Small Business Loans for Accounting Firms
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Accountants specialize in money management for clients, but they also need to handle their own firm’s finances. If expenses begin to exceed revenue, business loans for accountants could provide access to needed funds.
Like all entrepreneurs, owners of accounting firms should create budgets and make cash flow projections to determine what amount of capital is needed. The number of hours you must work and clients you should recruit would depend on how much income you need to cover your expenses.
Accounting firm expenses typically include rent, accounting software, liability insurance, marketing and advertising, various supplies, business entity documents and licenses, among other things. Even if you track and plan for your ongoing costs, there may be times when you fall short.
Tax season could be your busiest time of year as clients rush to prepare their taxes before the April deadline. You may bolster your staff and services during the early months, but business activity could drop off when spring ends.
If you find your firm in a cash crunch, we’ll help you understand how to get a loan for an accounting business to ensure your company continues to flourish.
Business loans for accountants
Accountants could apply for financing from traditional banks or alternative business lenders. Here are a few lenders that cater to accounting firms, offering loans of at least $5,000 or up to $5 million. These lenders also provide loans to cover daily working capital needs or larger purchases such as real estate.
Online business lender Fora Financial engages with accounting firms that need working capital. Accountants could use a working capital business loan from the company to purchase accounting software, implement a marketing plan, enroll in training courses, hire employees or expand office space. Loans are available for between $5,000 and $500,000 with repayment terms up to 15 months. Interest is expressed in the form of factor rates, which are decimal figures rather than percentages. Rates range from 1.10 to 1.40-plus on Fora Financial’s small business loan. You would multiply the factor rate by your loan amount to determine your total cost. For example, a $5,000 loan with a 1.10 factor rate would cost $5,500. It offers flexible payment schedules and early payoff discounts. Applicants need at least six months in business, $12,000 in monthly gross sales and no open bankruptcies. The company advertises approval in 24 hours and could deposit funds in your business bank account in as few as 72 hours.
Ameris Bank has locations in Tennessee, Alabama and in states throughout the South Atlantic. Ameris issues loans backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Ameris offers SBA loans for accounting firms to expand, remodel, acquire or open a practice. SBA 7(a) term loans and 504 term loans are available, which accountants could use for general business needs and real estate purchases, respectively. SBA 7(a) and 504 loan amounts go up to $5 million. Repayment terms could range from seven to 25 years, although the terms of the loan would be based on your historical cash flow, personal credit history and experience as a borrower. The SBA sets a base interest rate that’s dependent on the current prime rate. It also limits how much additional interest lenders can add to the base interest rate — an allowable spread. Ameris may require at least 10% equity from borrowers.
Live Oak Bank
Live Oak Bank is another SBA lender serving accounting and tax firms. Loans from Live Oak Bank could be used to buy, build or grow an accounting business. Live Oak Bank is based in Wilmington, N.C., but it lends to businesses across the country. SBA loan amounts range from $500 to $5 million and could be used to fund working capital needs or to finance fixed assets such as real estate or machinery. As previously mentioned, SBA terms go up to 25 years and interest rates follow a base rate and allowable spread. The SBA limits how much additional interest lenders like Live Oak could add to the base rate.
Credibly, an online business lender, provides loans to accountants who may have trouble qualifying for traditional bank financing. Accountants could use working capital loans to pay for immediate or ongoing business costs. Its working capital loan are available between $5,000 and $400,000. Repayment terms range from six to 18 months and payments can be made daily or weekly. Credibly uses factor rates to demonstrate interest. Its factor rates start at 1.15 for borrowers with strong credit. To qualify for a loan, it requires six months in business, a minimum credit score of 500 and $15,000 in average monthly bank deposits for the past three months. You could be approved in as few as 24 hours and receive funds the same day.
Camino Financial, another online business lender, offers small business loans to accounting firms. Accountants could rely on a loan to hire employees, purchase technology, boost marketing efforts, optimize the business website or renovate the office space. Loan amounts range between $5,000 and $400,000. Camino Financial advertises monthly interest rates of 1% to 2.5% and repayment terms from 24 to 60 months. To be eligible, Camino Financial requires nine months in business, a minimum credit score of 550 and at least $30,000 in annual sales or $2,500 in monthly sales. If approved, you could receive funds in as few as two days.
How to get a loan for an accounting business
As you can see, the requirements for business loans for accountants vary by lender. Some lenders could prioritize time in business and revenue, while others may be more concerned with your credit profile.
When applying for a small business loan, either from a bank or online lender, you could expect to submit the following information for review.
- Credit history: Your personal credit file could carry more weight in the decision process if you don’t have much business history. Be sure to check your credit score before applying to see if you need to address any issues.
- Business plan: A lender would want to see a detailed strategy of how you expect to turn a profit. Your business plan should include a marketing plan, competitive analysis and data on costs and price points.
- Balance sheet: Your balance sheet would give a lender a look at your company’s assets and liabilities, which would show if the business is financially overextended.
- Cash flow history and projections: Like your balance sheet, your cash flow statement would illustrate whether the company is growing or lagging behind. If your business has not yet built up cash flow history, you may need to submit future projections instead.
- Resources: A lender would want to see how well your business processes payments and manages accounts payable. This would show the lender whether you effectively use your resources.
- Collateral: A lender may request assets to secure a loan, which means they could claim those assets if you fail to repay your debt. Personal or business assets could be required as collateral.
- Equity: Your personal investment in the business could encourage a lender to similarly risk its money on your company.
The required information would depend on the type of loan you’re seeking. SBA loan applications, for example, often involve more detailed documentation.
The bottom line
Accountants manage and scrutinize financial information for clients on a daily basis and must do the same for their own firms. But financial expertise doesn’t prevent things from going awry.
Changes in the economy or losing a client or vital employee could alter the financial standing of your firm. If your cash flow can no longer cover all of your costs, you may want to consider a business loan for accountants.
You could apply for a loan from a traditional bank or an online lender, depending on how much funding you need and the lender’s eligibility requirements. Consider shopping around to find the right loan for your accounting firm — one that has repayment terms and interest rates that fit with your budget and provides the funding you need to fill the financial gaps in your business.
Rates are accurate as of the date of publishing.