The American Institute of CPAs has joined up with the White House on a new initiative aimed at helping veterans and their families who want to start or grow a small business.

The AICPA has teamed up on the Joining Forces Initiative with accounting software developer Intacct; the WalMart Foundation; SCORE, a source of free confidential advice for entrepreneurs; and other technology companies, including Cisco, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft and Salesforce.com.

The initiative was launched on Tuesday by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden.

Joining Forces is a national initiative to mobilize all sectors of society to provide opportunities and support to service members and their families. In this ongoing effort, the First Lady and Dr. Biden will highlight issues that are of special importance to the military families they have met with across the country.

The AICPA, SCORE, Intacct and the other members of the initiative will provide mentoring, support, tools and training to military and their families through a new Veterans Fast Launch program. The program will include a package of services, scholarships and free software combined with SCORE’s mentoring program. The aim is to help veterans, their spouses and families succeed as small business owners.

As part of the Fast Launch program, the AICPA will connect veterans with CPAs across the country for up to five hours of free financial advice on starting a business. Veterans can visit www.aicpa.org/veterans to learn more about the comprehensive tax and financial planning services that CPAs can provide to entrepreneurs, to connect with a CPA, or to find additional free resources designed to help veterans manage their finances.

“We are honored to join with the First Lady, Dr. Biden and other partners on this initiative, which stands to create powerful opportunities for our veterans and the local communities their businesses serve,” said AICPA president and CEO Barry Melancon in a statement. “Our involvement underscores the CPA profession’s longstanding commitment to entrepreneurs and to members of our armed forces. We look forward to helping make the Fast Launch initiative and the veterans who participate successful.”

In addition to education and training, CPAs have other resources to assist veterans. They include materials available through an AICPA partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration and financial education information tailored to the needs of veterans at www.360financialliteracy.org.

Intacct also plans to remain involved in the initiative. "We at Intacct are honored to have been selected to be part of an elite group of firms that will help veterans and their families make the transition to become successful entrepreneurs,” said Intactt president and CEO Robert Reid. “We can’t think of a better way to show our gratitude to the United States military—that group of Americans who make such tremendous contributions and sacrifices for our country.”

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