The American Institute of CPAs and the Small Business Administration have signed an agreement that will give CPAs more access to the SBA's programs and network of small businesses.

The agreement will train owners of small accounting firms on SBA products and services, which the AICPA's network of 44,000 accounting firms will be able to market.

"We have an opportunity to make CPAs more aware of the resources of the SBA and serve as a conduit for clients to those resources,'' said Barry Melancon, president and CEO of the AICPA, in a statement.

The SBA and AICPA hope the partnership will help accelerate the startup of small accounting firms and small business clients. CPAs will be able to draw on SBA resources to help their clients more easily finance expansions and early-stage funding, as well as recover from natural disasters like the recent wildfires in Southern California. Firms will be able to work more closely with SBA resource centers and offices in their local areas to benefit their small business clients.

"America's accountants are an important part of the small business community, so it is important to integrate SBA's resources with AICPA's," said SBA administrator Steve Preston, in a statement.

Under the agreement, the SBA and the AICPA will provide each other with timely information on their programs, services and partners. They will also link to each other's Web sites, assign liaisons to one another, and provide speakers and invitations for events.

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