic payments. With a dedicated lockbox, you don’t have to leave the office to deposit checks, or spend time reconciling the invoices afterward. Start a free 7-day FINSYNC trial to see how electronic payments can benefit your small business.
The first round of PPP loan funding was used up in 14 days. Now, Congress is set to pass a second round of PPP funding. We’ll refer to as “PPP2”. There are a few changes to the rules surrounding PPP2, and we explain those below. However, we’ve been busy enhancing our PPP loan application, and have made partnerships that will help you and your small business get the PPP funding you need to stay afloat through this pandemic.

The $60B Community Bank Carve Out

PPP2 contains a provision that sets aside $60 billion for loans only from lenders with less than $10 billion in assets, meaning small community banks. Now those lenders will not be blocked out by the huge banks getting there first and taking the max loan amount for their much larger clients.

Small Businesses: Apply for PPP2 at FINSYNC.com. We’ll Find You a Lender

We’ve built a complete PPP application — complete with tools for calculating your average monthly payroll costs and loan forgiveness tracking. We’re sharing our application with any and all community banks and credit unions for free. If your institution is in our network of lenders, we will connect your application directly to them. If not, we will connect you with a lender who can service your loan.  The FINSYNC PPP application will provide your business with everything required for PPP compliance up to and including a tool for loan forgiveness tracking. Many small businesses applied for PPP loans and either didn’t get approved or didn’t hear anything at all back from their bank. Our online application is now connected to SBA’s ETran system, so banks and credit unions that partner with FINSYNC know within a few seconds whether your application was accepted and approved.

Apply Now

Lenders: Use the FINSYNC Online Application to Speed Up Your Process

Many lenders processed all their PPP applications manually. That’s ok, but it’s slower than a computer can process information. PPP2, just like PPP, is “first come first served”, so speed matters.  Any lender can get our online application up and running for their business customers in just a few minutes. Eliminating manual processing, and submitting the application into the SBA ETran system. The result is faster funding for small businesses.

Lenders Get Started

Changes from PPP to PPP2

The first round of PPP had its issues, so Congress has made some changes to PPP2.
  • Businesses can apply to more than one lender.
  • Businesses are not required to have an account and/or a loan with the bank with which they apply.
  • Self-employed and Independent Contractors can apply as soon as funding opens. As opposed to a week after funding was available for PPP.
  • $60 billion is allotted to smaller financial institutions. Those with $10 billion or less in assets will get $30 billion and another $30 billion will go to banks with $10 billion to $50 billion in assets.
The original intent of the PPP program was to help small businesses, and the changes to PPP2 better align with that intention.

Businesses Apply for PPP2 here.

Lenders sign up to use the FINSYNC Online Application here.

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