AICPA recommends federal loans backed by accounts receivable

By Jeff Drew

The AICPA, citing a continuing need for short-term liquidity in the marketplace, recommended Tuesday the creation of a federally backed lending facility that would provide loans to small businesses that pledge their future receivables.

In a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon, CPA, CGMA, advocates for an idea designed to create immediate cash flow for businesses through 90- to 180-day lending arrangements with the federal government.

“In such an unexpected downturn, businesses have had to deal with the challenge of harnessing enough cash while still maintaining other types of short-term assets, such as inventory, in order to continue their business operations,” the letter says. “Because of these extraordinary current economic conditions, businesses that normally receive payment for goods or services within 30 days are now experiencing significant slowdowns in payments (90 days or more). These delays have caused businesses to hesitate to even take on normal risk.”

The AICPA’s recommendation proposes a stop-gap solution to what the Institute believes is a temporary phenomenon of shortfalls in accounts receivable. In the AICPA’s vision, the Federal Reserve, with approval from Treasury, would create a federally backed short-term accounts receivable lending facility similar to other lending facilities the Fed has unveiled in recent weeks.

In entering lending arrangements with the new facility, businesses would pledge their receivables to secure short-term funding from the Fed, which would provide “a reasonable discount rate of the receivable/invoiced amount.” Loan applicants would provide relevant contracts, purchase orders, and confirmations from customers of the applicable receivables.

The loans would not require payments for six months, with repayments taking place during months 7–12. The lending facility would remain open one year, allowing for additional loans to individual businesses for future receivables.

“The AICPA further recommends for this facility to be available for renewal at the Federal Reserve’s discretion to allow for up to a 12- to 18-month application window,” the letter says.

The AICPA’s Paycheck Protection Program Resources page houses resources and tools produced by the AICPA to help address the economic impact of the coronavirus.

For more news and reporting on the coronavirus and how CPAs can handle challenges related to the pandemic, visit the JofA’s coronavirus resources page.

Jeff Drew (Jeff.Drew@aicpa-cima.com) is a JofA senior editor.

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