CPAs with small business clients or companies interested in exporting should advise them to contact the nearest Small Business Administration office. The 107 SBA field offices across the country provide counseling and financial assistance to meet the needs of small business owners entering export markets.
International trade specialists, who help guide the owners through the export process, point out various government programs that may assist the new exporter. The SBA can arrange free initial consultations on the legal aspects of exporting through the Federal Bar Association. To help small business owners decide which export markets to pursue, the SBA provides reports on the 25 largest importing markets for a specific product or service, along with the trends and foreign competition in that market. The reports are based on United Nations data and are available for 2,700 standard industrial trade classification product categories. In addition, the SBA's Small Business Answer Desk [(800) 827-5722] and the Department of Commerce's Trade Information Center [(800) 872-8723] will answer specific questions on exporting from small business owners.
The SBA also has improved its financial assistance program for small business exporters. The maximum maturity for its export revolving line of credit (ERLC) loan program had been set at 18 months, not enough time for many exporters to produce, distribute and receive payment for their goods. Now, however, the maximum maturity is 36 months, which should be sufficient for most export cycles.
In an ERLC, the SBA guarantees 85% of the loan up to a maximum of $750,000. Original maturities usually are for one year, with options to extend the loan to 36 months in increments of one year each. Only the SBA can vacate or invalidate the options. The loan proceeds can be used only to finance labor and materials needed for manufacturing, to purchase goods and services for export or to develop foreign markets. In addition to liquid assets, collateral for an ERLC includes accounts receivable, inventory, bank letters of credit and personal guarantees.
The SBA also is a joint sponsor of many promotional events where small business owners can meet potential overseas partners. The sidebar above is a list of events scheduled for the near future. Certified trade fairs carry a special endorsement of the Commerce Department, which works with organizers to enhance promotional efforts for U.S. exhibitors. TABULAR DATA OMITTED
Gene R. Barrett is a news editor of the Journal.
AN INDEX OF SMALL BUSINESS ARTICLES
Features and department articles from the Journal of Accountancy, August 1991 to July 1992
(The) ADA: How It Affects Businesses and Their Employees. John Lewison. May, p. 73.
Age-Based Pension Plans Approved, Delighting Small Business Owners. Bill Cavooris. January, p.99.
All in the Family. Nicholas J. Fiore. September, p. 14.
Assessing Environmental Risk. George R. Zuber and Charles G. Berry. March, p. 43.
Bankruptcy: When Is It Good News? Jerome Frett. November, p. 135.
Breaking Up Is Hard to Do. Nicholas J. Fiore. December, p. 18.
Compliance: No Exception for Government Contractors. Frank G. Peiffer. June, p. 94.
CPA Consulting Services: A New Standard. Monroe S. Kuttner. November, p. 38.