AICPA Special News Update - Jan. 13, 2015 

Educating Small Businesses/Financial Statement Users about FRF for SMEs 
Published January 13, 2015

Educating Small Businesses/Financial Statement Users about FRF for SMEs
AICPA News Update
January 13, 2015 – Volume 22 No. 2
 
Special Report
Creating Opportunities for CPAs: Educating Small Businesses/Financial Statement Users about FRF for SMEs
 

Today’s small businesses rely on CPAs to use the most up-to-date accounting techniques and practices to provide a clear picture of a company’s performance. The AICPA’s Financial Reporting Framework for Small- and Medium-Sized Entities, released in 2013, often may be the best reporting option for owner-managed, privately held entities that do not need to use U.S. GAAP as the basis for their financial statements. Since the FRF for SMEs™ framework’s launch, the AICPA and many state CPA societies have been working to drive awareness in the marketplace with educational campaigns and informative resources.

Financial statement preparation for 2014 presents a ripe opportunity to explore the FRF for SMEs with clients and lenders, and the AICPA supports CPA firms’ efforts to educate them, as well as state banking associations. This special News Update summarizes some of the AICPA’s ongoing and successful educational efforts and describes the free resources available to CPAs and firms.

Building Awareness in the Marketplace
The FRF for SMEs has been gaining awareness among financial statement users and small businesses across the country. A March 2014 op-ed piece by the editor of the American Bankers Association’s ABA Banking Journal discussed the framework and encouraged banks to consider accepting financial statements based on it to stay competitive in the small business marketplace.

Ongoing AICPA educational campaigns have helped to maintain visibility among stakeholders. This past summer, the AICPA conducted a nationwide educational campaign targeted to bankers and other lenders, as well as small businesses. Nearly 40 million potential views were generated through media placements in a variety of online financial and mainstream publications. More than 60,000 clicks to the FRF for SMEs Toolkits resulted from that single campaign. These metrics are four times those achieved during the first round of advertising in fall 2013 and three times the industry average for clicks on web banner ads.

Updated Tools for CPAs to Use with Banks and Clients
CPA firms looking to position themselves as market leaders, showcase their expertise and develop FRF for SMEs service areas are conducting client and lender outreach using dozens of free informative tools and resources contained in the FRF for SMEs Toolkit for CPAs and Firms. A new case study demonstrates how CPA firms are discussing the new framework option with clients and working with management and financial statement users to provide a financial reporting solution that makes sense. Other resources help CPAs structure meetings with bankers.

The FRF for SMEs Toolkits—including separate versions for small, medium-sized and large firms—are available for CPAs, users of financial statements and small businesses.

Among the new and updated resources are:

Firm Tools—Client-Facing

 
(New) Customizable sample financial statement/comparison spreadsheet
(New) Co-brandable versions of the educational backgrounder and flyer
(New) Client interest survey
(Updated) Educational flyer
(Updated) Co-brandable PowerPoint presentation
 
Financial Statement User Tools
 
(New) Sample financial statement/comparison spreadsheet
 
(New) Article from the American Bankers Association Banking Journal
(New) Case study from the banker perspective
(New) Co-brandable versions of the educational backgrounder and flyer
(Updated) Educational flyer
(Updated) PowerPoint presentation
 
Internal/Staff-Facing Tools
 
(New) Case study from the CPA perspective
(New) Article from the American Bankers Association Banking Journal
(New) Tips for presenting the FRF for SMEs to financial statement users
(Updated) PowerPoint presentation
   
 

In addition to these tools, you can promote your firm’s expertise in the framework by using the FRF for SMEs™ firm logo in your firm’s advertising, brochures, stationery, business cards, signs, websites and other promotional materials. Download the logo and find logo usage guidelines.

Finally, framework-related networking groups, sponsored by the AICPA’s Private Companies Practice Section, hold regular conference calls to discuss lessons learned and share helpful tips. EmailPCPS@aicpa.org to join the FRF for SMEs networking groups, which are organized by firm size.

We encourage you to consider the opportunities of introducing the framework to clients and local bankers. Read the toolkit materials to learn how you can lead local outreach efforts and enhance your service offerings to small business clients.

Visit the FRF for SMEs website at aicpa.org/FRF-SMEs for more information.

 
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