From left, Lindsey Ferguson, AICPA project manager; Joshua Dubrow, Small Business Outreach Committee chair; Adam Baruch; Elizabeth L. Wall and Mark L. Rachleff.
U.S. Army Capt. Trent Love (r) and fellow veterans.
Small Business Outreach offers
aid to veterans
By ANNA RAKOVSKY
Trusted Professional Correspondent
Veterans looking to start their own companies got a hand from the NYSSCPA Small Business Outreach Committee, which offered a crash course in business ownership and S Corporation issues to more than 20 former members of the armed services.
The three-hour session, held in June at the Foundation for Accounting Education Learning Center in New York City, was organized in conjunction with the Veteran Fast Launch program. Fast Launch is an initiative of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), SCORE, a foundation that recruits volunteers to mentor and train entrepreneurs, and the organizations’ technology and corporate partners.
It was created last April in response to “Joining Forces,” a White House campaign to provide resources and tools to help military families become successful business owners and entrepreneurs. As such, Fast Launch provides a mix of scholarships, free software, and training to veterans. Moreover, the AICPA connects veterans with CPAs across the country for up to five hours of free financial advice on starting a business, according to the AICPA website.
“We have 355 CPAs, representing 35 states, who signed up to volunteer their time,” said Lindsey Ferguson, a project manager for the AICPA who attended the event. “And veterans are able to pick a CPA from anywhere; they are not limited to their state.”
Panelists Adam Baruch, Daniel J. Griesmeyer, Elizabeth L. Wall, who is the Small Business Outreach Committee’s immediate past chair, and Mark L. Rachleff, an NYSSCPA peer review technical manager, covered the basics of small business, including the need for sound record keeping, the limitations of tax deductions, and the importance of starting and maintaining a 401(k) plan. Panelists also advised veterans on choosing the right CPA to fit their specific needs. At the end of the event, SCORE counselor Marvin J. Sandberg led a question-and-answer session.
“We’re excited to volunteer our time, and what some would call ‘expertise,’ to give back to you, our veterans, who have risked your lives to preserve our freedom and protect our country,” said committee chair Joshua Dubrow.
Among the veterans who received help during the session was Thadeus A. Thomas, a U.S. Marines sergeant, who described the program as a great resource. “There’s so much professionalism here and so many people interested in your overall success,” he said.
Another aspiring business owner in the audience, retired U.S. Army Captain Trent Love, agreed.
“[The CPAs’] wealth of knowledge is unparalleled,” he said, adding that he planned to put the business cards he received at the event to good use. “I hope to stay in touch with everyone I met today.”